How To Make A Rockery For The Garden

How To Make A Rockery For The Garden

Give a different touch to the garden or terrace or even get it to have a rustic touch. Something that we can achieve in a simple way if we consider making a rockery in the garden. A way to completely change our own landscape, creating an area with a different personality. And something has these small rock gardens that catch the attention of those who enjoy their presence. A small oasis of a different nature that is easy to create and enjoy.

Also called an alpine garden, making a rockery in the garden is perfect for those who want to recreate that mixture of stone and nature of the Alps. A natural system that is also ideal for drought areas or poor soils. And not only that. It can also be the perfect solution for those areas of the garden with unevenness, or forested and difficult to access. A perfect way of not having to give up the beauty of plants, no matter how complicated the terrain.

Although a priori how to make a rockery in the garden can be complicated, nothing is further from reality. Being able to design it happens only to know some of its maxims. A guarantee of success to enjoy that mixture of stone and nature so irresistible.


Before going into details, it is interesting to know more about these types of natural sets. Making a rockery in the garden is a tradition that dates back to the 19th century. A time when they became popular in the British Isles, impacted by the landscape of the Alps. A starting point for, in just a few decades, they became part of the usual landscape not only of Europe but also of the entire American continent. A fact that gives us an idea of ​​the attractiveness of rockery.

Understanding the relevance of these natural sets, let’s see how to make a rockery step by step.

1. Choose the design, basic to know how to make a rockery

Before considering how to make a rockery, it is essential that we take some time to design it. Something fundamental if we consider that we do not speak only of stones and plants. There are many more elements that we can count on, such as garden fountains, ponds, or even waterfalls. Facilities that need careful planning, especially with regard to electrical outlets.

In addition to deciding this point, making a rockery involves creating a free space that may even seem messy. A good reason for us not to try to play symmetries or structured approaches. Or, put another way, that the idea is that we play with an odd number of stones; and that we simulate the disorganization at the time of planting our plants.

Another fundamental aspect of how to make a rockery is that it has to be uneven or, failing that, staggered. If we already have that space, perfect. In case we do not have it, we will have to create it artificially. If it is our situation, the ideal thing is to make a closure around the rockery. This will serve to support it and, ideally, should also be done in stone to follow the guidelines of the set.

2. Define where to place the rockery

Although it may seem secondary, nothing is further from reality. The location is key to the course of the rockery. To begin, we will have to place it in a place with good direct light. But be careful: it is not the only important thing. In addition to this, the ideal thing is that it is sheltered from the wind and has good ventilation.

In addition to this, when making a rockery, we have to keep it away from both buildings and trees. On the one hand, because verticality can break the perspective of the rockery. On the other, because they can give unwanted shadows on it. Finally, one more detail in regards to the proximity of trees. They can bring too much moisture to the ground, and this can be negative for our rockery.

Finally, it is essential to recognize the type of soil. It has to be preferably sandy since it will be permeable. Something necessary for the plants we choose to get ahead correctly.

3. Prepare the ground creating a drain

We have insisted a lot on the issue of humidity, and it is not secondary. How to make a rockery happens, necessarily, to create good drainage. Something that we can not ignore no matter how much the floor is ideal. A rockery demands a much greater evacuation of water than usual. Hence, it is imperative that you are uneven. But not only that: we will also have to have a draining layer.

 Ideally,  make a layer between 30 and 40 centimeters that mix coarse sand with perlite and other elements, such as pieces of pots that help filter the water. In order for the water to drain properly, we will have to perform the drainage starting at the top of the rockery until it reaches its base.

4. Draw the stone scheme to fill the ground

The impatient may not have reached this point on how to make a rockery. However, it is time to start seeing our composition, really. With the ground ready, touch the stones. If we have some of the areas, we live in, fantastic. If not, we can always count on garden stones to make a rockery.

When laying the stones, you have to be careful in two aspects. On the one hand, because the larger stones must be placed at the base. Only then will the set have the stability it needs. On the other hand, the ideal thing is to bury them two-thirds of their volume. This way, they will not only have stability but also prevent them from moving with rainwater or the passage of time.

 It is also important to leave separations between each stone. Thanks to this, water can run without moving the stones, and plants can grow freely. Once we have them placed, it is time to fill the ground with earthworm humus.

With the fundamental structure of the rockery ready, it is time to place the smaller stones at the top. And, simultaneously, we will fill with the substrate to fix them to the ground.

5. Define plant colors

Well, a little more patience. To finish making a rockery, we will have to wait a little longer. How much? Between two weeks and one month. Enough time for both the substrate and the stones to settle. Only then, when we start planting, will the ground be the closest to the one that will last over time.

This waiting time will come with pearls to define the colors of the plants of our rockery. A task for which we have to take some time since they will be responsible for giving dynamism to the whole. It should be clear that the color base of a rockery is green in any of its variants. Therefore, the incorporation of color must be careful. The presence of flowering plants should be reduced to small touches of color.

6. Choose plants, just as important as knowing how to make a rockery

Another aspect of how to make a rockery to take it easy. And, as we said, the living conditions of these small rock gardens are unique. Therefore, it is important to discover which are the best plants for the rockery. One way to choose plants that will thrive correctly.

To serve as a guide, a rockery must have a well-defined plant structure: shrubs or shrubs, upholstered plants, and climbing plants. Beyond which plants we choose, two tips. On the one hand, they have different flowering cycles so that we always enjoy color in the rockery. On the other, plant them creating small groups that do not exceed four units.

7. Cover the rest of the land

With all the plants in place, the last step remains: cover the substrate that is not planted. We can do so much with white decorative stone if we want a more striking result; or with pine bark.

Be careful if we have planted bulbs since they will not grow normally with either of these two decorative elements on top.


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