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Rock your garden: weed control with landscaping stones

by Karen Lawson, All About Lawns Columnist

Installing a rock garden in your yard adds interest to your landscaping plan while requiring little water. If this feature is set up correctly, few weeds can penetrate the landscaping cloth, gravel and rocks.

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Getting started: location and layout

  1. Take care when locating your rock garden. Make sure not to place it over utility, water, sewer or septic lines. Rock gardens containing plants typically require several hours of full sunlight daily. If you're going for the simple design of a rock and gravel layout, you can place your rock garden anywhere.
  2. Use landscaping cloth for weed control. Placing rocks and gravel over landscaping cloth provides a barrier to sprouting weeds.
  3. Border edging defines your rock garden's boundaries and assists with weed control.

Choosing landscaping stones for your rock garden

  • Boulders or large rocks: Scale the size of boulders or rocks according to the size of your project. Choose at least three boulders or larger rocks of similar type for drawing the eye and establishing a basis for placing smaller rocks, gravel and plants. Have landscaping stones professionally delivered and installed as they tend to be much heavier than their appearance suggests.
  • Medium to small rocks for adding textural interest: Select smaller rocks similar in type to your large boulders or rocks. Be careful not to mix too many textures and colors of rocks; your goal is creating a theme that flows throughout your rock garden. Landscape stones and rocks are available from gardening centers and rock retailers.
  • Gravel and mulch: Open space between larger rocks and plants can be covered with decorative gravel such as pea gravel (named for its size) or decomposed granite. When landscaping a large rock garden, you can use gravel or mulch for pathways to and within your rock garden.

Just because your rock garden can boast a lack of weeds, doesn't mean it must be vegetation-free. You can add plants that are perfectly suited to your climate's resources and create an easy-maintenance, environmentally friendly yard.


About the Author
Karen Lawson practices high desert gardening at her home in northern Nevada where her dogs assist with digging holes for planting. Karen earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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