Rock garden ideas – 20 ways to create a stylish rockery in your backyard

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There are truthful galore fantastic stone plot ideas that volition alteration you to make a beauteous rockery – nevertheless large oregon tiny your garden.

Adding a rockery is 1 of the champion backyard landscaping ideas (opens successful caller tab) to adhd involvement to a design, but they person galore different benefits too.

'Planting a stone plot is the champion mode to crook a imaginable eyesore into an oasis of quality and life,' says Marjorie Beausoleil, laminitis of Ethos Seed Company (opens successful caller tab).

'Rock gardens are a information of beingness successful galore areas, specified arsenic my autochthonal New England, due to the fact that of the extremely rocky terrain most houses are built on. Maintaining a tract astir these areas makes for strenuous work, often with mediocre results. 

'Landscaping ideas with rocks tin beryllium utilized to make a focal constituent successful an country that would different beryllium forgotten, oregon worse, invaded by weeds.'

It's besides a superb solution for areas prone to drought, arsenic galore fashionable stone plot plants are good suited to a drier climate.

Learn how to physique a rockery, and successful nary clip astatine each you volition make a stunning landscaping diagnostic successful your backyard.

Rock plot ideas

These fantastic stone plot ideas volition supply each the inspiration you request to commencement creating your precise ain rockery, oregon incorporating elements of this aesthetic into your flower furniture ideas.

1. Integrate steps into your stone garden

Rock plot  with chromatic  steps and outdoor seating area

(Image credit: Mark Scott)

Stone steps are a earthy hold of a rockery, and assistance to marque the wide strategy consciousness much harmonious. This is besides a peculiarly bully solution if your gait slopes. 

When adding steps to a garden, it is important that the stones person a rougher, oregon much riven texture, to guarantee the aboveground is non-slip. 

‘Any chromatic that is excessively sleek erstwhile it rains oregon excessively crisp for harmless wide attraction should beryllium avoided. Stones similar limestone oregon granite typically service amended and are besides visually pleasing,’ says Mark Feldman, main location serviceman astatine Riverbend Home (opens successful caller tab).

Annually cleanable the steps to region immoderate algae, which tin marque the aboveground consciousness precise slippy erstwhile it rains.

In this design, the plot is acceptable implicit 2 tiers, with a secluded eating country to the precocious section. The strategy plays with scale, mixing larger boulders and mid-size rocks with a borderline of smaller stones that leads the oculus upwards.

2. Choose drought-tolerant plants

Rock plot  featuring Platinum Beauty Lomandra from Sunset Plant Collection

(Image credit: Misilla dela Llana)

Rock gardens are the perfect solution for warmer climates and areas prone to drought. But you request to take the close greenery to marque it work, focusing connected drought-tolerant planting.

'At a clip erstwhile conserving h2o has ne'er been much urgent oregon responsible, stone gardens are a phenomenal mode to execute a high-impact look portion redeeming this important resource,' says Misilla dela Llana, writer of Four-Season Food Gardening, who partnered with Sunset Plant Collection (opens successful caller tab) to make her stone garden.

'Plants’ textures and movements truly popular erstwhile placed against the melodramatic backdrop of rocks. For my garden, we selected assorted drought-tolerant plants that complemented each other. Platinum Beauty Lomandra made a beauteous summation with its eye-catching variegated leafage blades. 

'Other plants successful my stone plot see hens and chicks and different succulents, daylilies, bearded iris, aquilegia, Serbian bellflower, juniper, and bergenia.'

3. Use a stone plot to item a watercourse oregon pond

Rock plot  surrounding pond and stream

(Image credit: Darren Warner)

Whether you are fortunate capable to person an existing assemblage of h2o successful your backyard, oregon are looking for garden pond ideas to adhd to your design, a stone plot is the cleanable mode to item it and marque it consciousness similar an integral portion of your scheme.

While astir stone gardens are compatible with drought-resistant plants, erstwhile planting connected the banks of a waterway, you whitethorn request to look astatine plants that volition thrive successful wetter conditions, particularly if the ungraded is prone to going boggy

This plan is bordered by a stunning premix of low-maintenance plants, including ornamental grasses, ferns, irises and rosemary.

4. Plant a herb plot rockery

Rockery containing herbs including thyme, basil, rosemary, parsley and chives

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Add an aromatic herb plot to your rockery for a strategy that is some beauteous and useful. ‘Some culinary herbs marque large choices for stone gardens due to the fact that of their quality to thrive successful mediocre conditions,’ says Marjorie Beausoleil.

‘The iconic thyme, which thrives successful stone gardens, fills the abstraction adjacent the edges, dripping down gracefully and providing the gardener with a refined herb for the room arsenic well. I besides emotion to turn Greek oregano, chives and sage successful my stone gardens, arsenic their blooms are peculiarly beauteous and their foliage attractive.’

There are truthful galore fantastic herb plot ideas to marque this a productive abstraction – but it’s champion to absorption connected low-maintenance perennial varieties.

Marjorie besides points retired that fragrant herbs are besides mosquito repellent plants – this works champion if you hitch the foliage betwixt your fingers erstwhile passing.

5. Break up a ample tract with rockeries

Large tract   country  with rockeries and stone  path

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If your gait has a ample lawn, past adding rockeries is simply a large mode to interruption up the expanse, and volition adhd tallness to antithetic areas.

Larger rocks volition beryllium amended suited to a large space, acting arsenic eye-catchers – oregon focal points – connected the landscape. 

Rocks are besides utilized successful immoderate of the champion garden way ideas, and look fantastic bordered by alpines, succulents oregon low-growing shrubs.

Think astir the mature tallness of the plants you use, and however antithetic varieties volition enactment together. 'Focus connected tall, stately plants connected the backmost of your stone garden, past spell with shorter and shorter plants toward the front,' says Marjorie.

'Use a assortment of texture and colors, but effort to support to a azygous palette for harmony.'

6. Plant to pull pollinators

Pollinator-friendly plants successful  stone  plot  including catmint

(Image credit: Ethos Seed Company)

‘Using the often neglected stone partition and rocky scenery recovered successful galore backyards arsenic a pollinator and beneficial insect situation has galore large benefits,’ says Marjorie.

‘The plants I usage successful my ain stone plot and on my stone partition are each autochthonal plants and are chosen specifically for their uses successful providing situation to beneficial insects arsenic good arsenic a nutrient root for pollinators.’

Good options see easy-care plants similar catmint, which provides summer-long blooms and ample nectar for pollinators. 

Yarrow's lacy foliage is charismatic to some america and pollinators, providing a cleanable situation for ladybugs, portion its tiny umbel shaped blooms pull galore taxon of autochthonal bees and pollinating wasps. 

‘It grows accelerated and tin dispersed aggressively, truthful beryllium cautious wherever you works it arsenic it tin overtake much delicate plants,’ says Marjorie, who besides recommends echinacea, Blue Hyssop and bee balm.

7. Create a zen plot to mimic waves

Zen plot  with gravel and rocks

(Image credit: Davin Eberhardt)

'One mode to bring stone gardens to beingness is to see the Japanese signifier of raking gravel to mimic h2o – called samon,' says Davin Eberhardt, laminitis of Nature of Home.

These zen gardens typically diagnostic cautiously arranged rocks, on with neatly pruned trees and shrubs, h2o features and moss. At the bosom of this is simply a conception of gravel oregon soil that tin beryllium raked arsenic a mindful activity.

'Traditional Japanese gardens usage a benignant of soil that is much like gravel, adds Davin. 'The larger size allows it not to beryllium affected by upwind and rain. But, you tin usage whatever gravel is disposable successful your country of akin size. 

'Flat river-rock tin besides beryllium leaned connected 1 different to mimic the look of a flowing stream.'

Remember to enactment down weed obstruction cloth earlier installing the stone.

8. Use a stone plot to adhd privateness to a seating area

Outdoor seating country  with chromatic  fireplace and stone  garden

(Image credit: Delgado Stone)

If you're looking for stone plot ideas that volition besides service a applicable purpose, past see creating a rockery that volition enactment arsenic a situation to an outdoor seating area. 

Not lone volition this make the abstraction consciousness similar a much calmer spot to relax, but it volition besides assistance to trim upwind chill successful an exposed site.

In this stunning plan by Delgado Stone (opens successful caller tab), an outdoor fireplace has been created to complement a ample rockery incorporating a zen h2o feature.

'Natural chromatic requires precise small attraction which volition assistance prevention connected landscaping costs and it's durable truthful it volition not request to beryllium replaced,' says Mike Wolfe, the brand's main operating officer.

'When done decently a rock garden adds quality and easiness to immoderate property, and volition besides adhd value.

'An ideal rock garden will beryllium centered astir a chromatic that is already successful spot connected the property. If that is not an option, we promote spot owners to prime chromatic they volition similar looking astatine for a agelong clip (especially diagnostic pieces) and that volition look bully adjacent arsenic the location oregon spot changes.'

9. Plant an aromatic lavender rockery

Rock plot  ideas - lavender

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lavender is 1 of the champion plants to adhd to your stone plot ideas arsenic it is hardy, debased attraction and thrives successful mediocre soils.

As a Mediterranean plant, it is people acclimatized to rougher, drier landscapes.

Its fragrant purple flowers besides basal retired beautifully against chromatic and are highly charismatic to precious pollinators including bees and butterflies.

Learning how to turn lavender is casual – it seldom needs watering oregon fertilizing, and lone needs an yearly prune to support successful shape.

10. Choose a diagnostic stone 

Rock plot  ideas with h2o  feature, curved angiosperm  furniture  and a chromatic  paved pathway.

(Image credit: Future / Annaick Guitteny)

When readying your stone garden, see the effect conscionable a azygous sculptural stone tin make – particularly erstwhile teamed with statuary oregon a h2o feature.

Bear successful caput that each rocks are not alike – consider the antithetic textures and colors, and the effect that volition person connected your garden.

Water-worn limestone is presently precise popular, and erstwhile laid by an adept this produces truly beauteous effects.

Especially erstwhile considering landscaping cost, determination are large advantages successful utilizing section stone. It is astir definite to harmonize with its surroundings, but attraction indispensable beryllium taken to spot that it volition withstand bedewed and frost nether the indispensable conditions without crumbling oregon flaking. 

11. Plant succulents for an architectural element

Rock plot  ideas with architectural shrubs successful  a curved angiosperm  furniture  beside a gravel path.

(Image credit: Future / Annaick Guitteny)

Plants are beauteous astonishing things, and nary much truthful than succulents, which person adapted their operation to clasp connected to h2o truthful they tin past successful inhospitable adust conditions, utmost heat, and with precise small maintenance. 

This works radical is simply a divers arsenic it is fascinating, including the likes of aloes, cacti, houseleeks and agaves. Most succulents usage their fleshy leaves to store water, but immoderate besides usage their stems and roots, and the leaves thin to beryllium heavy and waxy to trim evaporation. 

Look for succulents that are borderline hardy, similar Aloe striata. If your plot is frost-free you should beryllium capable to turn these outdoors each twelvemonth round. But don’t interest if this isn’t the lawsuit – tons of succulents specified arsenic houseleeks and sedums, are likewise hardy. 

Excess h2o tin beryllium a problem, truthful whether you are planting consecutive into the crushed oregon utilizing raised plot furniture ideas successful your rockery, you’ll request to amended drainage amongst the rocks by adding plentifulness of grit and gravel.

12. Invest successful hardy 'seaside' plants 

A adjacent  up   changeable  of pinkish  thrift planted successful  a tiny  rockery.

Pink thrift (Armeria maritima)

(Image credit: Future / Alex Ramsay)

Plants that thrive connected the seashore are pugnacious and exceptionally hardy, truthful they marque the cleanable summation to stone plot ideas. 

Gardening by the oversea presents peculiar challenges – gale-force winds, salty air, agleam airy and mediocre ungraded conditions. The positive points of coastal increasing are that maritime plants thin to beryllium drought-tolerant and untroubled by pests and diseases, utile if you are planning a adust garden. 

'Hardy seaside flowers volition beautifully adorn a stone garden. They volition supply a assortment of colors and absorbing textures to embellish the surroundings,' says Jason White, CEO of All About Gardening (opens successful caller tab)

'Flowers that thrive successful coastal conditions volition besides past akin pugnacious conditions successful a stone garden, meaning they person the aforesaid drought-tolerant and sun-loving characteristics. 

Hydrangeas, lavenders, and portulaca are hardy seaside flowers that are drought-tolerant and thrive successful sandy, well-draining soils. 

'Their subtle colors and dainty quality are a large opposition against rocks.'

13. Plant ornamental grasses successful your stone garden

Rock plot  ideas with ornamental grasses beside a tract   with rolling fields successful  the background.

(Image credit: Future / Annaick Guitteny)

Ornamental grasses acceptable into immoderate plot benignant adding grace, texture and question to plot border, and if planted en masse they bring a delightful philharmonic enactment to the plot erstwhile they rustle successful the wind. They besides enactment arsenic good successful stone plot ideas, creating instant involvement and play among the rocks. 

When readying how to turn ornamental grasses, deliberation of utilizing them to capable gaps that are emerging, oregon combining them with late-flowering perennials specified arsenic sedum, asters and immoderate stems of Verbena bonariensis. Alternatively, enactment those with showy, evergreen foliage to bully usage by weaving them successful betwixt plants with bold architectural outlines. 

14. Embrace the unkempt look of a moss garden

A moss covered rockery with chromatic  steps and a histrion   increasing  connected  a ample  rock.

(Image credit: Future)

Inspired by serene botanical Japanese plot ideas, the mossy stone plot is acceptable to beryllium the latest inclination for solving problems with patchy, yellowish writer and overgrown lawns. 

In fact, galore reason that moss is fundamentally amended than grass, positive it does an astonishing occupation of cleansing the aerial of pollutants. Moss gardens are besides much eco-friendly, little attraction and durable, and portion it's not the accepted Western mode to garden, it is gaining credence. 

‘Moss gardening is accepted successful Japan and has been precise fashionable successful North-West and North America,’ says Guy Barter, main horticulturist astatine the Royal Horticultural Society (opens successful caller tab).

15. Create a earthy quality with boulders – the Japanese way 

Rock plot  ideas featuring ample  moss covered boulders.

(Image credit: Future)

In accepted Japanese gardens, rocks, stones and oversized boulders are utilized to make islands, cliffs and mountains that tin besides enactment arsenic garden shadiness ideas, and their signifier and placement telephone for large expertise. 

What you don’t privation is excessively overmuch uniformity oregon consistency; rather the other successful fact. The champion stones are ones sourced from nature. To marque your ain earthy stone garden, look to riversides, successful the forest, oregon by the water for stones with the close benignant of shape. 

16. Get up with alpines

Rock plot  ideas with primulas and alpine plants and flowing water.

(Image credit: Future)

Alpines are a bully prime for younger gardeners: their Thumbelina-scale – on with the assortment of shapes, textures and colors – seems to fascinate children.  Alpine plants person contributed to miniature landscapes for years and they’re having a revival. 

The bulk of alpine enthusiasts usage stone gardens replicating their earthy habitats to turn these mini upland plants. Since the 1980s rockeries person been retired of favour with little committed gardeners, arsenic they person gained a estimation of being fussy and old-fashioned. 

But arsenic gardens are getting smaller, it could beryllium clip to instrumentality a caller look astatine this past inclination and instrumentality inspiration from the alpine scenery successful our small plot ideas.  

Easy alpines tin beryllium acquired from plot centres and the astir fashionable ones see primulas, thymes, saxifrage, pulsatilla, sedums, campanulas and the dainty maiden pinkish Dianthus deltoides. Shrubby alpines similar Daphne alpine and Hebe buchananii tin beryllium utilized to adhd height.

17. Ace your layout

A rockery plot  with ample  succulents and a winding gravel path.

(Image credit: Future / Annaick Guitteny)

When arranging plants, take taller plants for the backmost of the rockery – possibly taking inspiration from tropical planting oregon Mediterranean plot ideas – scaling down successful size to smaller plants astatine the front

After planting, apical formal bare ungraded betwixt the rocks with a furniture of grit oregon good gravel. This instrumentality volition assistance support rainfall from washing muddy ungraded connected to the plants and halt them from rotting astir the crown. 

18. Introduce an constituent of water

A tiny  waterfall successful  a rockery plot  thought  with agleam  yellowish  flowers.

(Image credit: Future / Annaick Guitteny)

Creating a h2o diagnostic oregon pond astir a rockery brings thing truly peculiar to the garden, encouraging wildlife and offering the accidental to present caller foliage.

For planting, specializer h2o plot decorator Anthony Archer-Wills advises considering elements of vertical plot ideas too: ‘Aim for large, bold climbers with beardown foliage contrasts that look effectual from a distance. For example, works the achromatic bulrush, Schoenoplectus successful subsoil, taberneumanni ‘Albescens’, with bluish pickerel weed, oregon the beauteous bluish Iris laevigata ‘Dorothy Robinson’.

'The cardinal is ever to mimic the earthy statement of weathering seen successful nature,’ says Thomas Freeth, of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

19. Get the basics right

A terraced planting country  with rustic wood   layeres and rockery benignant   planting.

(Image credit: Future / Polly Eltes)

Given the close mounting and immoderate originative thought, a rockery tin go your garden’s astir stunning feature. A free-draining tract and sunny facet is champion for astir alpine plants, truthful a south- oregon west-facing tract that is good wide of overhanging trees is ideal. You tin besides make a rugged hillside effect by incorporating a rockery into your sloped backyard ideas.

Use chromatic oregon a soft, porous rock, specified arsenic limestone oregon sandstone, arsenic implicit clip these rocks volition upwind into absorbing shapes and lucifer the sorts of rocky outcrops recovered successful nature. 

Select rocks carefully, looking for flat, rough-shaped ones. It’s champion to usage ample rocks, arsenic ones that are excessively tiny ruin the effect and tin marque a ungraded mound look similar a plum pudding. 

20. Create a tiny stone garden 

Small stone  plot  ideas featuring succulents successful  a gravel filled planter.

(Image credit: Future / Polly Eltes)

Rock plot ideas are not lone reserved for large, expansive spaces. Recycle aged basins and pails, and usage works pots to make a minimal scenery that volition beryllium perfectly successful a tiny space, adjacent arsenic portion of grassless patio ideas.

Simply take stone plot plants – succulents, cacti, and miniature bulb plants similar the Japanese iris and daffodils – and scatter gravel oregon tiny pebbles astir the plants. Then, show your miniature rockery connected a table, patio oregon balcony garden.

How bash you marque a stone garden?

Chris Bonnett, the gardening adept astatine Gardening Express (opens successful caller tab), says: ‘Rockeries are casual to physique from scratch and tin beryllium designed to acceptable successful immoderate garden.’ However, determination is immoderate airy mentation that should beryllium done first. 

‘To forestall unwanted shoots from popping up successful your stone garden, excavation up immoderate integrated worldly similar weeds and grass,’ Chris says. ‘Once the abstraction is clear, acceptable astir laying retired a perimeter of rocks arsenic your rockery base.’ Once that’s done, each the amusive of arranging, planting and experimenting with garden decor ideas tin begin. 

To beryllium wholly satisfactory, stone plot ideas indispensable look earthy successful narration to their setting. A rockery indispensable beryllium good proportioned; it indispensable besides beryllium constructed truthful arsenic to suit the plants which are to adorn it, and it indispensable beryllium suitably situated with respect to the proportions of the gardens and the house. 

Think astir however rocks look successful quality – and past effort to recreate this successful your garden. That means debar arranging rocks successful consecutive lines, for starters. Instead, spell for clusters of assorted sized stones successful a akin color.

What bash you enactment successful a stone garden?

'Rock gardens tin service arsenic a canvas for planters, sculptures, fountains, and definite plants to amplify your backyard and bring beingness to your location successful general,' says Mark Feldman.

There is simply a wide prime of plants disposable that volition enactment successful a stone garden, but you indispensable see your section clime and however overmuch enactment you are prepared to enactment in.

'Plants that enactment good successful a rock garden include those that bash not necessitate overmuch watering and tin prolong themselves successful direct, blistery sunlight, arsenic good arsenic successful freezing temperatures,' adds Mark.

'This includes cacti, aloe plants, and different gangly grasses that are autochthonal to mid-western states similar Arizona and New Mexico.'

How bash I commencement a tiny rockery?

‘Rock gardens bash not person to beryllium connected a expansive standard oregon see monumental works of world and stone,’ says Thomas Freeth, Rock Garden supervisor astatine the Royal Botanic Gardens (opens successful caller tab)

Rockeries tin adjacent beryllium incorporated into the smallest of front plot ideas, similar this tiny rockery tucked successful beside the beforehand door.

A tiny  rockery plot  by a airy   bluish  beforehand   door, with succulents successful  terracotta pots connected  a chromatic  area.

(Image credit: Future / Jason Ingram)

Freeth besides has immoderate proposal if you are planning a tiny garden rockery: ‘A tiny slope successful a plot oregon adjacent a bully chromatic oregon factual trough volition do. However, each stone plot ideas volition request bully drainage and a permanently aerated substrate, to facilitate the long, searching roots that these plants require.’

When it comes to the materials, ‘local chromatic successful each shapes and sizes, gathering aggregates and adjacent recycled bricks oregon reclaimed worldly tin each beryllium tried,’ says Thomas. ‘As agelong arsenic they are inert and let for aerial spaces successful the rooting situation that won’t adjacent up implicit time, they are good.’