If you’ve got a spacious garden but fancy adding a bit of luxury and style to the place, then a garden rockery might be just the thing you need. Traditionally these elaborate and ornate rockeries were reserved for estate gardens and large country houses, but more and more home-owners across the UK are starting to see the benefits of having their own rockery designed and laid out in their own back yard; not only does it provide an attractive focal point to the area, but it can also encourage local wildlife to thrive and even add value to your property. So what sorts of things are involved in setting up a new garden rockery? And where do you start?
Planning your Garden Rockery
Well, before you start purchasing materials and plants and setting up the layout of your new rockery, you need to make sure you have everything planned out to the last detail – after all, diving in head-first will only leave you with a messy, sprawling rockery that might remain half-finished for months on end. Here are some of the most important things you should be asking yourself before getting started on any of the practical work:
- Firstly, how much room do you have for your garden rockery? Consider how much space you want left in the garden for other activities, and think about the corner or spot that would be best suited to this kind of outdoor feature. Do you also have to consider the gradient or type of soil in your garden? Will that affect the size or stability of your rockery?
- Are you looking for a particular style for your rockery? From ornamental to prehistoric, there are a number of great themes to choose from if you do want to add a bit of cohesion to the feature. Check out various magazines and websites for inspiration, or see if you can visit friends and relatives homes that have a similar garden feature installed on their property.
- Do you want a pond or water feature? This will cost a fair bit more to install, but it often provides a great focal point around which you can decorate and adorn the rest of the rockery. Plus you can install a tranquil waterfall effect, or even purchase some pond-fish to encourage local wildlife directly on your door-step.
- Are you going to lay an adjacent path or patio? Again this will cost a bit extra, but reaching a rockery by a decorative or ornate path often adds to the overall aura of the design – plus it means by avoiding soggy grass it can be admired all year round, at any time of the day.
- What about ornaments? Gnomes might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are a range of other stone or plastic ornaments to choose from – fairies, angels or even animals – whatever suits your personal tastes. Statues of animals have even been known to prevent foxes and other pests from entering your back-garden, so might work as a good deterrent to boot!
- What kind of flowers and shrubs are best suited to garden rockeries? Really you should be looking for slow-growing, hard-wearing plants such
as heathers, alpines and lavenders. Sedum and aubretia are two kinds of plant that grow particularly well around the stones and sediment of a rockery; plus they often emerge with colourful flowers that can still brighten up the overall design. If you want to grow something edible, herbs such as sage and thyme also grow excellently in the typically rough-soil that’s littered around a rockery.
- Will you need to hire an architect or landscape designer? This would cost a significant sum of money, but a landscape designer who has specialised in this kind of work before would be able to streamline your ideas and come up with a final rockery that suits both your budget and original vision – plus architects can help organise labour and speed up the installation of your rockery by drawing up all the necessary blueprints in a matter of days.
- Finally, what’s your budget like? Although a garden rockery is often a great investment, you need to be sure that you can afford everything you envision before you start tearing up the garden and/or purchasing new materials! By planning well in advance of the installation you’ll have to time to save and be sure of everything you want and need – leaving no room for hidden payments or unwelcome surprises later on!