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

January 26, 2017

How to add rocks to your garden

Rocks can be a wonderful addition to your garden. I'm always anxious to add more, like I did this morning after a friend dropped some off yesterday. But there are a couple of things I've learned.

• Don't just have your landscape be rocks. That's what I call a moonscape. I've seen people who, with the best intentions, take beautiful rocks and pile them up all over their yard, maybe with a stray weed or sickly-looking cactus, and make an eyesore out of what could have been a beautiful landscape. The point is that rocks are accent pieces, they're not an entire landscape. Use them with with discretion, or your yard will either look like the moon, or a gravel pit.

• Make them look as if they've always been there. I like to find rocks with some jagged edges, and dig them in around my plants, or around the light fixtures. The illusion is that these rocks are buried deep into the ground, and only the tips are showing, like on the top of a mountain. I call these "pointy rocks". Their jagged edges not only look great, but they can't be confused with a place to step, so no one will accidentally mistake it for a stepping stone, and step on it.

Roundy-roundy rock towards the top, jagged rocks below. These are waiting to be placed in the garden.

• Use river rocks to fill. River rocks, or what I call "roundy-roundy rocks" are great for filling areas. They can be stepped on, so they go around the pointy rocks in areas where the mulch tends to not stay. Otherwise I use mulch. Roundy-roundy rocks do not make very good accent rocks - if you pile them up in your garden it will tend to look like someone is buried there. River rocks should sit the way that they do at the bottom of a river, next to each other, not on top, and not alone.

So do include rocks, but do so with care.
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