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Planning And Construction Of Rockeries, Selection Of Stone, Arrangement Of Paths And Retaining Walls
Planning And Construction Of Rockeries, Selection Of Stone, Arrangement Of Paths And Retaining Walls

Video: Planning And Construction Of Rockeries, Selection Of Stone, Arrangement Of Paths And Retaining Walls

Video: Planning And Construction Of Rockeries, Selection Of Stone, Arrangement Of Paths And Retaining Walls
Video: Retaining Wall Heights Explained with Jason Hodges 2023, March
the use of stone in the arrangement of a garden plot
the use of stone in the arrangement of a garden plot

Is a rocky garden or rockery a western luxury or a pile of stones scattered in the chaos through which plants make their way?

Before talking about the rocky garden, how and where to place it, I would like to dwell on the main functions of the garden. There are several main functions of the garden that affect its appearance, in most cases they are intertwined and complement each other.

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The main functions of the garden

1. The sanitary and hygienic function is to improve the microclimate around the house. With skillful placement of plants, it is possible to regulate air flows, increase its humidity, temperature, and block the path of cold winds. Green spaces are a natural filter that reduces air pollution, cleans it of dust and harmful emissions, and drowns out noise. The plot serves as a continuation of the house and is united with it by platforms with outdoor furniture and lamps.

2. Socio-aesthetic function is the beauty of the garden, which cannot exist by itself, in isolation from its other purposes. It is impossible not to take into account the natural conditions, the nature of the soil, climate, water regime, the relief existing on the site and the surrounding vegetation; undoubtedly, national traditions also influence the appearance of the garden. To plan a site, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What do you want from your garden?
  • What should be there?
  • What materials and funds are you counting on?

Without taking into account the basic functions of the garden, as well as without an honest and clear answer to the above questions of the garden, you will not succeed. Because its appearance depends not only on knowledge of how to do it, but also on the inner state of each person; after all, a garden is a reflection of the vital activity of each individual. Now let's go directly to the rocky garden.

A rocky garden, or rockery, is a special type of garden in which only mountain plant species are grown. In our rocky garden, any dwarf plants are used, including garden ones. A rocky garden can be located on a slope, in the form of a retaining wall or a terrace, even in a place that is unfavorable for most garden plants. It is only important to choose the right assortment of plants that meet these conditions. Plants for rocky gardens should be in harmony and not overshadow each other. Decorative deciduous perennials and dwarf evergreens are especially valuable.

The soil for this garden should not be acidic, most mountain plants prefer slightly acidic or slightly alkaline soil. As a rule, plants used in rocky gardens are not only drought-resistant, but also intolerant of excess moisture in autumn. Winter is one of the most difficult seasons in the life of a rockery. Plant roots located in frozen and supercooled soil are unable to adequately provide plants with moisture. Since many of them do not shed their leaves for this period and retain green shoots, in snowless winters a lack of moisture often leads to the drying out of the aboveground part of the plants, and, consequently, to death.

You will get great pleasure watching the life of various plants in a small space among lifeless stones, on which you can walk, resting your body and soul. Probably everyone had a chance to feel what peace and joy the beautiful landscape brings. A walk in a blooming garden awakens hopes, gives birth to dreams, purifies the soul. They say that an elegant, well-maintained plot is expensive. And how to estimate how much the first beauty lessons received by a child in the garden near their home cost? And if your children grow up constantly contemplating a rickety fence, overgrown beds, rags of torn film swaying in the wind, will they love this place, this land? The garden, as the creation of human hands, does not exist by itself. He is a reflection of our way of life, thoughts and feelings, evidence of the level of culture and everyday life.

Seat selection

For a rocky garden, the most noticeable and frequently visited corner is assigned, which is placed at the entrance to the house on the front side of the site, near the terrace or next to the recreation area. This choice of location is predetermined by the characteristics of evergreens. It is undesirable to make a rocky hill in the center of a large open area or far from the main traffic routes. To prevent the small garden from getting lost among the spacious lawn, it is supplemented with other objects, creating a single decorative complex. Moreover, the total area of the complex must be at least one fifth of the open space, otherwise the effect of balance will not be achieved. When choosing a place in the classic case, you should avoid the neighborhood with large plants: this visually reduces the size of the structure and violates the illusion of a part of the wild mountain landscape.

Construction of a rocky garden

The construction of a small rocky slide begins with the creation of a drainage base. A hill is poured from gravel, rubble, giving it the approximate shape of a future hill. When calculating the height, the subsidence of the soil is taken into account at least 1/4 of the original height. The surface of the hill is covered with a layer of sand of about 20 cm, and then with a layer of soil 20-30 cm. The base requires shrinkage within two months. To do this, it is necessary to constantly water the hill. The rest of the soil is added gradually, as large support boulders are laid, which are buried in the ground at the foot of the hill, forming the first tier. By the same principle, other large specimens are installed, forming the remaining tiers.

All stones must be stable so that it is safe to walk on them. For more naturalness and retention of the soil, it is necessary to choose their optimal position when laying. Those that have a wide base are dug in with a plane downward with the lining of the foundation, this creates the impression of a massive boulder, only partially protruding to the surface. Stones with a beveled edge or spall are most suitable for strengthening terraces. They are installed so that the flat part faces the back of the slide. This creates "pockets" that are filled with earth and used for planting. Split stones are good for creating narrow slit holes where mountain plants with deep roots are planted. A spacer stone is placed in the gap and additional drainage is poured.

For the slide to look natural, the composition must be asymmetrical. This is not an easy task, but otherwise the whole structure will resemble a cake or a pyramid. There are original techniques for constructing circular terraces. The combination of 2-3 terraces with a single wall of dry masonry is very effective. Stairs and transitions will diversify the impression.

A split gorge or the use of hidden stones gives the slide a special originality. All ugly stones must be almost completely dug in or covered with earth. However, they can perform several functions:

  • support the base of the terrace;
  • serve as a support for outdoor stones;
  • create an asymmetric broken line of the slide.
rockery, retaining wall
rockery, retaining wall

Choosing a stone for a rocky garden

The choice of stone for a rocky garden is an essential element in shaping the look of a rocky garden. The material can be natural stones of your area and soil. Do not use pieces of concrete or pressed stone instead of natural stone. Try to select stones of the same type for your garden, weighing from 12 to 100 kg, with an uneven surface. For a rock garden measuring 3x15 m, 1-2 tons of stones are required. It is advisable to take a stone of the same breed: boulders, cobblestones, pebbles; karst sandstone, dolomite. Limestone, tuff, shale, granite, and basalt are also suitable. The last two breeds compare favorably with the others in their high strength. At the design stage, a stylistic feature of your entire composition is created, where the line decides a lot. This line may turn out to be dash-dotted, for which karst sandstone is suitable. If you are fascinated by round and oval shapes, then a boulder-pellet or Black Sea pebble suggests itself. If vertical lines predominate, then you will have to look for rock fragments. Rocky rocks affect the composition of the soil, and therefore the composition of the plants in your garden: after all, when weathered, stones decompose and give up their particles to the soil. Soils around basalt, granite stones or sandstones are neutral or acidic.

The shape of the stones plays a huge role in the aesthetic perception of a rocky garden. Flat stones are good for a rocky steppe garden. Large, rounded boulders are suitable for creating an expressive group of stones. Both types of stones can be used to make rock walls. And stable flat stones are an excellent building material for stairs and paths. The color of the stone depends on the natural conditions of the area and, naturally, on your taste. Light-colored stones look welcoming and are good for shady rocky gardens. Dark stones look darker, and in the sun they become an additional source of heat. This must be taken into account when selecting plants, since not all plant species tolerate excess heat. A very interesting rocky garden can be arranged using tuff. Its uniqueness lies in the factthat it has a porous structure and is capable of absorbing water in large quantities. Tuff is a very soft stone and it is easy to drill or gouge a hole in it. All this allows you to successfully grow plants on it. It is striking that some difficult-to-grow alpine plants thrive on tuff, but die in other conditions.

A stone for a rocky garden is the basis, therefore special requirements are imposed on it. It is desirable that it be homogeneous in origin and poorly processed, more "wild". Particularly good are chipped, but already aged lumps. This does not mean that you cannot use ironed boulders or dissimilar stones, but in this case, creating a natural composition becomes more difficult. It is more rational to take local rocks and not forget about their specific features.

• Granite is a decorative, but heavy and "cold" stone. The soil next to it quickly turns sour.

• Tuff is light and strong, it nourishes the roots well with air, plants grow well next to it and on it. Another indisputable advantage over granite: tuff neutralizes acidic soil.

• Calcareous rocks such as Pudozh stone or travertine are a versatile material. In the form of blocks, they are used for terraces and imitation of rocks, and split into slabs - ideal for paving walls of dry masonry and stairs.

Sequence of planting plants in a rocky garden

Most "hill" plants gravitate towards stones, therefore, planting must be carried out next to them. When placing several species on one terrace, they are separated by small stones, which are laid loosely, flat on the surface, and rounded ones are dug into 2/3 of the height. Anywhere, except for narrow terraces, species of evergreens can be planted. Only in crevices between stones or slabs on the walls of dry masonry dwarf mountain forms of miniature ferns will grow well. On the slopes, which are transitions between the terraces, ground cover forms are planted, forming dense carpets. They save the soil from erosion.

Narrow deep slots filled with drainage are suitable for plants that cannot tolerate stagnant water, for gentian, dwarf bells. On the steep rocky walls, species with cascading shoots or inflorescences look great: saponaria, bells.

The sequence of work is as follows: first of all, spectacular evergreens are planted. These are boxwoods, rhododendrons, they form the basis of the composition. To visually enlarge the low hill, columnar or pyramidal plants of cypress, juniper, and thuja are planted on its top. Dwarf spherical shapes look good in the center, their proportions correspond to stones. At the edge, creeping junipers, spruces and pines are spectacular. Next are planted powerful herbaceous plants with a strong root system, Siberian irises. At the end comes the turn for ground cover plants, planting small single plants.

When creating a rocky garden, it is very important to provide for a system of paths leading to resting places and other romantic corners of the garden.

garden path
garden path

Garden Walking Path Network

The network of natural stone footpaths and the nature of their coverage largely determine the look of any garden. However, in most cases, all the subtleties of the design of the paths need to be discussed in conjunction with landscape architecture. This has its advantages, since in this case it is easier to take into account the features of an already formed garden. The path leading to the house can be paved with large pore red clinker and light granite paving stones.

Before paving the path, you need to make a markup and make an accurate sketch. Only after that it will become clear which stones are suitable for paving.

For example, natural stone paths are made by selecting stones and the correct layout, thereby achieving a decorative and artistic effect. Such paths are laid out on a sandy base. Deepening should be counted on the largest stones. For flat hewn stones of small or medium size, flat masonry is used. The base should be 5-10 cm thick, with their large dimensions, the laying is carried out at intervals of 5-8 cm, which are then covered with earth and sown with grass. Paths from rubble and small hewn stone are laid at intervals and with subsequent jointing. They are filled with a solution to the level of the upper surface of the stones or a little more for better water flow from the track.

Laying natural stone is much more troublesome. Granite, porphyry, basalt, gneiss and sandstone are of different sizes. However, it is precisely due to the variety of sizes and shapes of the constituent elements that the paths lined with natural stone are so attractive. Due to the different sizes of natural stones, they have to be adjusted to each other when laying on a sand cushion. In this case, at the joints, slots that are uneven in width are formed, in which weed grass grows after a while.

Coarse sand is poured into the base of the track and tamped tightly. The top layer of sand is leveled with a rail that is moved along the guides. First, the "river arms" are laid out with red clinker. The seams between it should be about 3 mm. Shaped elements are cut to the size of the stones, the gap between the "river arms" is filled with sand, taking into account the height of the paving stones. The top layer of sand is leveled.

stone staircase
stone staircase

Construction of stairs in a rocky garden

The technology of building stairs in a rocky garden - one of the simplest methods - is dry masonry, which is equally applicable to retaining walls. Construction begins with the laying of the bottom step. All steps are based on foundations that ensure the stability of the entire structure and lie on sand and gravel dump, which can only be neglected on sandy soils.

The simplest way of laying is to put the next slab with support on the previous slab, under which part of the support stones are placed. You can also plant plants between the steps.

How to do it? The steps of such a staircase rise by 10-15 cm and are built in isolation at a distance of 5-10 cm from one another. Each of the slabs has its own foundation base on a drainage pad. Earth is poured into the gaps between the steps and carpet plants are planted.

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retaining wall
retaining wall

Retaining wall for rocky garden

The retaining wall for a rocky garden is the best place to plant miniature and rocky plants. For the stability of the structure, a foundation is made. The technology is similar to that of brickwork. Stones or slabs are laid in layers. If a slab is larger than the cameos of the lower tier, it should be balanced with supporting stones dug under it. Each next row is laid with an indent from the previous one, the wall is not vertical, but with a slope. After laying the next layer of stones, the earth is poured and compacted behind them. Sometimes drainage is necessary. A feature of dry masonry is the ability to arrange places for planting plants in the walls. Stones are stacked on top of each other with a layer of earth, this technology not only allows planting, but also reduces the deformation effect in frost and heat.

Retaining wall construction

The technology of building a retaining wall made of natural stone provides for a monolithic unreinforced concrete foundation. The wall thickness depends on its height (for example, at a height of 1 m, the thickness should be 250 mm). The foundation evenly transfers the mass of the structure to the ground and provides a clean and level masonry surface. As a rule, it should have three times the width of the wall being erected. The thickness of the concrete layer for a 1 m high wall is approximately 150 mm. The concrete is placed in a trench on a well-compacted gravel base 50 mm thick. Moreover, the upper level of the foundation should be 150 mm below ground level.

Wall masonry resembles brickwork: it is also carried out in rows. For each row, stones close in height should be selected; the inevitable irregularities are compensated by filling in smaller fractions or by selecting the appropriate stones for the next row. In the lower part, it is also necessary to lay drainage pipes spaced 1 m apart from each other. This is best done after removing the masonry from the ground. After finishing the construction of the retaining wall (regardless of its material and shape), a general drainage is arranged from the side of the upper terrace: a layer of gravel 70-100 mm thick is poured between the wall and the ground. This is done at the same time as adding soil.

Leveled terraces should have a slight slope to ensure drainage. The soil level of the upper part should be slightly lower than the wall, since it will still be necessary to fill in the fertile layer removed before starting construction. Decorative walls are also used to divide the site into functional zones. They are, as a rule, not high - up to 1.5 m, made of any material - concrete, stone.

retaining wall
retaining wall

Timing of construction of a retaining dry stone wall

For the construction of a retaining dry stone wall, early spring or autumn is best suited. The primary role in the construction of a dry wall is played by stone, the most often used are limestone, tuff, slate in the form of plates of various thicknesses - this facilitates their laying. The wall is also made of rocks and rocks and even boulders using the dry masonry method. It is better to use flat stones, but you can also use rounded ones. However, a wall made of rounded stones will not be particularly stable, since the support area is small. In this case, the base of the wall should be made wider.

The stones do not have to be of the same size; small stones are also useful to fill the voids that have formed. Mortar or cement is out of the question. The joint mixture, which also serves as a source of fertilizers, is prepared from 2/3 clay or clay garden soil and 1/3 mullein.

After you have determined the place and outlined the outlines of the wall with a cord, you need to dig a trench under the foundation. With a wall height of one meter, the trench should be 50 cm wide and 30 to 50 cm deep. Low walls can be made without a foundation. On sandy soils, a layer of rubble should be laid to strengthen the base. A layer of crushed stone or expanded clay is also necessary on heavy soils for drainage. The direct construction of the wall begins below the soil level. For this, use the largest stones that provide the wall with the necessary stability. Fill the cracks with clay soil, which is blocked in the cracks with a strong stream of water. There is no need to add a mullein to the base of the foundation.

When laying bricks, avoid cruciform joints. As in the construction of a house, stones are laid with an offset. In section, the wall looks like a truncated cone. For the topmost layer, stable flat stones are used. Supporting dry walls are built at the support with a slope of 15 percent: for each meter of wall height, its narrowing should be 15 cm. The seams are also offset with respect to the slope or center. Free-standing dry walls are filled in the middle with rubble, small stones and earth. At the top, they should have a depression that serves as a reservoir to collect water. The retaining walls are also filled in accordingly.

retaining wall with plants
retaining wall with plants

Planting plants on a retaining wall

It is very important to combine wall construction with planting. Late planting is undesirable, as large roots are difficult to push through the cracks. Plants are planted according to their requirements for growing conditions and location, keeping in mind that it is cooler and more moisture at the base of the wall than at the top.

Carpet plants that take root in cracks in rock are extremely resilient and unpretentious. Their natural habitat - mountains - made them so. These plants form a dense plant cushion over time, thanks to which they are able to withstand dry high mountain winds. The leaves of these species are leathery or completely covered with hairs, which allows them to withstand intense heat and incinerating sunlight. Only such an organization allowed them to survive in the most difficult, extreme conditions. The names themselves: saxifrage, tenacious, beetroot indicate the special qualities of plants.

To create a decorative composition on the stones, different wood species are selected. Evergreens will make the garden unique all year round. They can be different in height, the nature of branching - small-branched with filamentous hanging shoots. These can be creeping forms with spreading shoots; plants in the form of a compact spherical bush, curly or forming carpet thickets.

In decorative rock compositions, you can replace plants, constantly supplementing their composition or limiting the growth of certain species by pruning. With the right selection, taking into account the color of flowers and leaves, such a wall will look spectacular throughout the year. Dwarf forms of natural origin are found in many trees and shrubs: European spruce, common juniper, cypress, thuja.

Rock flower walls are erected mainly at the entrance to the garden, near the fences. And at the foot of the wall they arrange a mini-reservoir, a waterfall, a trickle. Plants are planted with dry stone walls made of natural durable, roughly processed stone of the same breed. Usually, stones are chosen that are the most attractive in color and shape, forest boulders covered with moss or lichen, fragments of granite blocks.

In this case, it is imperative to take into account the biological characteristics of the planted plants. So, limestone and dolomite rocks absorb water well. However, only those plants that can grow on calcareous soils can be grown on them. Sandstones have a neutral reaction, acidic and slightly acidic - granites, many spars and gneisses. It is very important that the stone walls are a beautiful background for the plants, for example, gneisses containing mica look spectacular.

So, let's summarize.

When constructing a rock wall, rubble is poured into its base or concrete is poured, stones are laid without fastening them with a lime mortar. 3-4 cm wide gaps are left between the stones, which are filled with light dry fertile soil and plants are planted in them. The most suitable planting earth mixtures of the following composition: 2 parts of sod land, 1 part of peat, 1 part of mullein.

Plants are planted in the wall as soon as it is ready. The seedlings are carefully immersed in the hole, covered with earth from above, compacted, the plant should sit firmly in the ground. After planting, they are carefully watered. Rocky flower walls do not require special maintenance. If, when constructing the wall, you lay stones with a slight slope back, then rainwater can fall into the cracks. Occasionally, in the absence of rain, the plants are watered; 2-3 times a year they are fed with a weak solution of mineral fertilizers.

Not far from such a stone wall, it is advisable to install a water spray or periodically spray the plants on hot, dry days. Only light should be in excess, so the walls are trying to be oriented to the south, southeast or southwest.

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