A rock garden consists of a mixture of rocks and select plants, usually small colourful flowers. Rock gardens have been around for centuries, and were especially popular with the Japanese because of their calming effect. The hard ruggedness of the rocks is seen as balancing the delicacy and soft beauty of the flowers. If you want your own rock garden in the backyard, here are a few easy tips to follow.
1. Prepare the site
Do not just dump rocks on the ground and plant your flowers between them. You need to have a proper site ready. The first step is to clear out the site of any existing vegetation and fallen leaves. Use a hoe to dig out any deep-rooted plants or tree stumps that need grinding.
Once cleared, prepare a raised bed, which will clearly separate your rock garden from the rest of the yard. Once common advice when preparing the bed is to slightly slope it or build the bed on an actual gentle slope. This provides good drainage, ensuring your rock garden will never be clogged with water, which could damage the flowers.
2. Layering your bed
Experts recommend that your layer your rock garden in a specific way for the best results. Start with a drainage layer at the bottom consisting of small rocks, bits of brick or broken pieces of a clay pot. This layer allows excess water to drain through. Next, pour a layer of sand on the bottom layer. This layer should be around 7 centimetres in thickness. The purpose of the sand layer is to hold up the top soil while also allowing excess water to pass through.
Finally, place the fertile top soil on top. Mix in soil from your garden with humus or compost to create a fertile layer of top soil. Or you could buy already prepared top soil from a local gardening store. Pour a thick layer of top soil on top, making sure it is thick enough to allow flowers to grow to their potential.
3. Selecting the rocks
Time to plant the rocks. Decide what kind of rocks you want on your garden. There are many varieties to choose from; flat stones like those used for footpaths, big boulders or coloured rock. If you do not have any rocks in your compound, check your local home or gardening store, they are likely to sell landscaping rocks.
For a more unique look, consider mixing in a variety of rocks. You can create a mini walkway using flat rocks, put in some colour with coloured rocks and create the wild look using boulders.
4. Plant your flowers
After placing the rocks, let the garden settle in for a week or two. When planting, experiment with various types of flowers to see those that do best in that environment.