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How to Build a Rock Garden Yourself

Building a rock garden can be a fun project. Though it requires a lot of work, it can be very satisfying once you see the end result.

Here is a step-by-step “instruction manual” to get you started. Thankfully, it doesn’t require a great amount of expertise or creativity to make your own rock garden – all you need is a passion for the personal space around your home.

1. Start with a Clean Slate

First, identify the ideal spot for your rocks. For this, you will need a shovel, garden shears and a good pair of gardening gloves for weed removal. You will also need an edger (a tool designed for creating a deep edge which will hold any wash-off during the rainy season). Once you clear the space, the edge will also serve as a guideline. Designate a work area nearby for laying out your basic materials – rocks, tools and any ornaments you may want to add.

2. The Design

With paint, mark off the areas for the stones, shrubbery and ornaments. This is a rough design that can be changed any time before you start placing items in your rock garden. It will also help you visualize what your rocks will look like when it’s completed. If you’re not happy with the first attempt, keep trying something else until you get it just right.

3. The Rocks

Choose your boulders – big and small – as well as flat stones, riverbed stones for the authentic rivulet effect, and flagstones. Use crowbars since lifting large boulders is most likely one of the hardest steps to creating your rock garden. Bend at the knees when moving the bigger boulders and brace yourself properly before shifting or adjusting them. Work with the big boulders first, as the border, creating ‘feet’ for them in the soil to rest on without shifting. Then place the smaller boulders and flat stones to re-create a riverbed effect.

The Shrubs

Juniper bushes are perfect shrubbery for rock gardens. Set them at the head of the ‘river’ with peat moss and (preferably eco-friendly) fertilizer. Work your way downwards slowly by placing the smaller boulders and riverbed stones on the ground to create the river. Dig out the soil to make the river as deep as you want, lining it with the boulders and stones until you’ve achieved the right effect. At the tail end of your private river, create a basin to act as a catchment area for the water.

The Walkway

After your rock garden is ready, use the flagstones and flat stones to make a path to your private rock garden. Remember to do what makes you feel comfortable. Even with the boulder placements, choose what you think looks best, as long as the stones are set firmly in the soil so they do not move around when the soil becomes soggy in the rain.

There’s no right or wrong way to create your own rock garden, because in the end, it’s your own private piece of Eden on earth. The last element you need is the right kind of landscape lighting to brighten your paradise on earth and you’re all set. Choose from a wide range of stand-alone, spot or embedded lighting to create an effect that will absolutely wow your evening visitors.