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Rockin' Out: Building a Rock Garden

Gaillardia BurgundyDo you have a sloped or awkward piece of land that you are having trouble planting? Rock Gardens not only provide a low-maintenance, long-lasting solution to those hard-to-plant places, but are aesthetically pleasing by contrasting rough, jagged rocks with delicate, gorgeous blooms. They are actually quite simple to create – All you need is time, rocks (which can often be found on your property) and a few durable, low-maintenance plants. Once complete, the rewards of the Rock Garden will pay for the effort ten times over.

Building the Base

Geranium Double JewelA natural slope is the best place for a rock garden, but if you do not have this naturally on your property you can build your rock garden on a raised bed. Your rock garden will need good drainage which is why you will want to choose one of these two options. You will want to remove all existing growth from the area and dig up the land using a shovel or rake. If possible, try to dig your garden up at least 6”. If you do not have the ability to do this, don’t worry!

Adding your Layers

The first layer of your rock garden should be comprised of small rocks or pebbles. These can
either Dianthus Indian Carpet Mixbe collected on your property or found and your local garden center. Next, you will want to spread a layer of sand over these rocks. The sand layer helps to keep everything in place. The last step is to spread a layer of good, nutrient-rich soil. You can use the soil you have left over from digging, but will want to amend it with some good organic plant fertilizer. This will give your new plants the best chance to grow.

Rockin’ Out

This is the fun part – Either use rocks found on your property or go to your local hardware store for big, landscaping rocks. This is where you can
really play around and get creative Phlox White Delightwith your garden. Try arranging the rocks in several different ways and remember – there is no right or wrong! Remember to nestle them into the soil, instead of just placing them on top, to give your rock garden a more natural look.


You may want to wait a week or so before planting your flowers, to let your garden settle. There are quite a few low-maintenance perennial plants and wildflowers that will thrive, multiply, and provide long-lasting color in your rock garden. Wildflowers that will thrive in your
rock garden and can be sprinkled on Sedum Xenoxbare soil are Eastern Red Columbine, Sweet Alyssum, Siberian Wallflower, and Baby Blue Eyes. Perennial Plants that will thrive amongst your rocks are Creeping Phlox, Dianthus, Geranium, Sedum, Daylilies, and Gaillardia. These perennials will not only provide a rainbow of gorgeous color to contrast with your rocks, but are low-maintenance and will multiply throughout the years.

Once your new rock garden is planted, sit back and be proud of the wonderful landscape you created with your own two hands! One of the greatest rewards of building a rock garden is the
low-maintenance required after the initial planting
and the stunning statement that it provides in your
outdoor space for years.

Happy Gardening!

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