What Is A Rockery?

A rockery is a structure made from rocks, stones or other natural materials. The term rockery was originally used to refer to the walls of caves which were built with boulders. Later it came into use when the word “rock” was replaced by “stone”. However, today’s definition includes any type of structure made out of rocks and stones. Some examples are:

Rock gardens, rock art, rock formations, rock shelters and even rock piles.

The most common types of structures made out of rocks are:

• Walled enclosures (caves)

• Fences

• Shelters

• Rockslides

It is not uncommon for people to construct their own structures out of rocks. There are many different ways to do so. These include:

• Using a small amount of gravel and sand

• Using large amounts of stone and concrete

• Making your own soil mixture using crushed rock, clay, manure, compost and other organic matter.

There are several reasons why people choose to make their own rockslide or enclosure. One reason is because they believe that making something themselves will be easier than buying pre-made items. Another reason is because they want to save money on building materials.

What Sort Of Rocks Are Used For Rockeries?

There are many different types of rocks that people use when making their own rockery. Some of these include:

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• Limestone

• Sandstone

• Quartzite

These rocks are usually found in areas where mountains or rivers are nearby. This is because they are normally found close to the surface.

Rocks can be categorized into three different groups, these are sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks. Sedimentary rocks are usually formed near rivers or oceans when smaller particles of sand and mud come together to form a larger rock. Metamorphic rocks are usually igneous or sedimentary rocks which have been highly pressured and forced to solidify in an extreme environment.

Igenous rocks are the first to form from magma or molten rock and are not influenced by other outside forces.

As you can see there is a lot more to rockery construction than simply picking up a few stones and putting them in your garden. It requires a good knowledge of geology, soil mechanics, mathematics and biology.

What Are The Different Types Of Rockeries?

There are many different types of rockeries that you can create in your garden. A rockery can be a garden wall made from rocks or stones. Alternatively, it can be a small hill made from soil, sand and crushed rock. There are many different ways to create your own rockery depending on your own particular taste.

In this article we will talk about three different types of rockery:

1) The dry stack rockery – This type of rockery involves constructing walls using small rocks and stones.

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This type of rockery looks good combined with a garden but if you would prefer you can leave a gap between the stones and the plants so that people can walk through the garden.

2) The reinforced rockery – This type of rockery involves placing stones or rocks in a mound and then pouring concrete or soil cement over the top of it.

This gives the rockery extra strength and helps to prevent erosion.

3) The ha-ha – The ha-ha was originally constructed in the late 18th century by John Nash at Blenheim Palace.

A ha-ha is a ditch that is dug along the perimeter of the property. The ditch is around six feet deep and is hidden from view by planting trees along the top of the ditch and the other three sides of the garden are bulwarked with a rockery or walls.

The main purpose of a ha-ha is to prevent livestock from wandering into the garden, especially cattle which could do great damage by trampling ornamental plants. A secondary advantage of a ha-ha is that they prevent people from seeing into your garden which was very important in the past if you had valuable crops growing or animals. This would also be a good way of keeping people out of your garden and allow you enjoy your own private space.

What Are Some Of The Different Types Of Plant Life That Can Be Grown In A Rockery?

Rock gardens or rockeries (as they are also sometimes known) are a great place to grow flowers, small shrubs and ground cover plants. Ornamental grasses also work well in a rock garden, especially in the crevices of the rocks where taller plants might obscure the view.

When plants are placed in a rockery they are often displayed to greater effect. For example, imagine a red flowering plant growing out of a small crevice in a rock. If that same plant was just sitting on the ground nearby it might not look as interesting or effective.

This is because the surrounding stones or gravel draw the eye to the color red and your eye will be drawn to it almost immediately. The red will also stand out from the green plants around it.

In addition, when an ornamental plant grows in a rockery it has the added benefit that its roots are partially hidden underground which gives the impression that it is growing out of the rocks themselves. Of course, there are also ornamental plants that prefer to grow above the ground and these can be planted in the garden bed that you leave between the stones of your rockery.

What Type Of Ground Cover Plant Life Can Be Grown In A Rockery?

Some good choices of ground cover plants for a rockery include:-

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Buddleia: These are popularly known as butterfly bushes because they provide food for butterflies. They produce lovely yellow flowers that can be seen even when there is no sunshine. They grow to around three feet and make a great addition to any flower garden.

Sedum: Sedum is a type of succulent that grows in many different colors. It can add a splash of color to your rockery and it also attracts butterflies to your garden.

Vinca Minor: This type of ground cover plant grows exceptionally well in rockeries and other places where there isn’t much soil. They come in many different colors and add a lovely touch to the garden, especially when they are in full bloom.

Polemonium: This is another type of plant that prefers to grow in rocky areas. It provides lovely flowers and depending on the variety you choose it can produce colors ranging from blue to purple.

Pachysandra: This is one of the toughest types of shrubs around and it works well in rockeries since its roots are able to effectively hold the rocks in place.

Are There Any Interesting Facts About Rockeries Or Rock Garden Plants?

Here are some interesting facts about rockeries and the plants that are typically grown in them:-

In the seventeenth century rock gardens became very popular among European royalty. This was thanks to the influence of the King of Bohemia, who later become the Holy Roman Emperor and he brought many plants from Asia back with him when he returned from a visit there. Many of these were used to create rock gardens.

In seventeenth century England it was illegal to grow vegetables in your garden. Only herbs were allowed to be grown since they were deemed to have a higher status than vegetables. This law was not changed until WWI, when the need for additional food sources was paramount.

The Victorians were fascinated by rocks and rock collecting became very popular among the upper classes in the nineteenth century. Many Brits, such as the novelist Charles Dickens, amassed huge collections of rocks.

Are There Any Environmental Benefits To A Rockery?

Yes, there are many benefits to having a rockery in your garden. Some of these include:-

A rockery that’s planted with a variety of different flowers and shrubs will provide homes and food for a wide range of insects and birds. This helps to keep the ecosystem of your garden in balance.

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Planting a rockery will mean that you have to dig less deep planting holes since these can be carved out of the rockery itself. This helps to prevent the topsoil from being transported elsewhere by the wind when it is dug out.

Rockeries help to combat soil erosion and can help to prevent water runoff after heavy rains, which in turn prevents flooding of nearby properties.

Planting a rockery with hardy plants is great for people who are new to gardening. These plants are very easy to look after and they can tolerate poor soil conditions and little sunlight.

Do I Need Any Special Equipment To Create A Rockery?

You will need to purchase or rent some tools before you begin building your rockery. These tools can be rented from most hardware stores and you will need to provide identification to the renting company in order to prove that you are over the age of 18.

The tools that you will need include:-



Mattock (also known as a pick and shovel)




Who Might Come To Build My Rockery?

You might decide to build your rockery yourself. If this is the case, then you will need to obtain all of the necessary tools listed above.

If you’re unsure about your ability to construct a rockery or if you simply don’t have the time to do so, then it might be better to hire a professional. These days there are many companies that provide this type of service and they will be able to advise you on what types of shrubs, flowers, grasses and trees will work best in your climate and soil conditions. You can either obtain quotes from these companies over the phone or online.

Professional rock gardeners will have all of the necessary tools listed above and they should also be able to advise you on what types of shrubs, flowers, grasses and trees will work best in your climate and soil conditions. These days there are many online guides that explain what plants work well together and will provide the most colorful displays throughout the year.

What Maintenance Will My Rockery Require?

You will have the most success with your rockery if you plant drought-tolerant plants, grasses and mosses as these will require little water. However, even if you choose to grow your plants in a traditional garden, they shouldn’t need much maintenance. You will need to weed your rockery on a regular basis. You can do this by hand or use a leaf blower to remove excess soil, leaves and other debris that has gathered.

Sources & references used in this article:

Semantic-based 3D information modelling and documentation of rockeries in Chinese classical gardens: A case study on the rockery at Huanxiu Shanzhuang … by H Liang, W Li, Q Zhang – Journal of Cultural Heritage, 2019 – Elsevier

3D scanning, modeling, and printing of Chinese classical garden rockeries: Zhanyuan’s South Rockery by Q Dong, Q Zhang, L Zhu – Heritage Science, 2020 – heritagesciencejournal …

GeoScape: An instructional rock garden for inquiry-based cooperative learning exercises in introductory geology courses by GJ Calderone, JR Thompson… – Journal of geoscience …, 2003 – Taylor & Francis

The Rock Garden “Geologist Juan Paricio”(Alcorisa, Maestrazgo Geopark, Spain): An Effective Example of Geosciences Popularization by L Moliner, L Mampel – Geoheritage, 2019 – Springer

Visual perception in Japanese rock garden design by GJ Van Tonder, MJ Lyons – Axiomathes, 2005 – Springer



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