Rock garden design ideas, inspiration & pictures

What are the best rock garden plants?

No home is complete without a garden. They maximize the beauty of your home and make it stick out from the crowd. Rock gardens are best known for what their name suggests: their beautiful rocky nature, but that doesn’t mean plants are out of place here. In fact, the plants are what make rock gardens look even more enticing. This begs the question, which plants are best for this kind of landscape design? That all depends on your habitat, but in the tropical climate of Malaysia, the more plants you have that need full sun, the better. Here are some of the favorites across Malaysia and the world:

- Euphorbia: tough white perennial, drought and heat tolerant, long blooming, low maintenance, needs full sun

- Rock cress: purple perennial, edible leaves and flower, full sun

- Sedum: perennial, comes in multiple colors, drought tolerant, groundcover, full sun

- Candytuft: pink or white perennial, low maintenance, deer and drought resistant, full sun

- Alyssum: fragrant blue, pink, or white annual, good for privacy or groundcover, full sun

- Thrift: pink or white perennial, full sun

- Hens and chicks: pink or yellow perennial, slope and erosion control, drought tolerant, full sun

- Snow in summer: white perennial, groundcover, slope/erosion control, low maintenance, full sun

- Lesser periwinkle: blue, purple, or white perennial, deer resistant, groundcover, slope/erosion control, full sun

- Red creeping thyme: blue or pink perennial herb, grows quickly, groundcover, full sun

- Soapwort: pink or white perennial, deer resistant, drought tolerant, low maintenance, full sun

- Lamium: purple or white perennial, deer resistant, groundcover, partial shade

- Creeping phlox: blue, pink, red, or white perennial, drought tolerant, full sun

- Wooly thyme: blue or white perennial, groundcover, slope/erosion control, full sun

- Ice plant: purple perennial, groundcover, full sun

- Blue fescue: blue/green perennial, drought tolerant, groundcover, deer resistant, full sun

- Irish moss: green perennial, partial sun

- Blue star creeper: light blue perennial, ground cover, partial sun

How do I build a rock garden?

- First, clear the slate. Remove any brush, bushes, or undergrowth in your rock garden area. Use a shovel to dig out the bushes from the roots.

- Choose a design and visualize the outline and where all of the rocks and flowers will go. Draw a blueprint so you can keep track of the space you’re taking up.

- Select the stone. Get a good variety of large and small to keep things looking interesting.

- Install the boulders. Roll the heaviest stones into place using crowbars and stone shims. Make some footing to set the boulders so that they look natural and stay on top of ground level. Small stones can weigh up to 50kg, so make sure a garden planner helps you place the rocks.

- Choose plants. Look for plants that are from your area and local climate. They should have varying colors to enhance the beauty of your rock garden.

- Create the riverbed. Outside gardens just deserve a garden pond and river rock landscaping increases the value of your home tremendously. Use small boulders and river bed stones to create the river. Put juniper bushes on the top and work down with the stone to create a natural looking river that will end in a basin. Set the junipers with peat moss and fertilizer. The peat moss holds water next to the plant, and the fertilizer feeds it. Once the junipers are set, dig out the river bed. Set small boulders along and in the river to make a natural flow. Take your time setting them and do it as a footing. Then add the river bed stones.

- Set the plants. Work down the landscape and mix plant textures. Add colorful flowers, but spread them out so that it doesn’t look man-made.

- Set the walkway. The path will serve as walkway for your visitors to see your new garden, as well as a good place to weed, water, and decorate from. Dry lay the stones to make sure they’re in the right position and then set them.

What soil do I need?

In order to have healthy flowers in a rock gorden, you need fertile soil. Here are a few of our recommendations:

a. Use all your organic waste

b. Avoid using chemicals

c. Use rock phosphate

How do I maintain it?

There’s a system to properly maintaining a rock garden that needs to be upheld in order to keep your plants and river healthy.

- Keep an eye on it and go out at least once a week to look for weeds, dry-looking plants, or foreign objects.

- Prioritize the weeding. If they get out of hand, they could take vital nutrients away from your flowers.

- Don’t overwater the plants. Your garden is outside and will be subject to a lot of rain anyway.

- Cover sensitive plants in the winter months.

- Make sure your plants don’t die. If the soil is full of dead plants, you’ll need to change all the soil

How do you make moss grow on rocks?

The easiest way to get moss is to take if from another place and put it in your desired zone. It will spread over time. But if you start from scratch, there’s a method to it. You need to have partial to full shade where you want the moss to grow, and the area should also be humid. Use a mix of buttermilk or yogurt with either fresh or dried moss and set it on the rocks. Maintain the humidity by spraying it gently with your garden hose and keep it shaded. Always remember to keep weeds away so they don’t take over the moss.