How to Build a Rockery: Step by Step Guide

Adding rocks around Pulsatilla pasque in a rock garden

Constructing a rockery – or rock backyard, as they’re additionally referred to – can provide a flat backyard construction, could make extra of a sloping yard, and might create a house for dry or Mediterranean-style gardens.

Rockeries are historically reserved for Alpine crops in Europe, however there actually are not any guidelines – your rockery can characteristic all the pieces from conventional planting schemes to desert-loving, drought-tolerant succulents and cacti. The rock backyard concepts – and the planting specificallythat you simply select merely want to fit your zone’s local weather, and replicate the pure supplies and stone discovered regionally.

You possibly can construct a rockery your self, and it is particularly simple if you have already got a sloped yard. Nonetheless, the slope, mound or hillock may be replicated with the supply of additional soil and rocks. Right here, we present you the fundamentals of constructing a rockery, step-by-step.


  • Rubble – unused constructing rubble, similar to outdated or broken bricks will do.
  • Panorama cloth to cowl the rubble.
  • Topsoil.
  • Rocks of various sizes, from pea gravel to small, medium and large-sized rocks. You will want greater than you assume to create an efficient show. Select stone that displays your native environment for essentially the most pure look.
  • Compost.
  • Rockery crops.


A rockery actually can go anyplace in a yard, however you do want to contemplate whether or not the situations – shade, a south-facing spot, good or poor drainage, as an illustrationgo well with the planting that you’ve chosen for it. Planting that fits rock gardens contains conventional Alpine crops, which like plenty of mild, whereas desert crops, which additionally go well with that dry backyard method, like good drainage, too.

Contemplate the environment of the location of your rockery, too – it must look as pure as doable to be convincing, although it can look extra established over time.


With the placement of the rockery determined, you possibly can start to work on its form and measurement. If you need it to look pure, you must work to an natural, irregular form, although rockeries may be extra formal, mimicking a number of the design components of Japanese gardens.

A rockery is ideal for a whole entrance yard – it is a low-maintenance method to backyard and can at all times look neat with minimal work. For yard landscaping, the bottom line is to make sure your rockery seems like a pure a part of the backyard, and typically one of the simplest ways to do that is to run a low wall round it in an area stone the place it borders a garden, for instance.

Equally, gravel, stones and rocks that fit your yard‘s native environment will make your rockery look as built-in as doable, as will planting that is suited to the native local weather.

Your rockery design can be very natural, however as you go, you have to to keep in mind the place crops will go so that you could depart area for planting pockets.


Step one to constructing a rockery is to clear all weeds from the location. That performed, you possibly can start to construct your rockery construction with the primary layer of rubble. There do must be some gaps between the rocks to make sure the rockery has good drainage, in any other case it can grow to be a hardened mound. That mentioned, these gaps must be not more than a finger’s width or the construction will not be sound.

As soon as you’re pleased with the essential form and measurement of the rockery’s basis, cowl it completely with panorama clothto stop weeds from rising in future – weighing the material with small stones on the fringe of the rockery till you pile on the primary layer of rocks.


Lay the most important rocks first in order that they create a sloped, pure look. Make sure the instructions they face are random and that there is no such thing as a sample your eye can set up as ‘common‘.

Subsequent, add barely smaller rocks, utilizing them to wedge the bigger rocks right into a secure place. Proceed so as to add rocks of assorted sizes till you’re prepared so as to add gravel, leaving area for planting pockets.

Guarantee the sides of the landscaping cloth is disguised by rocks, gravel or a retaining wall.


As soon as the big, medium-sized and smaller rocks are in place, add a 4-5in layer of topsoil to the rockery to create planting pockets. The soil might must be deeper in locations to assist mattress in and stabilize a number of the rocks, too.


With nearly all of the rocks and planting pockets in place on the rockery, you begin to place your crops in pots, stepping again usually to examine you’re pleased with the association, plant heights and juxtapositions.

As soon as you’re joyful, loosen the planting pockets just a little, half-filling them with appropriate compost. If you’re placing in crops that like free-draining situations, it’s possible you’ll like so as to add horticultural grit to the combo, too.

Agency the crops down into the compost, fill round them, water and permit them to determine. Conceal the soil beneath the crops foliage or with a handful or two of gravel or small rocks.


The most effective time to construct a rockery is January/February, when the climate has been moist however the soil is not frozen strong. You possibly can, nonetheless, construct a rockery at any time of yr, however it would be best to be certain that the soil is simple to dig into and transfer about.


A rockery does want soil – however the quantity you want and the soil combine you select will actually rely on the situations the crops you’re placing in desire. For instance, conventional rockery crops like well-draining soil, so you will see that that mixing compost with grit and sand will create splendid situations. Since, nonetheless, you’re creating particular person planting pockets inside a rockery, although, moderately than tackling a whole border, you possibly can create disparate soil situations that every separate plant thrives in.