Wall rock gardens let you play with garden ideas in spots you may have never imagined -- mortared walls, stone steps, loosely laid drystone, brick walls and more. These wall rock garden ideas result in lovely contrasts between color and texture, and the stones, bricks, and rocks often protect the plants roots from the sun. The ideas and photos below will inspire you to search for wall rock garden sites in your home -- or to start one.
This retaining wall has developed into a great wall rock garden idea. The wall marks a boundary between two levels; mat-forming plants have been cleverly positioned at the top so that their cascades of tiny blooms spill down the wall's surface to be seen at eye level from the path below. Purple aubretia, yellow alyssum, and the perennial white-flowered candytuft Iberis sempervirens are topped by a splash of red tulips for a scene full of spring exuberance.
The interplay of color and texture in this wall rock garden idea is as fascinating as the overall design is brilliant. The weathered wall is composed of flint and brick and brick. It draws character from its covering of handsome-colored lichens and comes alive with the generous sprinkling of the golden-flowered stonecrop Sedum acre, which grows along the top of the wall as well as in vertical pockets. Tendrils of dark green ivy Hedera helix wind through at top left.
Stone walls and steps are natural rock-garden sites and make great wall rock garden ideas, since many plants grow on rocky outcroppings in their native habitats. The stones regulate temperature by keeping the direct sun off roots and by retaining warmth even after the sun goes down, which the foliage appreciates. The shady steps shown here are graced with a handsome combination of lady's mantle Alchemilla mollis, hart's-tongue fern Asplenium scolopendrium, and a hardy, single-flowered fuchsia hybrid.
For a vertically-inclined wall rock garden idea, look to these mortared walls. Mortared walls often allow space for plants to take root at the top and base of the wall, and half-planters may be filled with trailing plants and hung at intervals to cover the surface. Apricot, red, and yellow shades of the sun-loving rock rose helianthemum spill over the top of this wall and exhibit their natural cascading growth habit.
Traditional rock and alpine gardens contain collections of miniature plants from alpine regions, resulting in a charmingly diverse garden idea. Explore traditional rock and alpine garden ideas and photos in the next section.