By Lucy Stone, Networx

Rock gardens are much easier to create then most people think. Just about any well-drained, sunny location can be turned into one of these low-maintenance gardens into a soothing addition to your landscape. Using porous rocks, evergreen plants and mosses, this garden only needs a light watering once a week.

 

First, start by picking out your rocks. Virtually any rocks will do the job as long as it's porous and allows water to seep through. While you can purchase rocks such as sandstone, granite, limestone, and shale from nurseries or landscape contractors, rocks that are native to your area not only look natural, but are also the cheapest and easiest to obtain.

 

When you are planning out your rock garden you need to have a design in mind. Start by setting the rocks in the lowest, front part of the garden first and work your way upward. Be sure to leave various sized pockets between rocks for the rock plants. Then use rock soil around each rock to anchor it firmly, burying at least one third of large boulders.

 

After the rocks are in place, let the soil settle around them for a few days to make sure you like the garden layout before adding any plants. Then create a bed of course rubble covered with standard rock soil which is 1 part peat, 1 part loam, and 1 part sharp sand or grit.

 

Finally, install your rock garden plants. Some favorites include chicks and hens, chrysanthemums, blue rug juniper bushes, rock jasmine, and alpine aster. After planting, top dress the surface with grit, gravel or stone chippings.

 

You can also enhance existing stone elements around your yard like stonewalls by adding mosses, ferns and trailing ivy's that spill over it and soften the area.

 

Planting in between big boulders is another affordable way to a create a rock garden. Add plants that are drought tolerant in between the holes and are proportional to the size of the boulders like ornamental grasses that can grow as high as the boulders themselves.

Source: http://www.networx.com/article/rock-gardens

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