Some homeowners design rock gardens to exploit rocky slopes in their
yards. Others, like me, import rocks into yards that are flat and
rockless; we need stronger backs, but the effort is well worth it.
Another consideration that can influence the design of rock gardens is
space. I am allotting but a small space for my rock garden. In larger
spaces, the goal is often to create sprawling, naturalistic rock
gardens. But given my space restrictions, I'm contenting myself with
what amounts to a round raised bed made of select rocks. This design
fits neatly into the nook I have chosen for it. My small rock garden
won't be in the way when I mow my lawn, nor will it require much
Yet a third design consideration is color. I have a collection of
attractive red sandstone pieces; they will provide the structure for my
rock garden. In turn, this choice will influence my plant selection. I
want a color scheme that will work well with the red sandstone. I would
like some plants with a hint of red in them, but also some plants
displaying silver, yellow and white.
The sandstone with which I'm working is hardly the most durable of
materials. Indeed, many of the pieces are crumbly, well on their way to
becoming soil! But beauty was my goal, not longevity.
Rock gardens normally achieve some elevation above the surrounding
ground. In this case, that means laying a first course of rocks and
soil, then building upon it. In Step 2 I lay the first course....