Rock Gardens

A woodland rock garden "ledge"hosts hens-and-chicks(Sempervivum) and low-growing bellflowers (Campanula).

Gardens that team plants with stones take extra thought -- and muscle -- to create. At their best, provide a nurturing microclimate for plants among artfully placed stones. They can be a beautiful solution to landscaping problems such as eroding slopes, areas that are difficult to mow, and awkward grade changes.

A rock garden should look like a slice of a natural, rocky landscape.

  • Alpine rock gardens resemble a windswept mountain peak complete with rugged, lichen-coated rocks and boulders, flowering alpine plants, and twisted evergreens stunted by harsh growing conditions.
  • Woodland rock gardens made of mossy rocks and boulders demand ground-hugging wildflowers such as trilliums, violets, and ferns.
  • Desert rock gardens feature cacti and other succulents as well as desert annuals such as California poppies.
Finding the Perfect Location and Materials In a style that imitates nature, rock garden plants spring upfrom crevices between stones.

An open, north- or east-facing slope is best for alpine plants; woodland and desert plants are less choosy. Or, you can create a mound or hill from a fast-draining soil mix. Flat ground can work, too, as long as the soil drains well, but it is less visually interesting, and the plants may be more difficult to see.

The most important visual element in a rock garden is the rocks. They should look natural. You can achieve a natural look by following two rules: Choose rocks all of the same type and position them so they look as if they were arranged by nature's hand, not yours. Use the largest rocks you or several people can handle for the most natural look. You might even wish to consider hiring a professional landscaper who can move boulders and large rocks with a small forklift or backhoe.

Porous rocks, such as limestone, sandstone, shale, and tufa, work best for alpine plants, because they absorb water, keeping the roots cool and moist. Choose nonporous rocks such as marble, basalt, and granite for desert rock gardens. Woodland rock gardens do well with either rock type, depending upon other growing conditions.

How to Position Rocks A tiny ornamental onion


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I recently installed a brand new garden along my front fence line and prior to installing and designing I googled garden design and found a woman who will design your yard and send you a list of all plants, etc. for $200 bucks. If you are going to spend that on books anyway, might be worth it. If you are interested in giving it a go yourself, try the better homes and garden website,, as they have an interactive garden program that lets you actually design your own yard. That is what I used and my results were amazing..I never in a million years thought I could create such a masterpiece

A 'Transformed' Madison Square Garden Not Necessarily An Improvement  — Forbes
Now, the Garden is two bowls of seating, like pretty much every other modern arena. All that was distinctive about MSG has been eviscerated, as has that sense of openness. ..

$20 Million Lawsuit Against Alexander Calder's Art Dealer Is Dismissed  — Huffington Post
The Berggruen Museum, housing the modern art collection of collector and dealer Heinz Berggruen, has been expanded with an extra building and a garden.

Emsco Group Emsco Group 2182 Sandstone Medium Sand Poly Architectural Rock
Lawn & Patio (Emsco Group)
  • Lawn and garden fake rock accent
  • Adds natural beauty to any yard or landscape design
  • Cover wells, pipes or sprinkler valves
  • Hide electrical or cable junction boxes
  • Enhance the natural look of your yard

A year of life-changing resolutions  — Toronto Star
Last year at this time I wrote a column titled, “Dear Garden: I will change.” It generated more comments and interest .. I found a small park, located under a hydro right-of-way with one large tree growing on the margin of the parking lot.

Garden Design (July/August 1992)
Book (Evergreen Publishing, L.P.)
Iron Orca Studios Making Rock - Volume One
DVD (Iron Orca Studios)
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