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Do It Yourself Rock Garden

Rock Gardens can be scenic, versitile and fun to plan and create. Rock gardens can be created on a large or small scare, on flat or sloped land, and in any shape and design as needed to fit the space you have.

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© Bobbie Jean Peachey
Terms

A Rock Garden is a garden in which plants and rocks are harmoniously combined to achieve a certain ornamental effect or design. The garden is usually constructed according to a plan but may utilize existing settings. Rock gardens were first developed in England in the late 18th century in an effort to cultivate plants native to mountainous regions. Consequently, rock gardens are also sometimes referred to as alpine gardens. Experts Column.

Before You Plant Your Rocks

I always thought of a rock garden as a bunch of rocks scattered over a corner of the yard with a few larger rocks artistically placed in the area. But, when I decided to create a rock garden I found out that there is a lot more to a rock garden than I had figured.

Prepare the Ground

I also thought that rocks could grow just about anywhere, but evidently I was wrong. So the first thing you need to do is to prepare the ground. You can do this the hard way or the easy way. The hard way is to dig out about a foot of the soil, clean out all grass, grass roots and other unknown roots, then put the "clean" soil aside to use later as filler.

The easy way is to place layers of newspapers over the ground or the cut grass in the area you have mapped out for your rock garden. I've been told that the newspapers, weight of the rocks and dirt will eventually kill the grass.

Building the Bed

Again you can do this the hard way or the easy way. The hard way consists of buying bricks and placing them layer upon layer to create a a holding area for the soil you will put in it. You could also build a concrete ledge around your rock garden area before filling it with soil.

The easy way to start your rock garden is to use rocks from surrounding *desert areas, dry river beds, or existing rocks from your yard. Place fairly large rocks in a circle or a square about the area you have cleared or placed newspapers over. Use rocks that are more or less one foot tall and one foot in diameter. Wedge smaller rocks in any spaces to keep your soil (the next step) from spilling out.

*Note: Check with local authorities before filling your truck bed with desert or river rocks to ensure that it is legal to remove those lovely desert or river rocks.

Soil for the Rock Garden

Use one third garden soil, one third humus, and one third or more sand, mix together and put into your rock area. Pack it down good. Then use slightly smaller rocks and irregular sized rocks to create another circle, or square, within the circle you just built. Put more of the soil mix into this smaller circle or square and pack it down.

Choose Some Plants

Since I'm living in a hot desert area, I'm going to choose hardy desert type succulents. Choose your flowers or plants for the type of weather and location you live in. Place the flowers and plants artistically around your rock garden area. When you are satisfied with the design arrangement, then plant them.

Finish Your Rock Garden

Use some interesting taller rocks, odd shaped rocks, flat rocks or a garden ornament to fill in areas between the plants. Cover the top soil with smaller rocks, then sit back and enjoy your creative rock garden.



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