Rock Garden Design Ideas

Rock gardens can bring a natural, rugged beauty to any yard, including those with steep hillsides or other difficult growing conditions. Take a look at these stunning gardens for a wealth of color and design inspiration.

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High-Altitude Plantings

Common rock garden plants grow naturally on high mountains, where they need to stand up to harsh conditions such as intense sun, high winds, and drought. To create a picture-perfect scene, experiment with wildflowers in an array of complementary hues; for a layered look and all-over color, combine mounded plants and groundcovers with various-size shrubs that provide vertical interest.

Front Yard Rock Garden

Even if you don’t have a naturally rocky site, you can easily create one. In this front yard, a stone wall offers an ideal foundation and border for a variety of low-growing alpine classics, including Aubrieta ‘Royal Blue’, Phlox subulata, and PotentillaGypsophila franzii and Dianthus ‘Tiny Rubies’ fill crevices between stones and help to integrate the stone wall with the rest of the terrace garden.

A Textural Display

For maximum visual interest in your rock garden, play with texture and vary the scale of plants and rocks. A mixture of conifers, shrubs, and perennials works beautifully to create a lush landscape that blends distinctive foliage and colorful blooms. Boulders, Mexican pebbles in a dry creek bed, and bricks in the winding pathway lend natural texture and additional drama.

Smart Hillside Solution

Transform a sloping front yard into a street-side showstopper by bringing in locally sourced boulders and a variety of rock garden plants. In this corner lot, creeping cedar, pines, yucca, Japanese maples, ornamental grasses, and cannas create an eye-catching display. Best of all, the yard looks vibrant all year and never needs mowing.

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