Creating a rock garden as part of landscaping design

Like homes, office buildings, artwork, automobiles, and consumer electronic devices, rock gardens come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and styles. Depending on how they’ve been integrated into an overall landscape design, they can serve multiple purposes – such as being truly functional or purely for decorative effect.

In our experience, many home and business owners have opted for rock gardens to cover-up a defect with an existing outdoor area, like an area not suited for flowers or a patio, for instance. In reality, that’s selling a rock garden short by dismissing its overall appeal. When integrated into the landscape design process, a rock garden may include water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes and, of course, rocks – all lending themselves to an area that exudes relaxation and enjoying the essence of nature itself.

If you’re interested in building a rock garden on your own, or will contract with a professional to do the job for you, there are a number of steps to follow for a successful project:

  • Start with a clean slate, which means thoroughly cleaning the area where the rock garden will reside. Remove any bushes, shrubs, weeds or other light vegetation, making sure to use a hoe to till the ground and remove live or dead roots. At this point, it’s a good idea to clean an area in the actual shape of the rock garden.
  • The most important step that customers take for granted is choosing a landscape design that doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the area, and doesn’t take away attention from other outdoor features like a deck, patio, or flower bed. To better visualize the rock garden, spray the ground with inverted paint to clearly mark its shape, boundaries, and size. Next, step back and take a good, long look at what you’re proposing. If necessary, lay down another layer of spray paint in a different shape.
  • Choose a variety of stone to work with. In most cases, armor stone is probably too large, though it can be cut to size, but we recommend a combination of small and large boulders, colourful and multi-shaped River Rock, Flagstones, and other rocks that strike a chord with your own sense of style.
  • Installing the boulders and other stone is the next logical step. To do this, you’ll probably need a few more sets of strong arms and hands, not to mention crow bars and sturdy shovels. Keep in mind that to look truly natural, a rock garden should be uneven, with rocks of varying size and shape bumping up against one another or even arranged in different levels. Also flandscape fabric should be put under the boulders and stone to limit weed growth.
  • Choose the plants and create the “river bed.” Embrace a wide range of styles by integrating sturdy juniper plants and other small shrubs with flowering chrysanthemums and other colourful flowers.
  • Create a walkway to and from the rock garden, perhaps using Flagstone or River Rock for a gentle, meandering pathway.

A rock garden can be a beautiful addition to any backyard and green space, so call the landscaping design experts at Pyramid Contracting for more information and receive a free in-home consultation to discuss your landscaping project.