Sculpt a Rock Garden

Suzanne Oliver
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Image: brewbooks/Flickr

Image: brewbooks/Flickr

 

A simple mix of rocks and plants can turn an eyesore into a place of zen. Maybe you have a patch of lawn on a difficult-to-mow slope. Or maybe there’s a spot where the grass just won’t grow. Turn that blemish into a focal point. Why not celebrate a rugged, natural resource with a low-maintenance rock garden? The occasional light watering and a little weeding is all the work involved. And when a drought rolls in, it’s xeriscaping at its best. It’s relatively easy to mix those rocks and greenery into one. Here’s how to build your very own rock garden:

MATERIALS

Rocks of varying sizes starting with boulders

Mountain-growing plants

TOOLS

Shovel

Hoe

Edger

Wheelbarrow

Crowbar

SKILL LEVEL

Intermediate

TIPS

  • Working off a natural grouping of rocks is the best starting point.
  • Any stone from Rocky Mountain slate to Florida limestone can be used.

DIRECTIONS

1. Excavate. Choose a gentle slope in your yard, one that gets plenty of sun and good drainage. The soil should be dry, loose and gritty. Clear the site of any brush down to the weeds and roots with a shovel and a hoe. Use an edger to separate the lawn from the bed space. This will keep the mulch in place.

2. Line the bottom with a couple large boulders. Use a wheelbarrow or truck to transport the heavy rocks and a crowbar to shimmy them into place. Make sure the boulders are securely imbedded in the dirt. Use a bevy of smaller stones to round out the bed. Using the same type of stone makes it look like a real landscape sculpted by Mother Nature.

3. Fill in the spaces with a mixture of sand and soil to promote drainage. Make sure that the water can easily run off.

4. Plant mountain-growing plants ideal for your climate, such as geraniums, verbenas and junipers. Dig holes that are twice as wide as the roots.

5. Mulch and weed as needed.

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