step-by-step guide on building your own rock garden

What is a rock garden?

A rock garden is a form of landscape architecture that is constructed out of rocks, gravel, or stones. It often incorporates plants that have adapted to growing in rocky conditions. Rock gardens are low maintenance and can be an ideal solution for a small space. They can also serve as an excellent focal point or provide a backdrop for other plantings.

What do I need to build a rock garden?

What a rock garden is, and how to build your own:

You can quickly create a homely, decorative garden by creating a miniature landscape using rocks. In fact, some readers with small yards and even flowerpots have turned their space into small oases where they can grow plants. For example, you can put in succulents that use little water or stones on the ground to keep plants from freezing in the winter.


Consider the following:

  • Choose a location that receives at least 4 to 6 hours of sun daily, but which is partially shaded by shrubs or trees. Rock gardens are usually not the best choice in areas with full sun.
  • Buying an entire hillside isn’t required, but you should choose a spot with a slight slope (or build one) to allow for excellent drainage.
  • Select an area that is easily accessible from your home. Although rock gardens require minimal care and maintenance, you will want to be able to enjoy it on a regular basis without making a big production about getting there. Make sure it’s also visible from as many windows as possible to avoid missing out on its beauty when you’re indoors.

Dig a trench to separate the rock garden from the surrounding lawn.

Now that you’ve got the lay of the land, it’s time to separate your rock garden from the rest of your lawn. You can do this by digging a trench about 10 inches wide and 12 inches deep.

As you dig, make sure to keep track of where the original edge of your garden was marked. When you’re done digging, this area will be filled with rocks.

You can mark each side of the trench using small stakes connected with twine or string.

Be sure to keep the soil from this trench so it can be used to fill in around the rocks later.

Put gravel into the bottom of the trench.

Now that your trench has been dug, it’s time to put gravel into the bottom of it. This serves two purposes—to provide drainage and to look good. It is much cheaper than mulch and also easier to use because it doesn’t need any prep work or bagging. Gravel requires less upkeep and lasts longer, so what you spend on this part of the project will pay off in the long run.

If you’re using a stone mosaic to line your garden, you’ll want about three inches of gravel for your drainage layer. If not, one-inch layers should do. Keep in mind that rocks retain heat from the sun throughout the day, so don’t be afraid of a little extra insulation for roots!

Add soil and rocks.

Now that you’ve gathered your materials, it’s time to start putting the pieces together.

  • Soil: You’ll have a bit of flexibility here, but there are some guidelines you should follow. The soil can’t be too sandy or too loose—the rocks will fall out. It also has to drain well or the plants with die from mold and mildew. You want the soil to be a bit dense and clay-like for best results.
  • Rocks: Here’s where you get to play around and let your imagination run wild! There are an endless amount of ways you can use these rocks in your garden, so don’t feel pressured to create something that looks exactly like the pictures out of a magazine. Use them as borders between different levels and shapes or as areas for climbing plants to traverse over. They make great accents in corners or other areas looking for some added visual interest–or they can stand alone as their own little islands of eye-catching wonderment!

Planting your perennials, ground covers, and grasses

Next up, it’s time to select your plants. Since you’re working with a small area, you want to pick plants that won’t run rampant throughout your garden and overtake the space. Look for low-growing and smaller varieties that are well suited for your climate. It’s also essential that your plant choices can withstand drought as well as intense heat, and be able to survive in the rock garden year round.

Watering until plants are established.

After planting your succulents, you’re going to want to water liberally but infrequently. In the beginning, you may want to water a few times per week (depending on the weather), and after a few months, you can cut back to once every two weeks. You’ll know it’s time when the succulents have a nice root system established. Some watering-systems will alert you if your plants need watering and when they need it, which is helpful for people who might not be able to get out into the garden as often as they’d like.

Another tip for watering: try not to over-water! Plants can drown in too much water! Remember that once their roots are established and settled into your soil mix, they won’t need anywhere near as much hydration as when they were first getting acclimated to life in your rock garden.

Rock gardens can be simple or elaborate depending on your taste and budget.

You can create a rock garden that is as simple or elaborate as you wish. The simplest design is just a pile of rocks with plants growing between the rocks, but rock gardens can also be designed to become a beautiful courtyard, pond or waterfall. Whichever design suits you best, one thing we do know for sure – they are all low maintenance and allow you to incorporate native plants into your landscape.Step-by-step guide to building your own rock garden

Step 1: Find an appropriate location for your rock garden.

Step 2: Determine the size of the rock garden you would like to build.

Step 3: Choose the type of rock you’d like to incorporate in your garden.

Step 4: Build a raised border around your rock garden, using pressure-treated wood or brick.

Step 5: Fill in the area with dirt.

Step 6: Plant flowers or other vegetation in the dirt.

1. You need a space that is approximately 4 feet by 5 feet to build your rock garden

First, you’ll want to be sure you’re in the right place. You’ll need a space that’s about 4 feet by 5 feet to feel like you have room for a good-sized rock garden.

2. Use a shovel to create a 2-foot-deep hole where the garden will go

Then, grab your shovel and dig! You’ll want to dig out a hole that’s about 2 feet deep and the same size as your intended garden space.

3. The soil should be moist but not too wet, so scoop up some with your finger and squeeze it into a ball

Now it’s time to check the soil. You’ll want it to be moist enough that you can squeeze it into a ball without it falling apart, but you don’t want it so wet that it falls apart when you release your grip on the ball either. If it’s still too dry, add water until you get this consistency.

4. Now you’ll want to add fertilizer and rake in thoroughly

Next, add fertilizer based on what type of plants you intend to grow in your rock garden (you can find specific recommendations online or ask at your local nursery

Building a rock garden is easier than you think! Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

-A set of sharp scissors

-A full tube of hair gel (we used [brand name] Hair Gel, but any will work)

-An old towel to cover your work surface

-A large metal bowl with a few tablespoons of honey in it

-A small glass bowl filled with milk, and an even smaller glass bowl filled with water (also, make sure the milk isn’t expired—you don’t want your rock garden to taste sour)

First, take your scissors and cut the hair gel into small pieces. Place those pieces into the small glass bowl filled with milk. Stir well until all of the pieces are completely dissolved.

Next, pour your honey into the large metal bowl. Slowly add in the milk glass by glass. It should clump together as you add in each one.

Then, add in a few spoonfuls of water at a time until you’ve achieved your desired consistency. You want it to be thick enough that you can scoop it up like ice cream or cookie dough, but not so thick that you can’t mold it like clay.

Finally, use your hands to form

So you’re ready to build a rock garden, eh?

Well, you’ve come to the right place!

I’ll walk you through the process step-by-step, and we’ll have that rock garden built in no time.

The first step is acquiring your rocks and stones. I recommend visiting the local hardware store if there’s one nearby, but you can also shop online.

Once you’ve got your rocks and stones, lay them out on an old blanket or sheet in a pattern that makes sense to you.

Next, prepare your soil for planting by raking it thoroughly, then watering it and letting it soak for about thirty minutes before planting so that the water can drain. Watering and letting it soak after planting helps to ensure that the roots will be able to take hold in the soil.

Now you’re ready to plant your plants! Make sure to read your seed packets or nursery tags carefully so that they are planted at the proper depth and space apart from each other. You don’t want them too close or too far apart because they will be competing for light and nutrients if they are too close together, or won’t be getting enough sunlight and nutrients if they are too far apart.

And there you have it! Your rock

Step 1: Pick a spot.

First things first: it’s time to pick your location. When you pick a spot, you’ll want to think about the drainage of the area and the amount of sunlight it gets. If you’re planning on growing plants, they’ll need some sun. But if your rock garden is simply a place to put rocks, then you have more options.

Once you’ve picked your location, it’s time to get to work!

Step 2: Clear the area.

Next up: clear your area of grass, weeds, and other plants that might be living there already. You can do this in a number of ways:

-If there are just a few grasses or weeds that you can remove with your hands, go for it!

-If there are too many small plants to easily remove by hand, consider using an organic herbicide like vinegar or saltwater (though be careful not to spill any on your rocks!).

-If there is grass that has taken over your space and is hard to get rid of manually or organically, consider renting a sod cutter from your local hardware store. Whatever method you choose here, make sure you’re doing what works best for you and for the environment.

Step 3

1. Pick a spot.

2. Choose rocks and other materials.

3. Prepare the soil.

4. Assemble the garden.

5. Plant plants in the rock garden!

1. Select a site for your rock garden.

2. Prepare the soil for your rock garden.

3. Add rocks to your rock garden.

4. Arrange plants in your rock garden.

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