How to build a rock garden

How to build a rock garden

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How to build a rock garden

In gardening manuals, for a long time, the rock garden represented the small reproduction of a landscape, a cross-section, an alpine and mountain atmosphere. So by definition, varieties that resembled high altitudes were implanted in the rock garden.
Today it is less inflexible and leaves more space to the imagination: the rock garden It is a personalized corner, composed trying to recreate what is most pleasing to the owners, trying, through design, to make the result as natural as possible.
For this to happen, planning and planning have a fundamental importance: we must imagine the rock garden like something always present before our eyes, then adjust it according to the passage of time and the seasons, without forgetting that, once prepared, it will not be possible to revolutionize it much.
The keywords are, therefore, planning, study, inspiration.
Already, with regards to the arrangement, the choice of plants and colors, one can clearly be inspired. In this regard, referring to other gardens that have struck us, is not only useful to the creative part of the work, but also, and above all, to that of planning. A valuable tip for those intending to build a rock garden is to go around and analyze examples, noting or photographing, the particular color and season, and the most technical details.
Once visualized, at least in our mind, what a garden idea rocky we have created ourselves, we face the concrete part and the feasibility, bearing in mind that not everything is feasible and that we must compare ourselves with our reality, that is with our raw material, our available space.
Generally speaking, there are four main categories of garden plants rocky and that can be combined together:
1. ground cover plants, which cover the ground.
2. small plants that form, if put together, spots of color
3. the plants of vertical splits
4. trees, dwarf shrubs, various species that make mass.

Let's start from the structure

A textbook rock garden is entirely built and with a yield as natural as possible. That is, in the absence of a mountain environment, we work on the ground to obtain a natural and solid reconstruction: we keep in mind that, once built, it will be difficult to make substantial changes.
When creating slopes or rocky areas, we will have to take into account the plants we will use and how they will be arranged according to their need to stay in the sun or in the shade.
Then we go on to consider the soil on which to make the plants take hold: the ideal would be to prepare a draining layer of about 30 cm, composed of coarse gravel and shards, then, once the base has been created, it is thought to reproduce, disposing in a shrewd way , the stones.
The spaces between the rocky blocks will be filled with a fairly draining soil. Once this space is filled, proceed with another layer of stones, in turn cushioned by other ground, and continue, walking on each layer that is going to overlap. Probably in the following days, it will be necessary to add more soil because this "scaffolding" will have settled.
After about ten days the growing medium will be ready and the selected plants can be planted.

Plants in the rock garden

What may seem to be disordered growth is actually well studied. This is the moral of the floral design of the garden, that is, starting from the natural green base, which predominates in the gardens, it is necessary to plan the choice of plants in relation to the scenography of the rock garden and in relation to each other, especially as regards the colors.
The question is simple: will the flowers in the garden have a harmony between them? and yet, will the garden as a whole stand up to the changing seasons?
A well-designed garden was prepared by calculating these variables: how?
Keeping in mind the seasonality of the plants and relating them to their color; again, thinking of the seasons that alternate and the natural result that we want to maintain in general.
Here are some color rules:
1. create large areas of color, never small spots
2. in order to obtain apparently contrasting tones, it is necessary to go through the use of neutral tones: therefore to combine bright colors with neutral tones of gray-green foliage.
3. associate the blue with the yellow, the violet with the orange, the blue with the cream color.
4. dilute the color with the green of the foliage
5. keep in mind the climatic variations and the presence of water puddles.

The rock garden and the four seasons

Based on small rules it is possible to imagine, visualize and therefore design our garden, making it natural throughout the year, favoring the changing of the seasons.
In winter the green of the evergreens will predominate, punctuated here and there by the white of the snowdrops or by the color of some species resistant to cold temperatures. In spring you can indulge yourself by emphasizing the presence of color. In summer, taking into account the temperatures, you will leave the green light for bells and rock carnations. In autumn, finally, it is important to favor the warm and bright colors of this season, leaving red and golden yellow highlighted, or putting cyclamens in the foreground.
Small tricks like these will allow you to always have a colorful garden.


We have mentioned an inevitable element of the rock garden, the stones. These should be local, a bit for a maximum natural result, a little for cheapness.
Finally, we can consider introducing a body of water to the garden. This, without a doubt, will give an extra touch to the complex, increasing the suggestive spring and winter atmospheres.