Landscapes That Rock

Adolph Garcia

Maybe it’s time to rock your garden. Droughts will come and go and so will water restrictions, and through it all your plants may struggle. But incorporating rocks in your garden will help maintain its beauty and lessen the need for water.

Rock gardens look best open and uncluttered, drawing your eye from one area to the next. When budgeting for your garden, think of the rock as a piece of landscape that has little or no maintenance ever.

  • First, consider the rocks themselves. The size of the rocks is determined by the scale of your garden. Select and arrange the rocks so they look like they were there originally.
  • Second, balance rocks of a certain color with plant material. For instance, never use white or gray rocks and gravel with like-colored plants (cenizo, germander, silver ponyfoot). Instead, pair neutral rocks with purple or red flowering plants like purple oxalis or Salvia greggii.
  • Lastly, stones can increase your aesthetic options. Somewhat straggly looking plants like silver ponyfoot or clover fern are both perfectly good plants, but their appeal is heightened with something to climb over and cascade down.

If you need a starting point, try a naturalist rock garden. This informal style began in England in the late 1800s to mimic alpine and cascading plant features. This style works well in the rocky areas north of San Antonio, and on some of the exposed yellow rocks in southern Bexar County. Sedums, trailing lantana, skullcap, creeping germander, woolly stemodia or yarrow are lovely complements.

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