Landscaping ,

Rock Garden Ideas

A rock garden can be a great low maintenance idea for those out of the way corners in the garden. By design they are simple, yet effective in fulfilling it’s role in the garden. Let’s explore some rock garden ideas for your next outdoor project.

Rock gardens can be found in different shapes and sizes. Some of the reasons why rock gardens are so popular is because they are generally low maintenance. They are also weather tolerant and don’t attract many pests.

There are no hard and fast rules for how to create a gorgeous rock garden, however there are a few fundamentals you should keep in mind when designing your next rock garden project. Let’s take a look at these now.

Fundamentals of a Rock Garden


As we said above, there are a few elements to a rock garden that you should understand in order for your next project to be a success. Let’s break it down into the separate components and give you the best start you can get.

Rockery Plants
cactus rock garden ideas

Source: Unsplash

When you hear rock garden, generally your first thoughts are cactus and succulents. And while they do work very well, not all rock gardens are restricted to these types of plants. With a little bit of research, you can actually incorporate a variety of plants into a successful rock garden.

Looking at the rock garden below, you can see a few small shrubs and low hanging flowers spaced in between the rocks. Incorporating flowers into the garden is important to break up the monotony of the rocks and emphasize the bold characteristics of the feature rocks.

It is important to note, that generally speaking, the plants in rock gardens should be ground spreading plants that fill the spaces in between the rocks. This is to ensure the primary features (the rocks) are still visible and maintain their prominence in the garden.

The plants you choose for your rock garden should be drought tolerant and hardy as most rock gardens are built with low water requirements in mind. Also, the rocks and surrounding materials generally don’t retain much water, so the plants should be able to cope with dry periods every now and again.


If, for some reason, you have your mind set on including a particular plant you think may not be so water hardy, you can work it into your rock garden in a container (or pot). Much like the design in the above rock garden. For more information on container gardening check out our comprehensive article on the Top Tips of Container Gardening.


Rock Garden Ideas – Rocks


Plants are generally the stars in most parts of the garden, however when it comes to rock gardens, they take a step back. Rocks are the main attraction here, and you need to make sure you choose the right types of rocks for your rockery.

Unfortunately, it is not as easy to simply choosing nice looking rocks. There are a few things you need to understand before taking the plunge and transporting those heavy features into your garden.

How to choose the right rocks

If you follow these general guidelines you will be on the right track for creating a beautiful, successful rock garden:

  • choose rocks that weather well – this means avoiding rocks such as limestone or sandstone, that easily weather and wear away. You want your rock garden to be low maintenance. This means not having to replace a worn out stone every few years.
  • choose feature rocks – since the rock is an integral feature to the rock garden, it should stand out. Selecting rocks with nice lines and shapes will always set you up for a fantastic feature rock garden. Try to avoid the featureless rocks like granite and ironstone that don’t have distinctive and attractive features.
  • source your supplier carefully – when you searching for rock suppliers, make sure you get to look and choose the rocks that will be delivered. It sounds strange, however some companies will choose for you, which defeats the purpose of a feature rock garden.


Rock Features

We are now going to take a look at rock gardens with a spin. Sometimes rocks don’t have to be the feature, and can actually complement other features very nicely.

Take for example the Japanese garden below. It is evident the beautiful maple tree and surrounding moss balls are the feature in this design. However without the large jagged stones below the tree, this would otherwise be just ‘another’ part of the garden. The rocks (although not the first thing that draws the eye) perfectly complement this small part of the garden and act to support and elevate the overall design.


Rock Garden Ideas – Feature Walls

Many gardeners use rock gardens as part of the landscape and create feature walls as an effective way to segment the garden. This garden design is extremely practical as it creates a more natural looking landscape (not so many straight lines and flat walls). It also allows a feeling on continuity in the garden as the interspersed plants in the rock garden connect the different parts of the garden.

Here are a few rock garden ideas for feature walls.


Rock gardens can be a gardener’s best friend. They are low maintenance and look great – when done correctly. With the tips and fundamentals we have discussed in this article, you will be well on your way to creating a beautiful and majestic rock garden in your outdoor space.

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