Mother Earth Living

Make Your Own Rock Garden

Rock gardens are an excellent way to create a more dynamic outdoor living space.
By Maren Thompson Bzdek
September/October 2009
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Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison


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Gardening with a Black Thumb: Indoor Rock Gardens

Rock gardens are one way to brighten your house without having to actually grow things.

Rock gardens are an excellent way to create a more dynamic outdoor living space. Varying elevations add dimension, which is particularly suitable for smaller areas. Stone patios with water fountains or fire pits invite gatherings and are more likely to draw you outdoors in all seasons, but rock gardens can be expensive and exhausting if not planned right. Take inspiration from monumental works, but start small with your first rock garden. Need more inspiration? Read about a rock garden in Colorado.

• Install stones between spring and early fall. Frost can cause ground heaving, which disrupts stone placement, and suppliers can’t cut dimensional stone effectively when the weather’s below freezing.

• To etermine what kind of rocks you like, visit a demonstration garden.

• Choose smaller rocks. They don’t need professional delivery and installation.

• Use stones in their existing size and shape, creating a more natural look and eliminating cutting and processing costs.

• Though beautiful, water features and fire pits cost more. Water features also need a plumbing setup that usually requires professional advice. A well-placed stone bench or a single stone sculpture surrounded by herbs can create a less-expensive gathering space.

• If you already have stone on your property, ask your supplier/designer to integrate it with purchased stone.

• Before you move large boulders without machinery, ask your supplier about effective techniques.

• When building rock elevation close to your home’s foundation, consider your property’s drainage pattern and incorporate functional drainage into your design.

• Creating a DIY rock garden requires a patient, physically fit person. If that’s not you, recruit some help.








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