How to use rocks and stones in landscaping the garden
The use of nature to create a landscape is a pretty natural progression, and little by little people are learning that sometimes the elements that nature offers can enhance the look of their garden to such an extent as to make the difference between a characterless area and a pleasurable place of peace and tranquility. Rocks add an architectural quality to a garden landscape and can be chosen for size, color, or texture, to give a great individual look to the garden that others will admire, and which also highlight your plants in a manner which is original.
Wonderful water features can be made by the use of rocks and stones, coupled with the installation of a water pump. The rocks and stones make the water feature look more natural and can also help the sound quality of the water as it falls. Larger rocks may encourage a slow flow of water that reflects the light and is eye catching, whereas smaller rocks can be used to line the liner that forms the base of a water feature, throwing light and reflected color as the sun hits the water.
With water features, stones help tremendously to hide the workings of the pump and to create a natural looking landscape like a cascade or waterfall, and add a wealth of natural landscape to an area that may otherwise have been a dull area of the garden.
When the garden has a natural slope to it, steps can be formed that take the visitor from one area up to another, and a rockery a great way of filling that space with the most slope. Here, depending upon the kind of soil, there are many alpine plants that thrive on a smaller rockery, whereas larger plants can be bedded into a large rockery area, using large boulders for hard landscaping to create the effect of depth. Planning of the rockery should take into account the height of plants at maturity, putting those higher plants to the back of the rockery so that they will not obscure others, and standing up stones look particularly good as a focal point within the rockery itself.
One of the clever ways of weed prevention in newly formed raised beds in the garden is to lay a plastic sheet over the soil before planting. These are rather ugly and if you have the resources, stones can be used to cover the whole plastic area as a means of prevention of weeds between plants but also to give a great look. Here, the rounded type stones such as those found on the coastline can be bought by the sack load from garden centers, although it may be worth asking a wholesaler if the landscaping job is huge.
Pathways use stones in many ways. Here, the path may be cemented and stones set into the cement to give a cobble effect, or used as a path edging to break up areas of grass from the pathway itself. The different kinds of stone can be used to create an effect of contrast, and even slate has its uses, since it can be laid in cement in a kind of herringbone pattern for the path itself, lines by a row of bricks to keep that neat edge between the lawn areas and the path itself. For another possibility of using stone for pathways, small cut stone like a gravel can be used as the whole substance of the path, though this will not prevent weeds, and a weed killer should be used to maintain the path in good order.
Patios and features
Patios are super in natural stone products, and here you can use the edges of the patio as a feature by adding stones of different sizes intermingled with grasses to give an impact and to take away the element of flat featureless landscaping. Boulders varying from small to large can be used giving shape to the whole edge of a patio.The standing stones of years gone by make impact on the landscape that surrounds them and there is no reason why you cannot copy this idea in your own garden adding feature stones that draw the eye towards them. Here, large stones look really good in the center of a raised border, or can stand alone in the middle of a landscape of grass.
Small stone walls break up different areas of garden and these can either be laid dry depending upon each other for support, or laid with a cement or mud and water mix. Standing not very high at all, what you can do is to create two sides to a wall with a hollow in the middle to contain plants. Those beautiful summer flowering alpines look superb at the top of one of these walls as well as seasonal trailing plants such as Lobelia.
There are many uses for stones within a garden area, and both you and your family can come up with new and inventive ways to use stone to enhance the garden. Children can be encouraged to paint designs on stones and use them for their area of the garden as well, and although it means that you are bringing a natural element into your garden, that natural element will find its place and will give you years of pleasure and reflection once the work is done