Designing a rock garden is at one and the same time easy and hard. The location is the easy part. It’s the part of your landscape that is on a slope or dry or both. It’s the part of your landscape that looks unshapely and lumpy. All you have to do is look at your yard and you will see where your rock garden should be. That is the easy part.
The hard part is finding the rocks that look like they naturally belong in the rock garden. The second hardest part is arranging the rocks so that they look like they might have emerged from nature that way.
Oh and while you are at it, make sure the rocks you gather are big because two-thirds of the rock will be buried in the ground. If you have a choice, choose softer rocks. While this might sound like a contradiction in terms, some rocks really are harder than others. For a ‘garden of rock’ you want rocks that have a weathered look and hard ones do not ever look weathered.
Now you are ready to begin. You know where the rocken garden will be and you have the rocks gathered up. The rocks are all more or less of the same type. The size may vary greatly but there is a similarity among them.
Start laying out the rocks. Take the biggest one and give it a central spot. Then chose three or four of the largest stones and place them in the garden. Don’t lay them out nice and symmetrical. You are trying to create a sense of contained wildness not a nice coffee table type of arrangement. There is one small thing you need to do and that is to have the rocks all pointing in the same direction.
Continue laying out the rocks, according to size going from the largest to the smallest until you have them arranged in a way that looks pleasing to you.
As you are setting out the rocks, you should be thinking about the kinds of perennial ground cover that would grow well with the rocks. Again, your goal is a natural look. In nature you are more apt to find low-growing plants spread out over a wide area. Aim for the same look in your rock garden.
A little preplanning will allow you to design a rock garden that fits into your home’s habitat, that will look like it has been there for years, and that adds beauty and elegance. The best part is that your rock garden is relatively low maintenance. The rocks and ground cover hug the ground and create a good solid and very attractive protection for whatever portion of your yard had been turned into a rock garden.