Backyard landscaping ideas come in all shapes and sizes, with a special focus on a certain design line and a spot on a certain area in your home desired to be emphasized. The natural can be tamed and molded to your liking, creating complex areas meant to delight the senses and ease the mind and soul. As evident in any Filipino home, a variety of elements is involved, starting with the basics: earth, water and greenery. You can play around with these three components and turn your backyard to a modern, classy, contemporary, or chic design, according to your taste and desire.
Today we are focusing on the role rocks have to play in the garden. Specific for Japanese creations, rock gardens have started to appear in the Philippines as well as a mixture of the static and the dynamic. They are used in certain zones of the garden to form landscaping structures such as an elegant arch, a foundation to a water fountain, or a simple set of stepping stones. Let’s dive into the beautiful world of rock garden ideas.
A lot of homeowners who are looking at good design choices can consider a rock garden as a specific kind of installation for putting up an attractive overall design for their home. Having a rock garden in your balcony, in your yard, or elsewhere on your property can make a house look good. Listed below are some of the main benefits of choosing a rock garden for an exterior space.
Rock gardens are low-maintenance
A rock garden is one of the best features a homeowner can choose for home décor and landscaping that require little to no maintenance. Over time, this can be a big deal for any homeowner. Traditional gardens, flower beds, or other similar installations actually require a lot checking up work. Even wooden or concrete walkway designs will require some general maintenance over several years. A rock garden, on the other hand, needs very little in the way of maintenance and so presents an attractive option for those who don’t have a lot of time to keep up their property.
Filling in exterior ground space
One situation where a rock garden can provide a very effective helping hand is covering problem areas in your yard. Property owners who want to replace ailing grass can choose any combination of rocks with loose gravel filled in between to create a neat, attractive yard space that your family and visitors can enjoy. Moreover, if there’s too much shade in that problem area, the ground is uneven, or just not suitable for lawn growth, cover it with a rock garden. It will mask the issue with a beautifully-designed space and become a focal point in your yard.
Geology as art
A rock garden allows a property owner to take advantage of the aesthetic qualities of natural rock. Rock enthusiasts can tell you how igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks exhibit color patterns that exude beauty and art. Homeowners looking at rock gardens have a vast variety of designs to choose from, and installation can be as easy as arranging for specific placement of larger rocks or boulders.
Withstanding the outdoor elements
Just as rock gardens need little maintenance, many of them don’t need any shelter, either. This makes a rock garden a great choice for residences in the Philippines where rain and even thunderstorms damage small and big plants annually, where flower beds or other installations don’t fare very well year-round, or require planting every dry season.
Increasing property value
Another great benefit of adding a rock garden to your landscape is increasing your home’s appeal and value. Features that are big draws for aspiring homeowners are spaces and items that make the home unique. Moreover, adding water features or a seating area to your rock garden or even a path to another section of your yard or area of your home will make it more appealing to anyone’s eyes.
A rock garden can add strikingly dramatic beauty to your landscape and provide natural elegance. The usual arrangement is placing rocks to form a garden and let plants grow from soil between rocks. Let’s check out the easy steps for building the perfect rock garden for you.
Choosing the site
Whether you are able to devote a corner of your garden to creating a rock garden or you are planning to transform the whole back garden, it is worth considering the details of the elements around you. Aim to use the most open position, away from overhanging trees or tree roots, where plants will receive sun for the greater part of the day. Also, choose a position where the drainage is perfect, unless you are prepared to build raised beds or enhance drainage in other ways.
Sketch a plan of the proposed rock garden, bearing in mind the gradient, any underground pipework, the amount of shade and how you might best view it.
Rock gardens are quite an investment in hard materials such as rock, stone, and gravel or slate. Choose local stone if possible and stones in various sizes too for the natural-looking appeal.
Building the rock garden
Construction of your rockery may seem rather daunting. For larger projects you will need the help of a professional landscaper, but smaller projects are quite feasible. Keep in mind to ensure that the area is weed-free by hand weeding. Build a base about 6 inches deep of coarse rubble, broken bricks, or stone. To prevent the base layer from mixing with the compost, spread a layer of inverted turves over this, if available.
Placing the stone
To create a natural-looking rock garden, start by selecting large stones to act as ‘keystones’. Position the larger of these first and place the remaining ones so that the strata looks natural. Support them with smaller stones or bricks underneath. Aim for a naturalistic look when setting the rock in place. The rocks should tilt backwards, with the strata running the same way. Bury the stones up to a third of their depth, firming them in place. Leave the areas between the stones infirmed and add the specially made compost over the area to create planting pockets. After these basic steps, you can flourish your rock designs with plants best with a rock garden.
Transforming an unsightly slope or mound in your backyard into a colorful rock garden is easy when you chose the right plants. These amazing, low-maintenance ground huggers don't mind poor soil but do need good drainage and between partial to full sun to survive. Here's a list of some of the top plants available in the Philippines for rock gardens.
This amazing family of succulents comes in a seemingly endless selection of shapes, sizes, and colors. They are extremely heat-and-drought-resistant and they have shallow root systems that allow you to easily tuck them into the tight spots between rocks and boulders.
This pretty creeper grows 4-6 inches tall and produces masses of cheerful pink or white flowers in the spring. Rock cress makes a great container plant too.
These strong plants come in a wide variety of colors and shapes and will quickly take root in any sunny, rocky location. Plus, most varieties produce nectar-rich, white, pink, or mauve flower heads in the dry season that lure colorful butterflies to your garden.
Candytuft produces a stunning carpet of snow-white flowers atop bright evergreen foliage. In addition, candytuft is an easy-care perennial that grows 6 inches tall and can spread 16 inches wide.
This stunner grows 6-12 inches tall and thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. Though this plant can be short lived in the Philippines, make sure to replant every year or two.
Often called sea pink, thrift originally grew wild on ocean-side cliffs so you know it will tolerate salt spray, heat, and punishing winds especially in the coastal areas. Thrift prefers poor soil and the plants may rot if grown in really rich or moist soil.
Blue Star Creeper
Growing just 2-4 inches tall, blue star creeper should be on your must-have list for rock or wall gardens. This handsome perennial develops tiny green leaves that form a solid mat.
In the home garden, a rock garden generally consists of an arrangement of native rocks, boulders and pebbles with carefully selected, low-growing plants that is exposed to tough conditions such as the intense Philippine heat, heavy rain, and drought. Thus, mixing the perfect soil is crucial for your rock garden.
Soil prepping a rock garden bed consists of creating three separate layers that promote good drainage and a healthy foundation for your rock garden plants.
The first layer is the rock garden’s foundation and creates excellent drainage for the plants. This layer is simple and consists of large chunks such as old concrete pieces, rocks or chunks of broken bricks. This foundational layer should be at least 8 to 12 inches thick. However, if your garden already has excellent drainage, you may be able to skip this step or make a thinner layer.
The next layer should consist of sharp, coarse sand. Although any type of coarse sand is suitable, horticultural-grade sand is best because it is clean and free of salts that may harm plant roots. This layer, which supports the top layer, should be about 3 inches.
The uppermost, all-important layer is a soil mix that supports healthy plant roots. A good rock garden soil mixture consists of approximately equal parts good quality topsoil, fine pebbles or gravel and peat moss or leaf mold. You can add a small amount of compost or manure, but use organic materials sparingly. As a general rule, rich soil isn’t suitable for most rock garden plants.
Just like any other garden, it is important to maintain a rock garden to keep it looking great. Taking care of a rock garden is relatively simple and the maintenance requires little effort.
It is important to weed the rock garden on a regular basis and remove debris. This is necessary because once weeds start appearing in the nooks of the rocks, it makes it harder for plants to take root. Weeding should be done by hand instead of spraying weed killer.
Take care of overgrown plants. Once plants flower, cut them back by clipping away the dead stems and foliage. This encourages new, healthy growth. In addition, divide plants that have grown too large. Once divided, they can be replanted in different areas of the rock garden or they can be given away.
It is necessary to protect the plants from insects and disease. Routinely examine all plants for sign of insect damage and disease. Most importantly, water and fertilize the rock garden regularly.