Stuck between a rockery and a hard place!

Discussion in 'Garden Projects and DIY' started by Jennifer Bell, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. Jennifer Bell

    Jennifer Bell Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi everyone, Looking for ideas for this rockery area! It is part of a garden of a new build home! I tried planting in it shortly after house was built but nothing took to it (I didn’t really know what I was planting but they all died after a few weeks). After been neglected for around 6 years I’v decided to try again to do something with it. Iv pull all the huge weeds out and turned the soil. It’s a thick clay type soil and with a drainage test it took nearly half a day to drain water from a small hole I dug, there is still some pretty thick roots in there that I couldn’t pull out. With this is mind, my plan was to bury some large plant pots in between the large stones and cover the rest with a heavy duty garden fabric, then cover the fabric with little stones and mulch (which will likely slide off)! At the moment I have covered it completely with heavy duty fabric to stop weeds growing until I decide what to do! Any ideas would be appreciated! Thanks
     

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  2. Verdun

    Verdun Passionate gardener

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    I think I would build a wall there Jennifer. Then build some seating in front surrounded by planting of moisture loving plants like astilbes, rodgersias, cimicifugas, Astrantias etc. A couple of red stemmed dogwoods plus a couple of evergreen shrubs. Make a feature out of that slope:)
    A wall alongside the descending railings too....even a double wall to house planting:)
     
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    • Graham B

      Graham B Gardener

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      Your problem is that it isn't a rockery, it's a mud bank with a few stones dropped on it.

      If you want to make the most of the slope, put sleepers across at the same kind of spacing as the steps. Then you've got a lot of little terraces which can all be filled with flowers and small shrubs. Sleepers aren't too expensive.

      You could do the same thing with stone, of course, but that quantity of stone is expensive and needs much more serious footings under it. Sleepers just need a few posts driven into the ground in front of each one.
       
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      • Marley Farley

        Marley Farley Affable Admin! Staff Member

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        @Jennifer Bell Well both those ideas are excellent.. it depends how much you want to spend and a wall although lovely would be quite expensive.. The sleeper idea I would save you a fair bit of money and by making little tiers as he says you could have lots of beautiful plants there alpines and so many other low growing things it could be constant colours then if you plant careful to flowering times.. There are many perennials you can choose from so low maintenance
         
      • andrews

        andrews Super Gardener

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        As soon as I saw the first photo I thought that it needed a retaining wall. If it was me Id go with a double brick wall but it does all depend on budget.

        You could improve the drainage by digging in a couple of tonnes of grit but the other issue is that you will only see the planting face-on when youre at the bottom of the garden.

        Have you considered levelling the top area with a retaining wall from the bottom of the rockery ?

        Its a steep plot but you could use this to the gardens advantage. Water feature from the upper to lower level maybe ?
         
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        • Verdun

          Verdun Passionate gardener

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          Like the water feature idea Andrews. Funnily I did much the same thing for a friend of mine a few years back, viz., a waterfall. :)

          I have gone off sleepers....maybe just me but they seem to be used everywhere now. They are not easy to disguise either apart from areas where low cascading plants can be used. They are fast becoming the decking of a few years back:noidea:

          For my niece I made a Cornish wall to retain a top level and created a larger patio area by the house. Not quite the slope Jennifer has though.
           
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          • Graham B

            Graham B Gardener

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            Sleepers are practical though. I could never see the point in putting decking over a perfectly good bit of flat lawn.

            To be fair, if money wasn't an object then I would have suggested getting some nice stone and doing a dry stone wall rockery kind of thing. But that costs a packet. Just lobbing a few random stones at it is not the same thing.

            Staggering the sleepers like that should let the plants mostly cover them anyway. It looks like Jennifer has enough hard surfaces with the fences and slope, so that would soften it a bit.
             
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            • Selleri

              Selleri Super Gardener

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              If the area is so water retentive, a rockery would be fighting against the nature. Possible, but often hard work and it might not look natural.

              What do you use the garden for? Do you need lawns for kids to ride their trikes, for a trampoline, drying rack, a large table for entertaining...?

              I'd love to have a two- tiered pond system with running water and ferns, grasses and large stones on that slope. If pump system is not an option, a dry stream would work as well. Sorry for the rough sketch, but something like this:

              Jennifer ponds2.JPG

              Some (solar) lights and perhaps a (solar powered) little fountain in the upper pond to create atmosphere...

              Sloping gardens are brilliant, they are so much more interesting than square blobs of grass :)
               
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              • kindredspirit

                kindredspirit Gardening around a big Puddle. :)

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                I'd cover the whole sloping area with differently coloured Hebes. Interest all the year around. Don't grow too tall. Keep weeds completely suppressed. Leave the rocks there and the Hebes will hide them.
                 
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