Ideas for this area - rockery?

Discussion in 'Garden Projects and DIY' started by Dave_79, May 17, 2019.

  1. Dave_79

    Dave_79 Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi all. New garden, first Spring in new house. So, most of the plant activity is down the right hand side of our garden. Apart from a small paved / dining type space where the house ends, the bulk of the left side is just grass which goes right up to the concrete fence bases. Then further up there is a random shrub (can anyone tell me what it is from the pic?) and then this. . .

    Rockery 1 (paint).jpg

    Rockery 2 (paint).jpg

    8 x 3.5 feet of nothing, surrounded by bricks. My first thought was to stick a couple of perennials in, then fill up the space with bedding plants. But as I'm also about to do a lot more bedding type container stuff in the courtyard area by the back door, I would quite like to do something completely different in this area. I was thinking of perhaps a rockery, something I've never done before. It seems a nice size for a variety of stones, colourful alpine plants, etc. Either at ground level or perhaps in a stone trough.

    Also for the last few years in our old garden we had borders front and back, and at times I got fed up of being on my hands and knees pulling weeds out all the time. I understand that alpines like a lot of stone round their bases, so would I be right in thinking that once set up, a rockery would require a lot less maintenance than say just filling in the border as it is? Before I start on anything, I'll be weeding the area, getting the moss off the flagstones / bricks and painting the fence, beyond that its a clean slate and I'd really like to do something nice here! Thoughts?
     
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      Last edited: May 17, 2019
    • longk

      longk Total Gardener

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      How much sun will it get?
      Also, by their very nature weeds tend to thrive in most conditions. On the plus side, a raised rockery will mean that you do not need to get on your hands and knees to weed them out.
       
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      • Doghouse Riley

        Doghouse Riley Head Gardener

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        I like rockeries, but it's surprising how many rocks you need to make a decent one.

        Just for information.

        I built this thirty-odd years ago. There's about two tons of rocks in this.

        It's best to lay them in layers like strata, it avoids the "dogs' cemetery look."
        You know you've got it right when the plants almost hide the rocks.


        P1020722.JPG
         
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        • BellaBlue

          BellaBlue Gardener

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          45E34E48-5B2A-43A5-9D10-111AB2F97C9E.jpeg In that area I think something like this would be far nicer and easier on the knees...
           
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          • Verdun

            Verdun Passionate gardener

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            Hi Dave-79:)
            Not sure about a rockery there.
            A good rockery is a fine thing but it means getting the rocks right, etc., and most rockeries I see are simply unattractive, weed infested things:noidea:
            If you get plenty of sun there I would plant lavendar ....fill it with lavendar. Nothing smells quite like lavendar and when it flowers in summer it looks wonderful:)
            Or plant a choisya.....a very attractive evergreen shrub with aromatic foliage and fantastic orange scented flowers in summer. Again, for sunny site.
            Can you say if the ground is well drained and if the site is sunny?
             
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            • Dave_79

              Dave_79 Apprentice Gardener

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              Thanks. I like the look of that. Will most likely look out for something like this.

              To be honest I’ve just been doing general tidying up, fence painting, trips to the tip with tree prunings, broken pots, old fences, etc so far. So I’ve barely even noticed where the sun is yet, as regards that area. Will try to take more notice in the coming days!
               
            • Doghouse Riley

              Doghouse Riley Head Gardener

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              What I had to do with mine was to build it up at the back as there's a post and panel fence to the left. I had to leave a gap of about nine inches between the rocks and the fence so it wouldn't eventually be pushed over. What you see is about as much sun as it gets. But this phlox does very well, in this year's photo.

              This was it last year when we still had the koi pool. It's supporting a "dwarf" conifer planted in 1986, that grew to over 20ft. I had it taken down to less than five feet this year.23.JPG
               
            • Dave_79

              Dave_79 Apprentice Gardener

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              Quick update. A bit of elbow grease and the area has tidied up nicely. Very interested in the thought of some kind of raised trough. Stone, pine, or faux lead, just seeing whats out there. . . Tempted to stick some of the black anti-weed cloth down (seems to work in other areas of the garden), put some nice stone down and then a trough in the middle.

              Do you just fill an alpine trough with half compost and half horticultural grit, leaving a layer of grit at the top around the plants? Any tips for starting off with alpines? Already seen plenty of nice colourful ones in a local garden centre once I get set up. Would like to get off to as good a start as possible. Thanks

              Rockery 3 (paint).jpg

              Rockery 4 (paint).jpg
               
            • noisette47

              noisette47 Total Gardener

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              Perhaps a bit obvious, but the water looks to be standing on that area, so make sure that your trough has good drainage holes and is raised up off the ground :) Compost-wise, a 50/50 mix of John Innes No.3 and horticultural grit should be ideal.
               
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              • Dave_79

                Dave_79 Apprentice Gardener

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                Thanks. I'd literally just finished blasting the dirt off the rocks. Well, blasting it off them, onto the fence, then back off the fence onto the ground! The water soon disappeared. Just read an article that recommended John Innes No.2. Does it matter that much?
                 
              • noisette47

                noisette47 Total Gardener

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                I know what you mean about pressure-washing :biggrin: I think the only difference between JI2 and JI3 is the proportion of fertiliser, so maybe JI2 is more suitable for alpines :)
                 
              • Dave_79

                Dave_79 Apprentice Gardener

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                Not even pressure washer, just a hose on full blast! Thanks for the compost update
                 
              • noisette47

                noisette47 Total Gardener

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                No problem..looking forward to seeing pics when it's done :)
                 
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