Every time you look at a balcony garden or terrace garden or landscaping, all you see is the luscious greenery or the artificial grass and you tend to forget about the most authentic, yet often neglected part- the rocks. Nobody can deny the importance of wafting scent of sweet flowers and plants but terrace and balcony gardens ideas revolve around much more than just greens and pinks. Keeping this in mind, landscape architects have given rocks the place they deserve i.e. in our gardens. Turning your backyard garden into a rockery or a rock garden is one of the most time-saving home garden designs.
In this type of garden, the soil and rocks are arranged in such a way that it creates ideal conditions for certain plants to grow. For the name-sake, a rock garden is a human-made garden but a well-planned and a well-managed rock garden can turn out to be the most authentic, natural and exciting feature of any garden. Just like plants, rocks come in varying shapes and sizes so you can choose the one that best suits your home balcony garden. Moreover, the earthy colours of rocks would always make you feel closer to nature and mother earth. If all these reasons have convinced you to build your own rock garden then following are the steps to consider for speeding up the building process:
- Location– a rock garden is a pretty permanent structure so one has to place it in a sunny, open part of their front or back yard away from large trees and nearby hedges. If you’re a beginner then it’s advisable to start with a little corner of your balcony garden or landscape .however if you believe that you’re a gardening pro then you can opt for larger spaces or higher hills. For a rock garden on a hilly area, it should be placed on a slope that receives the maximum sunlight whereas a miniature rock garden should be placed in a shady area near a wall or a house.
- Selection of rocks– choosing rocks of varying sizes can give a funky look to your garden. Hence, choosing a few boulders as the primary foreground and small pebbles as the background is a right choice. Usually Limestone and hard Sandstone are considered to be the best because of their porous and weathered look. It’s advisable to keep away from large rocks if your garden is small and one can also opt for uniform sizes of rocks for a simple and small garden.
- Placement- it’s very important to get the right feel of the rock garden for which placement and bedding of rocks is the key factor. The layout should be in such a way that the rocks are placed in a slanting position, leaning back so that the rainwater trickles towards the plants’ roots. Random placement of rocks works well if paired with irregular rocks for a natural and effortless look. However, for a more elegant and cleaner look, one can opt for smooth pebbles that come in uniform sizes.
- Selection of plants– a little greenery never killed anyone, hence adding a few plants to your rock garden will help to make it look complete. A good tip for selecting plants for a garden like this is to look for small plants that take drought well like cacti and succulents. Some hardy cactus species like Opuntia and some succulent species like Aloe are considered to be the best rock garden plants. One can also opt for creeping plants or even big plants if that’s your desired style.
Just like any conventional garden like a terrace garden or a balcony garden requires much more than just plants, similarly all the above things have to be considered in making of a rock garden apart from rocks only. A few innovations that you can bring in your rock garden include making a pond with garden rocks, making a rock mosaic garden design, making a small desert out of these rocks, making steps out of flat slabs of stone, making a rock entryway and if this all is still “less innovating” then don’t forget the luxurious rock waterfall that you can invest your time and energy in. Some important rockery tips that one can follow are:
• Make sure you plan your rock garden only in the presence of well-grown and established plants.
• To give a natural touch to your rock garden, you have to make the rocks look naturally placed. For this you can press them down or fill he crevices with soil.
• Avoid too much planting.
• Remove all the vegetation first before you start placing the rocks so you can easily demarcate the area for your garden.
• Rock garden plants require replanting after every 4 to 5 years as the soil becomes sour and stale.
• The rock garden can use watering by sprinkling water over the rocks.
• You can also use inverted marking paint to plot your design on the ground so you have a better idea about how your garden would look.
• Start with the large boulders as they are the heaviest to lift. Footing can be created to set them so they look natural.
• Ornamental mulching of coloured sand, woodchips, gravel, pebbles etc can be used to prevent the growth of weeds.
The best part about a rock garden is building its interior design. You don’t have to constantly worry about choosing the right soil, the right fertilizers or the right way to maintain the garden. Any garden requires hard work but a rock garden is a delight for both amateurs and experts. The only thing that would slightly worry you is pulling out weeds which is again not a very time-consuming or a high-maintenance job. This kind of garden is cheap within itself but if someone is looking for an even cheaper option then they can opt for materials like crushed granite and other crushed rock material for their garden. Rock garden is similar yet beautifully contrasting to a flower garden. Therefore, the next time you want a break from your “normal” gardening or you see some rocks just lying in your garden, pick them up and start building a fraction of what is known as a rock garden.