7 Rock Garden Ideas For Small Spaces

7 Rock Garden Ideas for Small Spaces

You have potted your plants, you’ve set them up in your garden, and you take good care of them every day. Now what? At some point, gardening can become boring. The sight of your plants may not be as appealing to you as it was the day you got them.

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You may have become tired of looking at the same thing every day when you’re doing the watering. Or perhaps you just feel that something’s a bit off whenever you’re looking at your plants. This just might be your gut telling you that it’s time to change things up in your garden a little bit. If that’s the case, one of the things you can do is make a rock garden. 

Rock gardens allow you to play around with your plants and make your garden look more appealing. Also, it is going to put the rocks that you have lying around in your garden to good use.

So if this is the sort of thing that you want to do in your garden and if you have the resources and the time for it, then go ahead! Here, you’re going to be presented with several ideas for your rock garden project.

1. Rock Garden on a Slope 

Clean up the slope wherein you plan to put your rock garden. Remove weeds and other unwanted plants as well as unnecessary rocks. Once the space is clean, bring in your rocks. Start with the large rocks first. Then, scatter the smaller rocks around the large ones.

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Make sure to secure each rock in the soil by burying them by about a third of their height. Arrange your plants in your rock garden. When choosing plants, go for those that are suitable to the climate in your area, as well as those with colors that complement the colors of your rocks. Be careful not to overcrowd any one spot in your garden. Instead, 

2. Terraced Rock Garden

If the slope in your yard has been terraced, you can use large rocks to support each level. Then, on the flat part of each “step”, arrange your plants according to your liking. If you do not have so many plants to fill each step, you may add in pebbles to fill the gaps between your various plants to cover most of the soil. 

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3. Zen Rock Garden

This is probably the simplest and most minimalistic rock garden idea that will be presented here. All you need are a few large stone, loads of small stones and a rake. You may add plants too, but not more than two since in zen gardens, the rocks–not the plants–are the superstars. Arrange the big rocks first. Ideally, the large rocks you choose for a zen garden should be rugged and not smooth. These represent mountains or islands. You must have two or three big rocks at most. One must be upright, while the other must lie on its side for depth and width. Be careful not to position these rocks too closely to one another. Arrange them in such a way that there will be a balance visually. Fill the rest of your space with much smaller rocks. Then, rake the small stones such that you form patterns that look like ripples around the large rocks. 

4. Succulent Rock Garden 

Dig out about one foot of soil and put a layer of pebbles in the resulting pit. Put the soil back in. Line the edges of your rock garden using the largest rocks that you have. Then, transplant your succulents into the soil. Put taller plants in the middle and the smaller ones near the edges.

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Make space for each plant. You might also want to consider their color when arranging your succulents. Once you have arranged them, top the soil with pebbles. Water your rock garden. 

5. Rock Gardens Near Pathways

Begin by clearing the area wherein you plan to put your pathway and your rock garden. For your steps, you must use large flat rocks. These are very

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stable to walk on and also, their size will permit emphasis of the pathway.

Once you have positioned those, bring in smaller round rocks. Ideally, place these at the edges of the pathway. Leave some space for those spots wherein you plan to put your plants. Lastly, add pebbles. Make sure that you have enough pebbles to fill the gaps between the large flat rocks and the smaller round rocks. 

6. Herb Spiral

Drive a stake onto the part of the ground wherein you want to position the center of your herb spiral. If you are making an herb spiral on a lawn, remove weeds and keep them from coming back. One of the ways by which this can be done is by putting cardboards that will sheet mulch. This will be right at the base of what is going to become your herb spiral.

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Your cardboard must follow your desired shape for your herb spiral. Begin by laying your rocks on the outer edge then work your way inwards. You may choose to glue your rocks together using mortar or cement. Lay your second layer of rocks after marking the circumference of your spiral with the first layer. The outside wall of your spiral must be the lowest. Once you’re done, put in the soil, then top it with your plants!

7. Rock Pond 

Building a large pond in your garden might cause you to spend quite a lot of money and if you want one but do not have the budget for it, then you might want to consider making a miniature rock pond. Just take a number of pebbles, cement them together to form a bowl, dig up a hole in your lawn wherein you could fit the bowl in, put water, fishes and just like that, you have a pond! If you’re going to this, though, make sure that you choose only species of fishes that won’t occupy too much space even if they grow to their full size. 

Plants That Grow on Rocks

Rock gardens are one of the most unique types of garden that you can have in your small garden. Having a rock garden must be taken care of properly for it to flourish. With that in mind, you will be needing to have plants that grow well even with poor soil and may not get enough water all the time. There are a lot of plants that are great on rock gardens, and here are some of them.

1. Douglas Moss Plox

These plant grows best in areas with moderate temperature and also capable of growing on the cooler environment. These plants are pink and purple shade when blooms and the stem are longer that can cover rocks and add depth to your garden.

2. Yellow Alpine Alyssum

Adding yellow plants to your rock garden is a great way to brighten it up. This plant is easy to plant and grow. Also, it is resistant to drought conditions and can thrive in soil that holds a small number of nutrients. This plant grows well in sunny conditions so it can be difficult to grow in your garden is shady and gets cold for part of the year.

3. Rock Cress

If you want a plant that can cover the rocks in your garden then this plant is the best option that gives your garden a softer look. This plant grows well in full sun and requires moisture to survive. Also, it tends to grow similar to moss, which means that moist ground will be beneficial for its growth. The plants bloom in different colors such as deep violet, soft pink, or lavender.

4. Hens and Chicks

These plants are great for any rock gardens as they can multiply as they grow which makes it look fuller as time goes by. They don’t require lots of water to grow which makes them ideal for rocky soil, Because this plant is easy to grow, you can often found it throughout the country.


And there you have it! Making a rock garden is just one of the many fun things you can do to make your garden a lot less boring. While it’s true that rocks are lifeless, they can end up being the ones that give life to your space especially if they are mixed with plants.

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