Step by step guide to building a rock garden

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Au dehors Studio. Architettura del Paesaggio Mediterranean style garden
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A natural looking rock garden is a superb way to spotlight flowers, plants, and keep your outdoor space looking fabulous. But how exactly does one go about creating such a garden? Today on homify we are going to take a look at the Zen-like magnetism of rock gardens. From large gravel spaces, to smaller meditative spaces, each garden has its benefits and life-enhancing elements. As far back as the medieval era in Japanese culture the calming and reflective use of rocks within one's outdoor area was employed to create a space of tranquillity and peacefulness. The serene earthiness of rocks paired with plants allowed individuals a sense of connection with the land, and provided a meditative arena. 

As well as looking truly beautiful, rock gardens also have more practical advantages. Ideal for areas that are difficult to mow or look after, a rock garden can greatly increase the value of your property, while making life a little easier. So if you are keen on building one of these structures in your garden, we have the step by step solution for you! Luckily, building a rock garden is rather easy, and can be undertaken as a fun and educational DIY project. Read on if you would like to learn more!

Selecting the right spot

The first step is to select an appropriate space for your rock garden. If you are undertaking the construction of your garden yourself, it is probably a good idea to choose a subtle sloped space, and one that is easy to deal with. 

Pick a place that isn't too steep, and has enough room to comfortably move and shift soil. Additionally, you should look at the amount of natural sunlight the space receives. If you are looking to grown flowers, you will want something with good illumination in the day. 

Building a good foundation

The foundation is the key to a good rock garden, so this step must be attended to with the utmost concern and concentration! The base upon which your rocks will sit needs to be solid, sturdy and well prepared. Consider digging up the area to put in a proper foundation and excavating the soil when it is dry.

Apply weed killer to all the remaining root systems that live in the soil, and you should attempt to dig down into the ground approximately 40 centimetres. Once you have sectioned off the area with posts and safety tape, it is time to remove and add any necessary soil. 

The drainage

The next step is to consider the drainage layer of your rock garden. Drainage is important to avoid any flooding of the area, and will help to ensure your rock garden will last for many years to come. 

The drainage layer of your foundation can be a collection of heavy rocks, old pieces of concrete, brick, or broken terracotta pots. This layer needs to be around 1/3 to 1/2 of the trench depth. 

Sand layer

Step three involves putting down the sand layer. Sand is essential as it acts a a material that allows water within the ground, while holding up the top soil layer (next step). So how much sand is necessary? When adding the sand you should consider a layer of approximately 10 centimetres, which will sit evenly between the drainage level and the soil. 

Soil layer

Next up we will start to add soil to your rock garden. The soil layer of your area is one of the most important levels as it creates an area to grow plants. If this layer isn't undertaken with care, you will have trouble in the future when attempting to propagate your plants. You can purchase a soil that is specially designed for rock gardens, or you can make your own. If you decide to make you own topsoil, consider an even mix of: natural soil, peat, and fine gravel. 

You should also consider making more soil that you require, as you will find gaps and areas that inevitably require a little extra as you build your garden. 

Layering can be a tricky task, if you need assistance chat to a professional to ensure this crucial stage is undertaken correctly. 

Choosing and placing the rocks

Now that you have built your foundation its time to consider what you intend to put in your new rock garden. This can be a tricky yet enjoyable element of the process, and a landscape designer or gardener's advice is often sought to help inform plant and rock choices.

There are a few different types of rocks that are available to the home gardener. Firstly, natural rocks can give your home a gorgeously earthy feel. These can be purchased from landscaping centres, and home improvement stores. You should pick a rock design that suits your existing garden, and remember you will probably need some assistance in arranging the rocks once they arrive onsite. If you choose large boulder-size rocks these will need to be built into the ground, for safety reasons approximately 1/3 of the rock should be undersoil. Follow any safety precautions, and arrange help if needed.

Give it time to set

Once you've added, arranged, and placed your rocks in the right area of your new garden it is time to let them set. Over the course of a couple of weeks, the rocks and the soil layers will drop considerably, and probably require a top-up before you begin planting flowers etc. Additionally, rain and other weather conditions can cause your wall to move somewhat, and will flatten the soil you added to the top layer. This is an important process and will help you create a sturdy rock garden. 

Planting flowers

Finally, we arrive at the final step in your garden makeover! Planting foliage and flowers can be the most enjoyable stage of the rock garden creation, and will allow you to customise the look and feel of your space. Head to a nursery and speak to a professional about the type and variety of plants that will suit a rock garden, as well as the volume of sunlight they will receive. 

Once you've planted your new rock garden, the only thing you have to do is sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour! 

We hope this Ideabook provided some handy hints and helpful ideas to update your garden. If you'd like to read more, check out: Beautiful country style garden furniture

What is your favourite garden design? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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