Simple rock gardens ideas

When planning out your gardens this year, did you give any thought to a rock garden? I have loved rock gardens since I was a kid…remember those cute rock families? Those really got me into rock gardening and I have built quite a few in different yards over the years. The thing with rock garden is that they are super easy to build and even easier to maintain. You just need a few rocks, a plan and some plants to fill in the blanks. So, on that note, I have a great little list of 10 gorgeous and easy to DIY rock gardens that you are going to definitely want to add to your outdoors this season.

From painted bugs to cactus, you will find everything you need to fit your DIY rock garden to your own style. Even if you have a really small backyard or front yard, you can build a gorgeous rock garden to give it character. And if you do have a backyard that has little space, be sure to check out some of these 15 small backyard decorating ideas. You will find some way to fill in those tiny spaces with décor, and have plenty of room for all of your outdoor necessities.

Gardening is honestly one of my favorite things to do and rock gardening is so easy. You just have to plan out where you want your rock garden to go and then get to work. Some of these can be done in just an hour or so, depending on how expansive you want them to be. You could even build a DIY rock garden by simply placing rocks strategically throughout an existing flower bed. Just take a look at these and start planning out your rock garden for this season. And, be sure to also take a look at these 24 DIY storage solutions for your outdoors. They’ll give you plenty of room to build that DIY rock garden!

Table of Contents

1. Cactus Rock Garden

I love cacti! They are so easy to grow and they look so gorgeous. You can incorporate your own love of the cactus into this simple DIY cactus rock garden. You just designate a space for your garden and then fill it with rocks. Your cactus will grow beautifully within the rock garden and give it a splash of color. You can do this with smaller succulents, too if you want. It’s a quick and easy way to DIY your rock garden.

Source: myaustinelite

Bonus grab or diy these painted rock cactuses to decorate your garden.


2. DIY Rock Water Garden

If you love the idea of a rock garden and you love the idea of a small creek in the yard, you can incorporate those two ideas into a gorgeous DIY rock water garden. You will need to mark off the space where you want to build your water feature and then just add your rocks. This would be a great idea to pair with a DIY water fountain or feature and it’s a fairly easy build. DIY water gardens add so much style to your outdoors.

Source: iconhomedesign

3. Cute Little Bug Rock Garden

Turn your ordinary lawn space into an adorable little bugfest with these painted bug rocks. I found these on Etsy and they’re just $4 each. Or, if you prefer to completely DIY a rock garden, you can paint your own little rock bugs. You just need a few rocks, preferable slick ones, and some paints in various colors. Stick to one bug, like a ladybug, or create an entire bug army from different species.


4. Large Boulder Rock Garden

A rock garden can be any size that you want and it can have rocks of any size that you want. This is a great DIY rock garden if you have a lot of huge boulder sized rocks in your yard. Instead of trying to move those rocks, just build a little garden around them. You could also add to your rock garden if you have a few smaller rocks and stones that you want to use.

Source: hgtv

5. DIY Professionally Landscaped Rock Garden

If you have the time, and the space, you can turn a piece of your yard into a professionally landscaped rock garden, and you don’t have to pay professional prices to do it. You just designate a space, mark it off and then remove the sod. Once you have the grass removed, you can add your rocks and plants. This is a great idea for the edge of your front lawn. It instantly draws the eye to the garden and is a great way to improve your curb appeal.

Source: dengarden

6. Small Outdoor Rock Garden

If you have a small front or backyard, you want a small rock garden. Your rock garden shouldn’t overwhelm the yard but instead, it should complement it and add a nice little focal point. There are some amazing ways that you can use a small rock garden to accent a smaller yard. You just start with a designated space and then build it from there. You could even incorporate your rock garden into an existing flowerbed or build it right next to your house for more space.


7. Kid Built Rock Garden

You can even enlist the help of your young ones with building a rock garden. Kids love to paint and in my experience, they love rocks, so this is a great DIY kids gardening project for the spring. Just grab some rocks and give your little ones some paints or markers so that they can create plants, bugs or anything else that they want to add to your new garden area.


8. Easy DIY Spiral Rock Garden

This DIY spiral rock garden is perfect for smaller spaces. It is super easy to build and it gives your yard such a lovely focal point. Once you have the rocks in place, you can add plants to give your rock garden a bit of color. You could even do these to plant your vegetables or them make wonderful strawberry gardens. You’ll need quite a few rocks for this one and a weekend or so to get them all in place.

Source: huffingtonpost

9. Crevice Planted Rock Garden

This DIY rock garden is so simple to build and you end up with lovely plants in the crevices between your rocks. You can build this one as big or as small as you want, the process is the same no matter how many rocks and plants you add to it. This is a great one for the front yard, to give you a bit more curb appeal and can be done in an afternoon if you aren’t planning to cover the entire yard in rocks and plants.

Source: marthastewart

10. DIY Tabletop Rock Garden

I love DIY Zen gardens! They are so relaxing and gorgeous, and this DIY tabletop rock garden is no different. This is so easy to make and it is perfect if you want a lovely little rock garden indoors or outside on your patio table. This is great if you really don’t have the space to build a rock garden in your yard or if you just don’t want to have to mow around those rocks during the warmer months.

Source: minimalisti

How to Build a Rock Garden

­Few are able to deny the magnetism that rock gardens have. If you’ve never seen one, a rock garden is simply a plot with a mix of rocks and any of several special species of small flowers. Some would say that because rocks are permanent, solid and rugged, they complement t­he delicacy of flowers. The Japanese recognized the calming and meditative effect of rock arrangement as far back as the medieval era when they developed the Zen garden. Fortunately, forging a beautiful and relaxing rock garden in your yard is surprisingly simple.

If you’re still on the fence about whether you want to take the time to build a rock garden, consider that this small time investment will pay off in spades. That’s because rock gardens can turn grassy areas and awkward, difficult-to-mow slopes into a low-maintenance landscape. In other words, when you’re done landscaping, you can just step back and enjoy your garden. You’ll probably have no harder labor ahead of you than occasional light watering or perhaps removing a weed or two.


­When you’ve learned just a few tricks of the trade, you can create an effective rock garden that seamlessly blends into your landscape. Consider how other kinds of gardens, such as vegetable gardens, can look obviously cultivated ­and artificial. On the other hand, a well-designed rock garden evokes a sense that Mother Nature has courteously bestowed some her best work on your land, to the envy of all the other lawns. In addition, rock gardens provide the ideal place to showcase the small, delicate and understated flowers that get overshadowed in other gardens.

If you happen to have a gentle slope in your yard that gets plenty of sun, this is the perfect place to build a natural-looking rock garden. If you aren’t so lucky, however, you still have plenty of options. Take note that sometimes different rules apply to varying climates and soils, too, but we’ll lend tips when these exceptions might crop up. Next, we’ll dig into what makes a proper rock garden foundation.

Rock Garden Designs

Introduction to Rock Garden Designs:

Creating rock gardens can often be a daunting task, we can help by explaining some of the most popular styles. There really is no limit to the amount of variations you can incorporate into your rock garden. The right blend of plant life and rock can not only create a truly natural looking environment, but it can also become a habitat for wildlife. There are so many options available to you, let’s discuss some of them now.

Berm Rock Gardens: Just as the name implies, these rock garden designs are raised, hilly style garden that doesn’t have formal boundaries. Most often, berm gardens are actually built on level ground using mounds of rock garden soil of varying sizes. The mounds then form the foundation of the berms, and provide a rough outline. Larger rocks are then partially buried and then each mound is topped with several inches of garden soil. Once you have the structural part of the rock garden laid out, you can add colorful and interesting plants to flesh out the design.

Woodland & Accented Rock Garden Designs:

Woodland Rock Gardens: Woodland gardens are extremely popular rock gardens because they tend to be shady gardens where one an escape the heat of the summer. When choosing your plants for these types of gardens, make sure they are tolerant of low water conditions because trees do not share the available water well with their smaller friends. Many times what gardeners will do is supplement the watering of these types of gardens using hidden sprinklers and soaker hoses.

Accented Rock Gardens: Accented rock garden designs are where the garden has one or more large rocks that act as a central focal point for the entire garden, much like a fountain or a statue. These rock designs are very adaptable to virtually any growing conditions and the only real limit is your own imagination. Most landscaping supply companies that sell stone and such will almost certainly have larger rocks available for sale. Consider browsing through their selection to see if any of them spark your imagination.

Japanese & Water Rock Garden Designs:

Japanese Rock Gardens: Japanese rock gardens are incredibly landscaped and sculpted gardens that give the visitor a sense of peace and tranquility. While these gardens have been around for centuries, they have only gained popularity in western civilization in the last couple of decades. If you have ever wanted to add a traditional Japanese rock garden to your own home, read our articles on the different styles and techniques to help you get started.

Water Gardens: Water gardens have seen an explosion in popularity in recent years and there is no better use of rocks and stone than to create a wonderful mountain pond in your own yard. Water features can be incorporated into most rock garden designs with a little bit of planning and ingenuity. You don’t need to settle for just a simple pond either. You can use a gentle slope to create a meandering stream that feeds itself for continuing flow. You can wrap it around a pleasant sitting area if you want to be able to sit and listen to the soothing flow of water.

Miniature & Raised Rock Garden Designs:

Miniature Rock Gardens: If space is something you are short on, miniature rock gardens might be the answer! Dwarf conifers are a great addition to these types of gardens because they fit the theme so well. You don’t need to go big and elaborate, maybe a few large rocks on a hillside of otherwise unusable ground, mixed with a generous selection of woody plants and evergreens, is all it would take to create a small decorative garden.

Raised Bed Rock Gardens: Not all of your rock gardens have to look like they occurred naturally. If you like having defined borders in your garden, you can design a raised bed that incorporates all the natural look and feel of a traditional rock garden, but in a defined and bordered space. Whether you build your bed out of stucco, landscaping blocks, mountain or sandstone, you can create some truly stunning displays.

Some of the benefits to raised beds is they require a lot less work to maintain than a traditional garden because you don’t have to bend so low to the ground and you have better access to all sides of the planting bed. With a raised rock garden you can also build the walls wide enough to provide their own seating if you would like to be able to sit and admire your garden.

Ideas for Rock Garden Designs:

Rock Gardens: There are a wide range of rock designs that you could pull from if you are looking to start a project around your home. The style of the garden depends alot on the existing ground that you have to work with. Rock gardens are considerably more difficult to plan and construct, compared to a traditional garden because there are alot more conditions that have to be met for rock garden plants to thrive. Learn the tips and techniques for building these gardens, and make yours look like it was done by a professional.

Rock Garden Ideas: There are alot of sources that you can go to in order to find rock garden ideas for your home. Within these articles we try to sort through the clutter and get down to the real facts and try to find different ways to offer inspiration for your next rock garden project. Everything from the type of soil you should mix up, to the various plants and flowers that typically thrive in rock gardens. We hope this resource will provide you with all the ideas you could ever need.

Rock Garden Waterfalls: If you have ever wanted to add some waterfalls to your rock gardens, we have some great ideas to share with you! There are far more options out there than most people realize, so before you rush out and purchase your waterfall or fountain, read our article for more information on the various options.

Container Rock Garden Designs:

Container Rock Gardens: Creating a container rock garden is an excellent idea for plants that are sensitive or not hardy, and need to be moved inside or sheltered during the colder months. Various alpine plants, along with other compact plants commonly found in rock gardens are great choices for container rock gardens. These small mature plants become very mobile and can be moved around as you desire, or as weather conditions permit. Container plants are very easy to grow and can add to the decor of virtually any location.

Leave Rock Garden Designs and go to Landscaping Ideas

Usually, the first image that comes to mind when we think of a garden is that of luscious green bushes with the wafting scent of sweet flowers. After all, it has this viridescent connotation with floral hints that you’ve grown to recognize at a glance. But you should know that a garden is more than its greens and pinks. Rocks, one of the most mundane parts of lawns, can actually stand prominently at a garden. Behold, the rock garden.

Originally Posted by Pinterest

Rocks, like plants, come in all sizes and shapes. They do generally stay in one hue, but that in itself is one of its strengths. The earthy colors of rocks evoke this sense of closeness to Mother Earth. Add the sturdiness of these buddies, and you get a rock garden that looks as great as, if not greater than, your usual garden! Read on to learn more about this kind of garden and get inspired with some of these awesome rock garden ideas!

What is Rock Garden?

A rock garden, or rockery, is essentially a small plot of land dedicated to feature and put emphasis on rocks. These gardens look great as the landscape in an open space. They don’t only serve a purely aesthetic purpose, too. The Japanese rock garden (zen garden) uses a variety of rocks, water features, moss, with smaller stones or sands laid on the ground. These zen gardens are known to be used for meditation, and they were created to imitate the essence of nature. Some grottos of sacred images are also rock gardens.

20 Unique Rock Garden Ideas

Not everyone is familiar with the idea of a rock garden, but almost everyone has seen one. If you are interested in having one yourself, here are 20 rock garden ideas you can consider for your next gardening venture!

Buddha Rock Garden

This rock garden idea is going to be a challenge if you don’t have a Buddha statue lying around. But honestly, any spare large object that looks great as a centerpiece could very well replace the statue and your rock garden would still look nice!

Three Center Boulders in Rock Garden

Originally Posted by Pinterest

The central items in your garden don’t have to be all shiny and statue-y. Look at these three boulders; they don’t look great alone, but as the focus of this garden, they have a great aesthetic theme going on.

Rock Garden Stones in Equilibrium

This rock garden idea is quite a challenge, and not everyone can easily do this on their first try (without some dirty tactics, anyway). If you do get to nail it, then you’ll have some fine stone structures to show off.

Rock Garden Terraces

Originally Posted by Pinterest

Rocks can be excellent as part of terraces! The aesthetic is pretty neat, and depending on how you put your plants, your stones can shine as the main attraction or effectively complement your star plants.

Small Japanese Zen Rock Garden

Originally Posted by Pinterest

Zen gardens reflect the essence of nature, and this one nails it right in the heart. There’s enough zen in its structure, some fine greenery in the background and sides, and the rocks look like huge jades beautifully spread on the flaxen ground.

Rock Garden Pond

Originally Posted by Pinterest

If you happen to have included a pond or any large body of water on your garden, smooth stones will definitely look great on its banks since they can also be used as a stepping platform when you peer over your pond.

Landscape Zen Rock Garden

Originally Posted by Pinterest

Your rock garden doesn’t have to only have rocks and plants! In this zen garden, it adds more of its zen feel with its extra props that enhance the visual aspects of the garden without compromising its meditative and calm appeal.

Landscape Rock Garden with Boulders

Originally Posted by Pinterest

Rocks are great fillers to large blank spaces that you don’t have an idea of what to use for. A few plants shoved on the crevices and some large boulders for size contrast and you can get a splendid rock garden with minimal effort!

Flat Slabs Walkway Rock Garden

Originally Posted by Pinterest

Rocks are great in instilling that natural feel in your garden, instead of using concrete. These flat slabs alongside wooden planks in your rock garden are surely the lovechild of architecture and nature!

Rock Dike Pond

Originally Posted by Pinterest

When you want to show off your pond in a flashy way, then having some rock dikes on your pond would be perfect for you! The rock dikes signify that no one can pass beyond its borders while complementing the water aesthetically.

Rock Pond

Originally Posted by Pinterest

Even without the luxury of a large pond, you can still make a miniature one. You can grab some pretty and smooth pebbles and hot-glue them into the inside of a bowl. Fill it up with water and dig a hole in your lawn that could fit the bowl in. Put some fishes and voila! A quick rock pond.

Rock Garden Mosaic

Originally Posted by Pinterest

In all the peculiar shapes that rocks come, you can try to get creative with them and create a rock mosaic. These beautiful pieces of art are perfect as steps or designs of walkways, adorning the way to your home with homeliness and grace.

Small Desert-Inspired Rock Garden

Originally Posted by Pinterest

What could rocks best represent? That tough and barren surface with such a sepia look, it couldn’t be anything other than a desert! With some succulent plants wedged between the rocks, you can bring the appeal of a hot desert without the blistering heat on your garden.

Flat Slab Steps Rock Garden

Originally Posted by Pinterest

If you can find some large flat slabs of sturdy stones that are of similar sizes, then you can shape up a good slope and put in these natural steps. Add in some lush stout greens around, and you can get the perfect hangout place for a calm afternoon.

Contrasting Spiral Rock Garden

Originally Posted by Pinterest

Dark-colored pebbles are common everywhere, but you’re going to need to buy these white stones in the gardening or landscaping store. The contrast of the colors makes a great sight for sore eyes.

Small Rock Garden on a Low Hill

Originally Posted by Pinterest

Whether you want to imitate a natural outcrop or a bedding plane, you can do it on a low hill. In this case, you can casually place the stones and plants together in a way that looks great.

Rock Garden Entryway

Originally Posted by Pinterest

This is a top-tier rock gardening idea that requires more skills than most gardening ideas. If you can get someone to help you out, you can definitely pull off this extremely attractive magical entryway to your garden.

Rock Mulch

Originally Posted by Pinterest

Mulching is a technique of covering the surface of the soil with material to help retain temperature and moisture, so using rocks as mulch is more decorative than functional on the surface, but they have their own merits underneath the covering layer. Plus, it makes your flower beds look neater and just overall lovely to look at!

Spiral Rock-Walled Herb Garden

Originally Posted by Pinterest

The spiral herb garden requires some intermediate-level skills. However, once you do finish this one, then you not only get some outstanding scenery to look at your garden, you can eat it, too!

Rock Garden Waterfall

Originally Posted by Pinterest

Don’t deny it, at one point in your life you absolutely wanted to have a waterfall in your backyard. The sounds of water flowing and splashing as it cascades down the exquisite rock formation definitely excites you; the very thought of it would make you drool. If you have the resources to make this one, then you got it from here: do it.

How To Build A Rock Garden

Preparing a rock garden needs more raw strength than normal ones. A good rock garden requires thorough preparation and carefully thought-out plans so that they’ll look stunning.

  1. Clear off the plot of land. Remove all vegetation on that plot, and adequately demarcate the area of your garden by making a deep edge around it.
  2. Plot your design on the ground with inverted marking paint. This way, you can have a good look at how the garden will look like before you do the heavy work. You should also mix in materials that drain well on top to increase soil drainage and add some weed-resistant fabric on the area if it is frequented with weeds.
  3. Choose the rocks you want to have. You can buy most small stones from a landscaping or gardening store. You’ll need to buy the bigger ones from stone suppliers with their quarry. They have a large variety of boulders to choose from, and they are the most economical choice.
  4. Start with the large boulders because they are the hardest to move around. You should create a footing to set them so that they look natural.
  5. At this point, you can do two things: either plant all the plants first or put the smaller stones first. To make your rocks look naturally placed, you can press them down or fill the crevices with soil.

Rock Garden: Things To Consider

As with conventional gardens, there are also things to consider in making a rock garden. In the changes of the visual aspect, some functional parts may also become different, and you need to properly consider those when you plan for your future stony lawn.

Plants in a Rock Garden

A good rule of thumb to follow in finding plants for your garden is to pick small ones that take drought well. Tiny bulbs and succulents look great on these gardens, and you can also consider creeping plants. But don’t restrict with the small plants; big plants can also look great depending on your desired style.

Originally Posted by Pinterest

Size of Rocks in the Rock Garden

One of the things that bring beauty to your garden is the contrast of sizes. A common choice would be having a few boulders or large stones as the primary foreground while using small pebbles and rocks as the complementary background. However, it is also possible to have similarly-sized ones for a more uniform look.

Location of the Rock Garden

Remember that rock gardens are fairly permanent structures so you should take note of that as you find an excellent spot. If you are still starting up, then a reasonable place to start is on one corner of your backyard. If you’re feeling more experienced and ready to take on a big challenge, you can try out using larger spaces and higher hills.

Feel of the Rock Garden

A good choice of rocks and placement will affect the feel of your garden. For a casual and natural appeal, random groupings of rocks work well paired with irregular rocks. However, if you want a cleaner and elegant appeal, smooth pebbles or rocks that come in uniform sizes do the job well.

Final Thoughts on Rock Gardens

Rocks are fairly common in most gardens, but you might not have thought of using them as prominent features. However, there’s a certain charm in a rock garden that is similar yet contrasting to a flower garden. A rockery reminds you of natural landforms in Earth and how wonderful they are to be made by nature, just like plants. If you have been gardening for a while and want some change of pace, a rock garden might be the one you’ve been looking for.

From a simple penchant for yellow flowers as a child to becoming a full-time gardener, nature advocate, and garden designer, I am extremely happy to finally have a platform for me to successfully spread knowledge and expertise in the garden. After highschool graduation, I took many courses related to garden design to feed myself with more knowledge and expertise other than what I learned from my mom growing up. Soon as I finished courses, I gained more experience through internships and most especially, garden shows! I also tried to join as many garden design competitions locally. For any garden design inquiries, ping me!

Rock gardens are an amazing way to build texture and depth into your backyard. Find 32 awe inspiring rock garden ideas and designs to play with!

Welcome to our gallery of marvelous rock gardens!

There are many directions you can take your garden. With plenty of great ideas out there, one of the best ways to increase the natural look of a garden area is to add rocks. Rocks come in a multitude of shapes and sizes and can serve many functions in your garden.

By utilizing large rocks you can give your space a raw and natural appeal. This rugged look is great for adding texture to your landscaping. Smaller rocks can make a great bed for some plants and may be used rather than mulch or woodchips.

You may also choose to have rocks with no greenery at all. Sitting in a well organized rock garden without plants, or with manicured sand, is a very zen and visually intriguing idea.


  1. Minimal maintenance – Stones do not need to be maintained very often. Sometimes rocks gather moss, which might be a positive in some cases. If you want a more rugged or natural aesthetic, a touch of moss may even be appropriate for your rock garden.
  2. No decomposition – Rocks don’t rot or fall apart when exposed to weather conditions. You don’t need to worry about the elements damaging or destroying your landscaping.
  3. Durable – Not only can stones and rocks stand up to natural conditions, but they can tolerate a bunch of physical abuse without giving way. It takes a direct and concentrated intentional effort to damage a rock garden.
  4. Pests – Most other kinds of gardens attract pests. If you don’t want your space invaded by bugs and scavenger pests, rocks are ideal and not likely to be consumed.


  1. Sinking – If your rocks are heavier than the soil they’ve been placed on, the stones may begin to sink into the ground. This can become an issue as it can make the soil difficult to till or plant in in the future.
  2. Projectiles risk – If your rock garden has smaller stones, some of those stones may end up away from the garden. This can be an issue if they migrate into mowed areas. Lawnmowers can pick these stones up and fling them out at high speeds. This can potentially be quite dangerous if you are not careful.
  3. Heat – Many kinds of rocks can absorb a great deal of heat. They also reflect a significant amount of heat from their exposed surfaces. The heat reflecting off of the rocks makes the area warm during the day, and the heat absorbed is released at night, making the area also warmer at night. If you are not looking to make your area hotter all around a rock garden may not be for you.
  4. Does not provide nutrients – Sometimes you may want plants along with the stones in your rock garden. However, stones do not release nutrients back into the soil. Using stones will not improve your soil, so if you want plants to grow you may have to manually add extra nutrients.

Stones are not very expensive. If you are lucky enough to know where to find free rocks, you may not have to pay anything at all. If you need to purchase stones there are lots of options in a variety of shapes and sizes. Depending on the type of stone you choose, you can expect to spend $155 to $204 per one ton of stones. (Source: Homewyse)

Find more backyard ideas in our definitive guide to backyards!

A water feature alongside wild moss and vines gives a rock garden a stunning natural feel. By leaving the rocks unattended you have a chance of cultivating an appeal like this.

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A small pond is a great accompaniment to a rock garden. Rocks look perfect around a small pond and work to transition the natural look of the pond into the masonry of the walkway.

Small stones make a great bed for a garden. These small stones reduce the amount of dirt that gets everywhere and also cut down on weed growth. While you may choose the natural look of rough stone, round and polished stone gives a different feel. Source: Zillow Digs™

One great use for a rock garden is to outline areas and separate different areas of your yard. You can make divisions between different garden beds and walkways. A mixture of large and small stones can work together to give interesting textures and visual appeal.

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Even by adding a few stones to your garden you can introduce interesting textures to the space. This garden area has minimal stones, but these stones still have a dramatic effect on the area. They make the garden look far more naturalistic. Source: Distant Hill Gardens/ Flickr

As your stone ages and grows moss it may pick up some other wild plants. This makes the area have an aged and distressed appeal.

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Here we see some blue and white stones being overtaken by greenery. If your stones are far enough apart you can have a variety of plants in your rock garden. Your garden only needs a few rocks spread apart to provide a natural feel and texture.

Stacked rocks can build an interesting and textured look that has a fabulous visual appeal. This style looks amazing surrounding bodies of water like ponds and pools. In this picture we see stacked rocks around a koi pond. This is an Asian inspired design that is both interesting and tranquil. Source: Zillow Digs™

If you want to further build layers of texture and color you can use contrasting stones. Using small brightly colored rocks around larger darker toned rocks can make the larger stones stand out and draw attention.

Rock gardens are perfect for lining paths and walkways. Large rocks work to keep people on track and off of areas that you don’t want them to travel. They act as decorative obstacles that can keep your plants safe. This is a more natural looking and less obvious barrier than a fence.

If you have bushes or taller plants in your garden, rocks can still make an excellent base for your garden; especially so on sloped surfaces, where the stones can give a mountainous feel to your garden.

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Rocks pair well with water features. A rock garden with large stones can make the ideal base for a waterfall. In this picture we see a gathering of massive rocks setting the stage for a waterfall feature into a pond. If you want your yard to take you back to nature this is an amazing way to do it.

If you have a small pond or creek in your yard placing rocks in it can direct the flow. They can change the shape of your water feature into a more organic and natural feeling body of water. This works even better if you let the rocks get overtaken by greenery.

You can guide water through your garden with a lining of rocks. This can make your garden look like a wild river bed.

If your rocks have flat surfaces they may be able to be used as stepping stones. This can make getting around your garden have less of an impact on flowers and other plants. Source: jacki-dee / Flickr

With minimal to no plants your rock garden can still bring lots of texture and visual layers to your area. A plantless rock garden is great around a path or walkway.

Here we see a concrete stairway leading to a small patio and archway. The rocks here line the patio and walkway. They divide the plants from the walkway, creating a visually interesting and creative natural barrier.

In drier areas where plant life is not as lush, adding rocks into landscaping can help build a full look. In these climates, rocks are right at home. Source: Zillow Digs™

A garden does not need many rocks to attain natural texture. A few well placed stones of the right size can do the trick.

There is no rule on the size of rocks you can use. There is also no rule on the variation of rock sizes in one garden. Here we see many small stones and a few very large stones.

A stone garden can also be very large. Here we see a large and interesting stone garden. There are even a few trees in the midst of it. There are a few very large rocks here as well, all well placed to make a visually interesting space. Source: The West End / Flickr

If you let moss grow you may not even be able to see the stones. This picture shows rocks lining a stone stairway. The rocks are coated in moss nearly to the point of disappearing.

You don’t have to go big to have a lovely stone garden. This is a small stone garden with a few tiny plants. The tiny pebbles still make a great bed for this dainty garden.

A small stone feature can make a great addition to a garden. This small stone fountain brings the appeal that rocks can add to your garden without taking up much space. Learn more here.

Here we see a waterfall and pond surrounded by rocks in this organic and natural looking space. One of the rocks here is very large. A very large rock like this can give your rock garden a center of focus.

If you are going for an American West motif in your rock garden you may consider using cacti for your plants. These plants go great with the rocks and require very little maintenance.

If you want clean looking rocks you can have flower bushes grow around your rocks rather than moss. This gives a very manicured and controlled feel.

Rocks and stones are often used in Asian inspired landscaping. Here we can see a traditional Japanese water feature in a small hidden rock garden. This is a wonderful place to go and meditate among nature with the soothing sound of running water.

Here we can see a small bed of rocks around a statute. Rocks are a great base for features such as statues; while letting the statute stand as the primary focus they set a stable and visually interesting backdrop. 
 Source: Zillow Digs™

Stepping stones are perfect for a zen garden such as this. Zen gardens are made of sand that can be raked and manicured. This look is paired well with large stepping stones and rocks. They give passersby a way through the garden without disturbing the work of the organized sand.

Stacking very large rocks creates a very interesting and wild looking yard area. You can build your own mini mountain in your own backyard.

These rocks are used to build a multiple-level garden mountain. There is so much visual appeal and depth in this landscape. It is both wild and organized, and the dream of any green thumb. Source: Bernard DUPONT/ Flickr

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Home Stratosphere is an award-winning home and garden online publication that’s a result of our talented researchers and writers who work directly with hundreds of professional interior designers, furniture designers, landscape designers and architects from around the world to create helpful, informative, entertaining and inspiring articles and design galleries.

Tags: Backyards Categories: Gardens and Landscaping

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