Your garden may look amazing, but how can you really set it off and add an extra dimension of interest? Sure, a well-timed barbecue certainly achieves this, but what about something more permanent? Perhaps what you need is a rockery.
Despite being comprised of humble rocks, a rockery can transform the landscape of your garden by bringing some eye catching aesthetics to the party. However, can you achieve this just by dumping a load of rocks in the corner? No, there’s a little more finesse involved in building a rockery, so let’s take a look.
Location, Location, Location!
The location of your rockery is very important. The presence of all these rocks can mean that water easily becomes trapped, so the ideal location is on a slope to aid drainage. Not all gardens come with a natural slope, though, so you may have to build one up.
A slope can be created by investing in some top soil and using this as a foundation. Avoid using compost or other garden cuttings as, again, they will trap water far too easily.
You will also need to position the rockery where it can get maximum light. This ensures that the plant life that lives amongst your rocks is able to thrive. With this in mind, avoid building your rockery too close to trees and bushes which will block out all important light.
Planning is Key
It may be tempting to get started straight away, but you need to rein in your eagerness. Planning is essential to make sure that your rockery works. And, remember, rocks are very heavy, so you want to minimize the amount of carrying involved.
Start by sketching (try this app) the garden to get a sense of its scale and how your rockery will fit in. It may be that once you’ve sketched the rockery in your preferred position you realize it doesn’t look right. That’s not a problem, just try working it into a different location.
And, tools wise, you’re going to need a wheelbarrow, gloves and, most importantly, some steel toe capped boots as you don’t want to experience a rock crushing your toes!
Building Your Rockery
Once you’ve got your location sorted then it’s time to build your rockery!
The simplest (and safest) way to get started is at the bottom of the rockery. This provides a firm base to build from and prevents the upper rocks from simply rolling down. Before you lay any rocks, though, you need to clear all the weeds as these can destroy the stability of the ground and cause chaos for your rockery.
Once the area is cleared of weeds, it’s crucial that you build in some drainage for the rockery. The easiest way to achieve this is by laying rubble. Not only will this allow water runoff, it also acts as a useful foundation for the rocks.
The biggest rocks will need to be positioned lowest in order to provide a firm base for the whole structure. Due to the uneven shapes of the rocks they may sit a little too loose, but this isn’t a problem. You can use topsoil to help bed them in and, to provide extra security, add in some smaller rocks.
Gradually build up the layers of rocks and topsoil until you have reached the top. Remember, though, that a rockery doesn’t have to look perfectly measured and positioned. Rockeries should always embrace the wild side of nature, so don’t feel as though you need to get a spirit level out as it will destroy the natural feel.
And don’t forget that you need to leave pockets of space for plant life; fill these pockets with compost to provide enough nutrients for your plants to thrive.