Create an Herbal Rock Wall

| June/July 2008

A stone wall planted with herbs makes a spectacular yet practical landscape feature. You can use the wall as a freestanding fence, a retainer for a slope or as a low border for a raised bed. If you plan to grow large herbs, a retaining wall is best because roots can grow into the soil behind the wall.

Select a variety of arching, creeping and upright herbs; a 2½-inch size pot is best. To build the wall, you’ll need either a garden hose or stakes and string to lay out the shape; a spade or shovel; a tamper; and a small trowel or five-in-one knife. Then assemble your tools, rocks and plants, roll up your sleeves, and dig in …

(Click here to see photos of all the steps.)

Step 1: Make a soil mix using equal parts natural topsoil, high-quality compost and crushed gravel, which will provide good drainage. Avoid using manure; it can burn plants if it isn’t completely rotted. Remember: Rock wall plants like a lean and mean soil!

Step 2: Build the wall. To start, dig a trench 4 inches deep, then fill it with gravel or sand. Tamp the gravel firmly in place. Next, lay the rocks, fitting them together as you would a jigsaw puzzle, with gaps no more than 1 to 1½ inches between them. Build your wall one layer at a time, covering each rock layer evenly with a 1- to 1¼-inch layer of the soil mix. Stagger rocks so that the gaps are not all in a row, leaving occasional spaces for larger plants. As you build, step back each layer a half inch to ensure stability. (For a retaining wall, fill in the back with gravel as you go.) Finish wall by mounding some soil on top. Do not tamp this down; you don’t want to compact the soil because plants will grow here.

Step 3: Prepare to plant. Although it might seem easier to plant as you stack, tucking the herbs in after the wall is finished allows more artistic control. Before inserting your herbs, prepare a planting mix of equal parts clay and sphagnum moss, along with a little water to make a slurry. Squeeze out excess water.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265