HOW TO CREATE A ROCKERY
Once created and planted, your Rockery will give you many years of virtually trouble free gardening, but they must be planned to a fine detail. A pile of stones simply laid out on flat ground as if abandoned is not a rockery so to achieve a result that is pleasing to the eye, and as natural looking as possible, take your time, read on and follow our tips:
CHOICE OF ROCKS
There are a host of attractive rockery stones available on the Garden Oasis website. For the best effect, decide on just one colour, whether it is to match in with your house brickwork or roofing tiles, or as a dramatic contrasting feature. Remember that big rocks are expensive and very difficult to move, one better left to the professionals who have the equipment.
PLANNING YOUR ROCK GARDEN
Forward planning will pay off. Create a drawing to scale, 'inserting' your alpines if you are intending to plant up. Allow a weekend for the actual build. Wear protective gloves.
WHERE SHOULD I BUILD IT?
A true Rockery will look best on a sloping site, which is not overly shaded. For a smaller garden it could be achieved by cutting away a triangle edge of lawn - especially if it is in a hard to mow spot, or if the grass is never lush. Rockeries look good set against a wall, or with water coursing through them. They shouldn't be set under trees as the canopy will restrict the sun, and most Rockery plants are sun lovers. Another ideal place is at the side of a pond. In fact if you are digging out a pond, the displaced soil will make an ideal slope for your Rockery.
HOW TO ACHIEVE A NATURAL EFFECT
As previously stated, the last thing you can do is scatter stones around - it will look totally unnatural, and remember this rockery could be with you for a life time. The Rockery stones need to appear as is they have been in the ground for many years, only partly exposed by the weather washing away the soil. At least part of the Rock should be under soil. We haven't given a hard and fast exact depth rule, because it will depend on the size of your Rockery stones. The other rule of thumb is that the strata or lines running across the surface of your Rockery stones should all lie in the same direction. Don't make your Rockery too 'formal' - it should look as if nature created it.
On a sloped site start at the bottom, working your way up. Use your largest Rockery stones at bottom level, in an irregular line, with a small space in between for planting. Make sure each Rock is totally bedded in. Check it looks natural and you are happy with the result before you move up to the next level. Fill gaps with a suitable compost - it must drain freely, and you can mix in grit and/or sharp sand if you have some, as alpine plants won't live with sodden roots. Work your way up the slope. The rule will apply all the way up - part bury your Rockery stones, and stand back and check the results as you go along.
This is the easy bit - your rockery will be mainly maintenance free. If you have used weed free compost and your plants have spread into clumps there will be very little room for weeds to take hold. Any that you do spot though, remove straight away - if they take hold you could pull out your plants trying to remove them.