How to choose stones for a rock garden: costs and dimensions
How should the choice of garden stones be made? If you live in a city with few natural spaces, finding the stones can be difficult. If the municipal regulations allow it, it is possible to go to the public park or closer and collect stones and pebbles that we believe will be good for our garden. In the case where we want large boulders, there are two alternatives: renting a truck and going to a quarry or buying stones in gardening centers, which however often offer very high costs. Alternatively, if there is a demolition site nearby, you can try asking for stones there. Of course, before proceeding with the collection or purchase it is good to consider the quantity of stones needed; a particular solution, moreover, could be to resort to artificial blocks, used especially to erect small walls. They must be laid in the mortar and placed side by side, and generally they have a rather low cost.
Cohabitation of rocks and plants
As can be guessed, therefore, the choice of stones for rock gardens requires a careful and thoughtful evaluation, also because in order to give life to an ordered and elegant space it is not enough to put together stones and stones without a precise project or order. If it is true, in fact, that even in this way the plants would be able to grow in an environment suitable for their development and their survival, it is equally true that the aesthetic effect would not be the best: in short, the difference between a garden rocky and a stony ground must remain evident. The construction of a rock garden, therefore, turns out to be rather challenging: not because it requires special knowledge, but from the physical point of view, since it requires the movement and transfer of stones, sometimes of considerable size, as well as of the plants and of the earth. In order to obtain a harmonious, proportionate and pleasant final result, it will be good to evaluate in advance the feasibility of the ideas, both for what concerns the dimensions of the surface to be occupied, and for what concerns the possible expenses that will have to be sustained. It should be noted, moreover, that a garden characterized by many stones requires limited maintenance, since it favors the growth and development of rustic plants able to adapt without problems to the most difficult conditions, and therefore in need of a maintenance reduced to the minimum terms.
Evaluate the spaces and the number of stones
It is wrong, on the other hand, to believe that a rock garden requires, by necessity, rather large spaces, in the sense that, by renouncing a large number of plants and monumental constructions, an environment of this type can also be created by having at its disposal few square meters. Just a few stones are sufficient, provided they are wisely arranged, and a land capable of satisfying the needs of the plants to start work, taking into account that, unless the stones purchased in the garden centers are used, the construction costs they are rather limited, and the most significant expense is represented by the purchase of the plants.
About the stones, they can be mixed with shredded bricks and pebbles. At this point, all that remains is to choose the soil, which should preferably be composed of crushed stone, medium-grain sand, organic fertilizer and garden soil: the ideal mix for alpine plants and rock plants, which can present both a vertical development and a horizontal development.
Exposure to the sun: watch out for too hot rays
As regards exposure to the sun, a garden with stones it needs very sunny and warm positions, protected from gusts of wind and turned upwards. Slightly open soils are also ideal, with the branches of the trees penetrated by the filtering sun, also because they prevent the drying of some species due to excessive heat of the rays. Conversely, a garden completely in the shade of the trees as well as being too fresh subjects the plants to a continuous oozing in case of rain, obviously damaging. As mentioned, you can take advantage of the land that has slight gradients, possibly connected with stairs or terraces.
Garden stones: How to manage terraces and slopes
The slopes and terraces must not be too steep: both because of the risk of stones and stones falling from above, and because the ground risks being washed away in the presence of particularly violent rains. It is the same reason why, besides, even the drainage deserves to be observed carefully, given that, once the stones have been placed, intervening to dig and fertilize the soil turns out to be complicated compared to what would happen with borders and normal flower beds.
In the presence of significant slopes, however, it is possible to opt for the creation of stone walls, not very high, and possibly the construction of a terracing. Plants suffer excessively dry areas, which do not provide the necessary moisture to the roots to favor their development; on the other hand, too high a level of humidity must be avoided, because it would give rise to radical rot that would cause serious damage to plant species.