Banner image

How To Build A Rockery Garden

Posted on 13th September 2022

A beautiful way to display smaller plants and add a stylish focus to your outdoor space, rockery gardens are simple to create with some planning and time.

Often a focal point in any garden, a rockery is made up of an arrangement of rocks and alpine plants. Rockery gardens can be created at any time of the year.

Autumn and winter are good seasons to start because generally less maintenance is required in your garden at this time of year. However the spring months are the optimum time to build a rockery because you will have the widest choice of plants available.

Here is the Stone & Surfaces Direct step by step guide to creating a rockery garden.

Why create a rockery garden?

There are many benefits of having a rockery garden, for both environmental and aesthetic reasons.

Firstly, a rockery allows you to extend the range of plants you can grow in the garden. Alpine species in particular thrive because a rockery provides the specialist environment they need.

Rockery gardens also add structure, diversity and a focal point to your garden, while looking amazing all year round. They are durable too, with the ability to withstand harsh environments and drastic weather conditions.

If you don’t enjoy garden maintenance, rockery gardens are low maintenance to help you avoid laborious tasks such as mowing the lawn and pruning.

Rockeries are also a great habitat for wildlife because butterflies can rest on large rocks on summer days and the cracks and crevices serve as a cosy home for smaller bugs.

Materials needed to create a rockery garden

There are a few things you will need to create a rockery garden, these include:

  1. Marker spray or string (to mark out the area)
  2. Spade
  3. Trowel
  4. Crowbar for moving rocks into place
  5. Weed control membrane
  6. Gravel and stones for ground cover and mulch
  7. Coarse rubble/broken bricks/shingle to form a base layer
  8. Different sized rocks, including large rocks for the centrepieces and smaller stones to create planting pockets
  9. Topsoil and compost
  10. Alpine plants

How to build a rockery

Now you have everything you need, it’s time to make a start building your rockery.

Choose the location

To build a rockery location, you need to choose the ideal location in your garden. The location should have the best light possible and be away from trees as well as any high walls or shrubs.

If you are building a rockery on a large scale, you will need strong equipment that has the ability to move the earth. However, for small to medium sized rockery gardens normal garden tools will do the job well.

You will be able to build your rockery on a level surface or on a slope. However, if building on a flat surface you will need to dig into the soil or create a mound.

Mark out the area

Mark out the area of your rockery with marker spray or string.

Lay a base

Ensure turf and weeds are removed from the area and then add a layer of coarse rubble, broken bricks, stone, or pea shingle about 15cm deep.

At this stage you will also need to lay a weed prevention membrane to allow water to drain away from the surface and prevent weeds and grass growing through. After, add a layer of gravel or small rocks to improve drainage.

Place your large rocks

It’s time to place your largest focal rocks. Use a crowbar to move stones into your desired permanent position and bed them in with topsoil. Carry on to fill the rest of the area with smaller garden rocks to support the large stones.

At Stone & Surfaces Direct we recommend positioning smaller rocks to create pocketed areas for your plants.

Plant and lay mulch

Now you are ready to plant your alpine plants and lay ground cover. Gravel works perfectly for the job as a layer of mulch. View our range of suitable gravel here.

With over 25 years of experience distributing natural stone paving, porcelain paving, aggregates, rockeries and interior solutions worldwide; Stone & Surfaces Direct are the people to help you achieve the perfect patio, garden, or home interior.

Talk to one of our experienced stone professionals about your specific needs today.

Subscribe to receive news and offers from Stone & Surfaces Direct via email