Rock gardens in Singapore are inspired by the traditional Zen gardens of Japan. It is becoming increasingly popular in places like Singapore where designing a sprawling lawn is often difficult for the homeowners due to an acute scarcity of available space. Even though, rock gardens are generally designed on the backyard of a house, you may also use a corner of your balcony, terrace or under stair space to design a beautiful garden like this.
Trees like hemlock, redwood, cedar, yew, oak and Japanese maple are especially suited for a garden like this. Most of these trees thrive well in Singapore. Besides, they create a nice backdrop for the smaller shrubs and flowering plants. Plants like Delosperma cooperi and Echinacea grow well in dry and rocky soil. They are sturdy and can withstand the elements of nature well. Creepers like Sedum, Arabis and Ajuga grow rapidly and cover your garden with a colourful sheet of pink and violet of flowers. Ajuga has an aggressive nature and may invade into the spaces of some of your other plants. So keep their growth in check by cutting and trimming them at regular intervals.
Nandina domestica can be used to border the edges of your Japanese garden. Don’t forget such beauties as Euphorbia and Azalea. They thrive in extreme heat and can sustain themselves under drought like conditions. The plants mentioned on this list also need little maintenance. So busy homeowners like you can easily include them in your backyard or terrace garden. Many people also love placing bonsais in this part of the garden. This is another choice you may explore, especially for small rock gardens or rock gardens in the interior of a home.
Start by making a landscape design on paper. Pour out your ideas on paper and make several rough sketches of your proposed rock garden. When in need, don’t hesitate to contact a garden planner experienced in designing a Japanese garden. An experienced garden planner may help you with fresh ideas suitable for the space you are about to convert into a rock garden. Improve the draining system of this space. Ideally, the ground should have a gentle slope towards the gutter. You may remove soil to prepare this slope.
To create the foundation of the garden use such items like broken bricks, concrete and pebbles. Create a layer of sandy soil above it. The porous nature of the layer helps easy filtering of the water. Then spread a layer of specially formulated soil used in the rock gardens. You may order it online or buy it from the local garden supply store. This layer must be a feet deep. Plant the shrubs and creepers at this stage. You may also place the bonsai planters at different points of the garden.
Cover the top layer with a mixture of gravel and horticulture grade sand. This layer must be 6 to 8 inches deep. Use landscaping rocks to create the islands. Use colourful riverbed pebbles to define the edges. Riverbed pebbles are also needed for river rock landscaping. You may also define the border with medium sized boulder rocks. Sprinkle water on the plants for about 15 days or so. After that, you will not need to water the plants daily. Use a wooden rake to draw the ripples on the topmost layer. You will need to spend between SGD 40 and SGD 50 per square foot to build a small rock garden in the backyard of your home.
Singapore experiences medium to heavy rainfall for at least six months every year. To ensure proper drainage, choose soil that is porous. Soil with about 40% to 50% sand content can be utilised in the rock garden. When wet, this type of soil will not become loamy. To grow plants in the beginning, you may need to add a bit of organic manure in the soil. But keep the quantity of the manure low. Use small pebbles to decorate the garden. In time they will enrich the soil with natural minerals and calcium.
To maintain the health and beauty of a rock garden, ensure a clean garden environment. Remove stray twigs and dry leaves from this area every day. They tend to invite various garden pests which may destroy your beautiful garden plants. Once in a month, remove the large rocks and pebbles from this space. Gently brush off loose dirt from their surfaces. To remove the greasy stains use a solution of sodium bicarbonate and water. Remove the weeds from this area as soon as you see them growing.
To grow moss on the large island like rocks, coat them with a solution of buttermilk and water. You may also use sour yoghurt for this purpose. Sprinkle water on these rocks for a few days. After sometime, you will see the first appearance of the characteristic rich green tint on the rocks. Moss will grow naturally on these rocks from this point of time onwards. But mosses are special features of Japanese tea gardens which has a more moisture rich environment. The dry environment of a rock garden may not suit them well. Sprinkling the mossy rocks with little water and placing them under the shades to help sustain the growth of moss.