When it comes to choosing the perfect materials for landscaping your garden or backyard, nothing quite comes close to the natural beauty of stone. Stone comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures and holds up extremely well under all weather conditions. Natural stones will rarely lose their color in the sun. The weight of stone will also help your garden keep its shape for years to come.
Make sure to choose a color and shape of stone that complements the colors of your yard, house and garden. It’s also a good idea to plan for multiple sizes of rocks, as this tends to look more natural. Reddish desert stones often look better in a dryer climate while dark, volcanic stone will complement a winter garden well. Polished river rocks often look beautiful next to an outdoor pond or bunches of tall grasses.
If you enjoy the look of rock and stone in landscaping but aren’t sure of how to creatively make use of the space you have, here are five creative ways to use stone in the garden:
Stone Flowerbed Borders
Using stones and rocks to section off flowerbeds and herb gardens is a great way to add a natural touch to your yard as well as keep weeds and grass out of the garden and keep mulch and compost inside your garden area. You can even use stones that offset the colors of your flowers and herbs to help make your plants stand out.
To create stone flowerbed borders, you will need enough stones to encircle the whole area, enough landscaping cloth to keep weeds and grass from growing through the soil and mulch and/or compost to fill the inside area. Make sure to use stones that are heavy enough and large enough so they will easily stay in place.
The best thing about using stones as natural flowerbed borders is the fact that they’re maintenance free. You will never have to worry about the borders falling apart or losing their color. Large rocks are also easy to mow and weed around.
Natural Fieldstone Raised Vegetable Beds
To give your vegetable garden a raised, natural look it’s possible to use odd-shaped, large fieldstones or quarry stones to build a raised bed of soil that will naturally hold its shape without the use of concrete. You’ll need stones that are solid, fairly heavy and naturally rectangular in shape.
To complete the raised bed, you essentially build two stone walls using soil and dirt as mortar to hold the walls in place. You ideally need soil that’s fairly established and has some solidarity and moisture to it, but new soil can be used by adding a bit of water and ensuring it’s packed firmly between both walls. As you build the walls, use the soil to ensure each level of the wall stays level. Pack down the soil tightly and make sure to keep the whole area moist.
Rock and Flagstone Pathways
Adding flagstone pathways to a yard is a smart way to break up the visual cues in an area, add additional accessibility plus give the area a natural and inviting look. Surrounding the larger pieces of flagstone with small, smooth river rock adds to the natural appearance plus gives the pathway a bit of texture, shine and color.
To complete this project you’ll need large pieces of flagstone, wooden borders, sand, river rock and pavement concrete. Make sure to measure and mark everything clearly before you begin. You’re also want to make sure that everything stays level as you add flagstone and rocks. Ideally, the appearance of the pathway should be random and natural, but you still want the surface to be fairly smooth and as even as possible. This will make it easy to walk on.
Natural Stone Pond and Waterfall
If you’ve ever dreamed of building your very own outdoor pond and are looking for a unique way to use stone in your backyard, stone ponds are gorgeous and look more natural than any pre-made pond. This one’s a bit of an extensive project. To add the perfect finishing touch to any type of outdoor pond, build a stone waterfall.
To build a stone pond from scratch, you’ll need an electric pump, plenty of tubing, an area for the pond that has already been dug out and a sturdy pond liner. You can also use a plastic pond. You’ll want rocks in various shapes and sizes. Make sure to save a couple especially flat stones for the waterfall. Measure everything carefully and take your time with this project. If you build a below-ground pond, lining the top edge with stones is a smart way to hide the liner.
A stone waterfall is built by leaving one edge open, adding flat, large rocks and ensuring the top overflow area is perfectly level. Any gaps should be filled in to prevent leakage. Run a water line underneath and add in decorative stones to complete the look.
If you love the natural look of a rocky cliff side or towering pile of waterfall-carved rocks, you can create a similar look in a flower garden with a little careful planning and a variety of unique rocks. You can also use shrubs and weather-resistant grasses to spruce up a rock garden. Cacti are also a smart idea if you happen to live in a dry region.
To begin, clear out an area large enough and line it with landscaping cloth and soil if you plan on planting flowers and shrubs. Cover the area without soil with small pebbles or gravel. Add some large, colorful rocks as centerpieces. You’ll want unique rocks that really grab a viewer’s attention. After this, build around that centerpiece. Various rock sizes, positions and colors give the area texture. Be creative, add in plants and let your imagination flow.
In the natural world, rocks and stones are often found in the oddest of places and can turn an ordinary hillside into one that’s picturesque and just waiting to be explored. Stones can transform a garden or backyard in the same manner. Rocks in nature are colorful, often random and showcased in a variety of different textures and hues. By bringing home some of that beauty and landscaping with a touch of creativity, any ordinary garden or yard can become extraordinary.