How to build a rock garden

rock garden

Here is a nice and easy idea for a simple project using brick edging that can add some character to your front porch: a rock garden. Rock gardens are really easy to build and need little in the way of maintenance. You can fit them almost anywhere to add some flavor to your yard and house.

Here is how to add a rock garden to the side of your porch.

The first thing to do is to clear the area where the rock garden is going. Get rid of any bushes, grass and weeds so that you are starting off with just a patch of dirt.

Measure out from the wall of the house then around in a ‘J’ shape to the area of the porch that you wish the front of the rock garden to come to in order to figure out how many bricks you will need. Also measure the height of the porch to know how many layers will be needed. Depending on the size of the bricks you get you may need two, three, four or more layers of bricks for this. Although you do not have to build up the porch level.

Now go out and get your landscaping bricks. I recommend picking up a few extras just to be on the safe side in case they break or if you made a mistake in your measurements, most bricks are not more than a dollar. If you pick them up at the end of season you can get some real good deals on them at the seasonal locations.

Start at the wall of the house and place the bricks going straight until and then turn and connect up the porch. At this point you will most likely have to shift the bricks some to make sure that you have a good layer of bricks that almost form a ‘J’ shape connecting the wall to the porch with no gaps in it. Now fill that area in with top soil. Make sure that the soil next to the bricks is well packed to at least a bricks length out because that soil will partially have to support the next layer of bricks.

When you start the next layer you will want to break the first brick in half and put that as your starting brick pushed about a half brick length in, so that it forms a step up from the first brick. Then do as you did for the first layer, making sure each brick is a half brick length in so you get the step up. Since you broke the first brick in half this should fit real well as you connect with the porch. Once more some adjustments will most likely be needed to get the bricks to form a solid wall with no gaps. Now fill this area with top soil.

If you have not reached your desired height, then repeat this last step, but alternating the first brick between broken and unbroken so that every time you should have the steps go in by half a brick length and fit snugly when you get to the porch. Remember to fill each layer with dirt once you have finished and make sure the dirt near the bricks in well packed before you start on the next layer.

Once you have reached your desired height fill the encloser with top soil until you are just bellow the top of the wall. Pack it down real good and then refill as needed. Be careful to not be pushing the bricks out of place as you do this.

Once the dirt feels to be well packed then you need to cover it with some form of weed netting to prevent any plant growth. Best way to hold the netting down is with garden staples. If you wish to plant things in your rock garden it is not difficult to cut through weed netting and get to the soil.

Now top your rock garden off with whatever kind of decorative rock chips you wish. I recommend finding larger rocks to put in there as well to help add that uniqueness to it. Statuary and other garden decorations can add personality to the rock garden as well. The one I built for my wife is lined with cast iron Chinese lanterns along the top of the bricks.

If you wish to add plants just cut through the weed netting and plant as the directions for the plant tell you. Then just replace the rock chips around the base of the plant to cover up the dirt.

Maintenance is real simple. If you packed down the soil well then you really should only have to sweep it out as needed, mostly during the fall when leaves will collect there. If you have flowers of course you will want to water them as needed.

If you did not pack the soil down good enough, most likely you will find that the rocks will become very uneven as the soil settles. The easiest way to fix this is to just get more rock chips and refill you garden with them. It will become most obvious if you did not pack the soil well enough after winter, when the snow fall has helped to settle the soil.

It is a simple project that should not take more than a few days to do. Once you are done you should have an attractive and unique addition to your porch.

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