Creating a rock garden is an effective way to add a natural-looking feature to your landscaping. Rock gardens can look quite wild, breaking up the regularity of an ordered landscape, making a visually appealing addition.
Despite the potential for a natural look, however, you can sometimes find that rock gardens still look planned and ordered, despite your best efforts. Before you start building your new rock garden, follow these tips for getting the most natural look you can.
Vary the size of the rocks
When you buy landscaping rocks, you might find yourself with a selection that is very similar in size, unless you choose them carefully. This makes the end result look more planned and artificial than you'd like.
Choose rocks that vary in size, and perhaps two or three different types as well. Avoid getting too many different types and colours, however, as this will look fake and detract from the natural look you're going for.
Plan your placement
It sounds like a contradiction, but the best way to make your rock placement look natural and unplanned is to take the time to plan it carefully. When you place them without planning, it's easy to accidentally make the spacing and arrangement too regular without realising.
You can either plan your rock arrangement by having a practice run before setting them into the ground, or by making a quick sketch on paper.
Fill the gaps with the right plants
Growing plants in the gaps between rocks helps create a natural effect and make the rock garden look better. It's important to choose the right plants, however.
You'll want to avoid anything too big, unusual or flashy. Instead, go for native wildflowers and other more simple plants. If you can, look for mature specimens or fast-growing varieties that will cover the gaps fast.
Artificially age the rocks
Rock will naturally age over time, growing moss and lichen and generally looking less bright and shiny than clean, new landscaping rocks. If you're impatient, though, you can speed things up a little.
Covering the rocks in yoghurt or soaking them in beer encourages the growth of lichen while using an acidic substance like vinegar makes rocks take on a weathered look more quickly. You can also transplant moss if you gather some and stick it to rocks with a little bit of soil. It should settle in and grow on the surface, making the rocks instantly look more natural.