This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area



May 22, 2013

Using rocks in your garden

Used correctly, rocks can be a wonderful addition to the garden. In addition to being functional, they give a wonderful sculptural feeling. I have been adding quite a few lately, like the one in the photo that I just put in yesterday. But there are right ways and wrong ways of using rocks in the garden.

• Don't create a "rock garden". If you think that a rock garden means a garden made up entirely of rocks, that is. Especially here in the desert. Rocks, like any hard surface, reflects and holds in heat. It gets hot enough here in the desert, you don't need to encourage that much more. Be selective with rocks and hardscaping. A garden should look cool and inviting, not look like a rock quarry.

• Get big, pointy rocks. And real ones, too. Fake ones just look awful. Your friends won't tell you, but I will. Are you kidding? And get big, pointy rocks that add character to the garden. And don't use too many or your garden will look like Arlington Cemetery. This rock was just left over from a redesign of my friend's backyard and he was glad to be rid of it. It required a heavy-duty dolly and two strong people to move. And they should be pointy so that they don't look like stepping stones. I like to sprinkle a few river rocks around the edges, which helps transition the look to the garden.

• Bury the rock well into the ground. If it's just lying on the surface, and it looks like a meteorite just dropped from the sky, you've made a mistake. It should look, and be, well dug in. Pile dirt and mulch around it. If it looks like it's always been there, you've done it right. If it doesn't, try again.

• Plant some bulbs around it. Plants like iris look great around a rock like this one. And the rock itself helps hold water in small areas, just like it does in the wild. That's why plants like to grow next to rocks, and it looks so natural.

There. Now I just gotta go get more pointy rocks!


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