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Build a Rock Garden

We present examples of rock gardens on this page that we hope will inspire you to create your own unique and personal rock garden.

For a discussion of various aspects of rock gardens including the role of rocks, drainage requirements,

soil composition, and water and fertilizer needs (see Success With Rock Garden Plants ).


    Berm Rock Garden

Berm Rock Garden

A berm is a type of raised garden with informal edges. This style of rock garden is often used on a relatively level site.   Freely draining rock garden soil is mounded at least 12" above grade.  Rocks of different sizes are then placed and partially buried along the berm.   A variety of plants are used to create a visually interesting garden.  Photos and information about creating a Berm Rock Garden.  

Woodland Rock Garden

Woodland Rock Garden

This long, raised berm is situated on the north side of a row of trees, making it a mostly shady garden with some afternoon sun where we grow a variety of native and non-native perennials.  More Information About Woodland Gardens.


Rock Accented Garden 

Rock Accented Garden

We think of a rock accented garden as a garden that uses one or more larger rocks as focal points to draw the eye.  We created a colorful rock accented garden at the edge of a perennial garden.  Photos and information about creating a Rock Accented Garden. 

Water Feature Rock Garden

Water Feature Rock Garden

Water features are an ideal focal point in a rock garden.  They enhance the naturalistic feel and add another element of interest.  Rock garden plants can be tucked along water's edge as well as along the slopes and niches created in the construction of the water feature.  Our water feature has a header pool, curved running stream and small still pool.  We have created a bog garden at one edge of the pool for additional planting areas.   A shallow beach was created at the end of the pond to soften the edge and allow animals that fall in the water an easy way out.  Photos and information about creating a Water Feature Rock Garden. 

Rock Garden for Miniature Conifers

Rock Garden for Miniature Conifers

Watch a video about how we created this theme rock garden for our collection of miniature conifers.


Lewisia Garden at Wild Ginger Farm©

Lewisia Mound

This is an example of a rock garden dedicated to growing one type of plant, in this case Lewisia cotyledon which is a flowering succulent native to the Western U.S. Learn more about how to grow Lewisia and how we created this rock garden

Tufa rock garden

Tufa Rock Garden

Tufa is a calcium rich rock used by rock gardeners to grow lime loving plants.

Photos and Information about Building this Tufa Rock Garden

Dwarf Bulbs in the Rock Garden

Dwarf Bulbs in the Rock Garden

Watch a video we created about growing dwarf bulbs in the rock garden.

Stucco Raised Bed for Alpines

Stucco Raised Bed

This raised bed was built on a slope with concrete blocks and then covered with stucco.  There is access to all four sides and the edges make a pleasant seating area.  More Photos and Step-by-Step Instructions about constructing this Raised Bed.

Raised Bed Rock Garden    Quarter Circle Raised Bed

Raised bed with fall color

Concrete Block Raised Beds

Raised beds are an easy way to create a rock garden in just about any available space.  These raised beds are made of concrete blocks and capped with pavers or slate tiles and and are located at the edge of a driveway in the nursery.  A lean rock garden soil was used and accent rocks placed.    More Information About Building These Concrete Block Raised Beds.


Container Garden

Container Garden

An attractive arrangement of containers is an ideal way to enjoy many rock garden plants.  This collection includes some frost sensitive succulents that can be moved to a sheltered location during the winter.  More Photos and Tips on Container Gardening


Trough Garden  Trough Garden

Trough Garden

Many rock garden enthusiasts grow smaller alpine species in troughs, creating miniature landscapes with plants and rocks. 

How to plant a Trough Garden with photos.

Slate Crevice Trough

Make a Slate Crevice Trough Garden

We made a slate crevice trough garden using unglazed slate tiles that were leftover from an indoor flooring project. Creating a crevice garden in a trough is a great way to showcase alpine plants.   Alpines are often found wedged between rocks in nature and a slate crevice garden recreates this look.

Open Alpine Frame   Alpine Frame in winter

Open Alpine Frame                                                             Alpine Frame in winter

The alpine frame is a structure built to provide plants with extra protection from winter wet and cold.  Alpine frames are essentially a type of coldframe with provisions for extra ventilation and shading.  Plants can be grown in pots set into the frame or plunged into sand. Plants can also be grown directly in the bed in a soil mixture or sand.  Our hinged top design allows us to easily open the frame on warm days and close it again in the evening.  It is also easy to tend the plants when the top is open.

  Photos and Information about how to build this Alpine Frame.

Hillside Rock Garden

Carol's Hillside Rock Garden

This hillside garden creates a sense of drama with large scale rock accents.  Sloped sites are naturally more freely draining than level sites.  The native soil was amended with gravel to further enhance drainage.

Terrace Garden 

Terrace Garden and Native Garden

Gardens on slopes can be terraced to create planting areas.  In this hillside entryway, a sweeping flagstone pathway is flanked by terraced beds and a planted rock wallThe high desert garden uses native plants to create a natural landscape that requires minimal ongoing care.  More photos and descriptions of this High Desert Garden.


Crevice Garden in Scottish Ruin

Photo Courtesy of E. Drcar

Crevice Garden

Crevices are those intriguing gaps between rocks where plants can grow while seeming to defy all odds. They can be found in horizontal and vertical spaces such as those found in rock walls or in the gaps between pavers on a pathway. In rock gardens, we often intentionally create small spaces between rocks in which to tuck our plant treasures. Alpines and other rock garden plants are ideally suited to grow in these spaces as they often do in nature. More Information and Photos of Crevice Gardens and Crevice Plants.


Small Rock Garden

Small Rock Garden

Sisters Linda Reymers and Sally Medford built and planted this rock garden on Mother's Day 2007

in memory of their mother, Betty Reymers. More photos of this small rock garden and Betty's Garden.


Lewisia at Pittock Rock Garden

Garden Renewal

Over time, any garden can benefit from a period of renewal. 

Read about the revitalization of The Rock Garden at The Pittock Mansion, a public garden located in Portland, Oregon.

Would you like to inspire fellow gardeners?

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Send us your photos via E-mail (subject line "share photo"). 

Include the garden's location and any other info you would like to share.

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