What is a rock garden?

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Contrary to what you might think, a rock garden isn't simply a garden filled with rocks, unless of course you are Japanese. Generally, a rock garden has plants too. The Japanese have for centuries used specially designed Zen rock gardens as a way to try to reach enlightenment. However, for those of us who are not into meditation and Zen, rock gardens with plants can still offer a relaxing and beautiful space in the yard. By carefully selecting the right rocks - and the best plants to put in between them -- you can create a low-maintenance area that will be a pleasure to look at. A rock garden can also turn an otherwise awkward spot, like a hard-to-mow slope, into a showcase for your more delicate plants.

The set-up of a rock garden entails quite a bit of work so make sure you've thought it through properly and designed your rock garden before you start moving rocks around. After all, you don't want to keep changing your mind while you're working with heavy rocks, especially by yourself. (It's probably a good idea to have a friend on hand to help.) It's important to make sure that your design has the right amount of drainage and soil. You also need to be prepared to wait until the rocks have settled before planting in case you need to top up the soil. Once you've chosen plants that will grow well in your soil, the resulting rock garden will need very little attention; just the occasional weeding and watering.


By using the using the same type of rock in a variety of shapes and sizes you can create a wonderful contrast between the rocks and the flowers. After all the hard work is done, just sit back and enjoy your rock garden as it blends into the landscape.