Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rock Gardens

As I get back into the garden again, I thought I'd explore the idea of a rock garden.  This idea is growing in popularity and it's really a fun theme that requires very little maintenance once the set up is complete.  The expensive component is the rock used.  If you move to the desert, you may notice the lack of lawns and an increase of rock or pebble mulch.  Rock doesn't have to be boring and if organized properly, this garden can be the star attraction of your home or frontyard.  There are several ideas behind the general term, "Rock Garden".  When I think attractive, I think of the above pic.  Strong colored rocks mixed with agaves, aloes, grasses, cacti, several groundcovers like the ice plant, wildflowers, or succulents are excellent choices for this type of design.  Strong rock design with structural plants create a really bold statement.   Whatever you choose, remember to keep water similiar plants together.  For example, you may not want to put cacti next to succulents as succulents require a bit more water. Similarly, keep all sunny plants together in one spot.   Wildflowers look amazing in this kind of garden.
Japanese Garden
There's even a more sterile type of garden known as the Japanese Rock Garden.  Talk about low maintenance!  It's not the typical "rake your gravel" in the Arizona desert.  Instead, think of it as a way to add grace through elegant design around rock formations.  It's very zen and relaxes the body and mind.  It's not for everyone, but it is a unique form of rock gardening that is also gaining popularity in the Old Pueblo. No plants to very little plants are used for this design.  If a plant is used, it wouldn't be the focal point but off to the side away from the rock design.
Here in Tucson, we are very lucky to be able to choose from a great selection of structural plants. What do you think?  Do you have a rock garden?  Do you like this design?  Would you have one in your own landscape?


  1. Like the rock gardens! I think they add some interest to the garden besides the beautiful plants and flowers. Lovely photos.

  2. I think that gardens have to be adapted to the local climate, and yes rock gardens are fabulous, but i would have enormous difficulty having one here in England as is very damp all year long! BUT...we have English gardens with a wealth of luxurious plants and flowers.
    All gardens are attractive when you can see the care and love that people put in!

  3. Mam skalny ogródek, ale najwięcej w nim kwiatków. U nas kaktusy i sukulenty nie przeżyły by zimy.Z Twoich planów podoba mi się pierwszy. Pozdrawiam. *** I have a rock garden, but most of the flowers. We cacti and succulents that do not survive the winter. With your plans like the first. Yours.

  4. I don't have a rock garden but do admire them!

  5. I love rock gardens Chris - they look great whether they are large or small and there are so many different ways to plant them.

    We've got a small one behind the garden pond - initially it was planted with heathers, primulas and alpines. Unfortunately over the years the small alpines got "suffocated" as the heathers and primulas dominated. So we cleared the area last year and are hoping to replant this year.

    Hope you go ahead with one and if you do look forward to some pictures.

  6. No I don't although I do have a few rocks placed in one garden. Would love to have more and some fair size ones too. LOVE the look.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

  7. I think it's a neat idea, and one that actually might attract more wildlife that the normal lawns. As you mentioned in an earlier post about the Quail, nothing confirms a gardens success like the wildlife.

  8. i love rocks...
    can never have enough of them in the garden
    love the zen garden...but there is always the kid or animal that wants to mess it up
    ...and did you really post this at 2 am?

    1. Oh no...are you kidding?:) I schedule these for a 2 AM release so that it reaches our overseas friends by day and early morning for the American crowd who like to have their cup of coffee and read:) Well that's how I do it:) When I first saw people raking here, I didn't understand. I thought it was actually kinda funny. You mow lawns! You DON'T rake gravel. So I put my trees and plants in and really don't like lawns anymore. I rake the pebbles around these areas and really like the look of it. But my million birds have other plans:)

  9. Fun post! We create rock gardens here every time we plant even the smallest plant. The rocks we dig out are reused as rock gardens and borders.

    We don't have as many hardy cacti and succulents to chose from as you do in the desert, so we add plants that work here.

    We don't have a spot for a Japanese style garden, but do plan some restful spots with gravel and minimal plants.

  10. i think it would be beautiful in a desert-like setting. :)

  11. Hello! This is very interesting! I have not rock garden...Our village is in Caucasus mountains...Almost everywhere there are a lot of yard...

  12. I would love to have a rock garden with lots of succulents, wildflowers, and some cacti. I am a poor planner though. :-(

  13. Oh Kreesh, you haven't been to my rock garden yet, you should visit my latest post now! LOL. But these are lovely rock gardens, now you remind me of my intention to post some rocks, colorful beach rocks.

  14. Oh yes! The past 3 summer droughts convinced me to 'go rock' (go native?) (go native rock?) LOL
    I have 3 or 4 rock garden areas, but it has a very different look and feel than drier rock gardens further west like in Austin and El Paso. I even have a Zen garden that I rake. It's very relaxing. In fact, rock gardens and gravel gardens are just plain fun.
    Nice post! David/:0)

  15. I've been admiring rock gardens, and if I was starting again, would make one. Can be very soothing and creative.


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