Green grass. Trees and shrubs. Flowers. That’s what the typical landscaped lawn consists of. And properly designed, such landscapes can be quite pretty, of course. But there’s many different ways to landscape your yard – and you should consider them all before making your final decision. Let your imagination run riot.
Why not try a rock garden? If there’s a section of your grounds where the grass just won’t grow, why not replace it with a rock garden? Of course, you don’t want to place such a garden in an area which gets a lot of water run-off. If that’s the reason why your grass won’t grow, consider fixing the drainage! But if it’s a question of bad soil, or of too much shade in the area, a rock garden is the perfect solution.
Once you create a rock garden there will be little or no maintenance for it. But that’s contingent on you building the rock garden correctly to begin with. The last thing you want is for the rocks to shift during a rainstorm, or for grasses to constantly crop up through the gaps in the stone and have to be weeded away.
There’s a dearth of sources on the web for rock garden design, but there are plenty of books on the subject, from Rock Garden Design and Construction by the North American Rock Garden Society , to Stonescaping: A Guide to Using Stone in Your Garden by Jan Kowalczewski Whitner, from Stonework: Building Rock Gardens, Walks, Walls, and Ornaments by Alan Bridgewater and Gill to The Rock & Water Garden Expert by D.G. Hessayon.
Apart from a rock garden – not to be concerned with a Japanese garden – there are plenty of other ways to use decorative stone to enhance your landscaping.
Warm, welcoming stone
A concrete sidewalk up to your front door is so prosaic! Why not change it into a rock pathway? And add a rock pathway leading to the back of the house as well. For those types of designs you’ll have to check the building codes in your area – many housing developments restrict the kinds of things you can do to your own yard.
As with a rock garden, the ground needs to be properly prepared first, so that water will run-off properly during even the most ferocious downpours, and the rocks themselves don’t tilt or slide when walked on…or settle and heave during a winter frost. Always consult a professional if you’re going to be working with slabs of stone or rock in an area that gets a great deal of cold weather.