Rockery Construction and Planting Tips

A rockery is a great addition to any garden. While it takes care and patience to install and plant properly, once you’re finished, you have a beautiful and eye-catching focal point for your garden. Best of all, after your rockery has had a chance to settle, it’s so easy to maintain.

In this article, we provide you with some handy rockery construction tips that can help you build the ornamental feature you’ve always wanted in your garden.

Consider placement

There’s more to installing a rockery than just placing some stones in the middle of your garden and calling it a day. You should make sure that it fits in with your immediate surroundings and that it doesn’t encroach on other garden features or pathways. This is why most rockeries are often positioned at the bottom of the garden or near the borders, which also often provide protection from direct sunlight.

Choose the rocks carefully

Your choice of rocks is as important as where you put them. They should be of a decent size to allow them to be installed firmly without risk of being pushed aside by plant roots or blown away in a strong breeze. They should also look weathered, as if they’ve been in the same position for centuries, emerging from the soil. For that reason, they should all be the same kind of stone.

Use the right soil

One of the most important rockery planting tips is getting the soil right for your plants. Most plants are shallow-rooted, which makes them easy to plant and thrive but also leaves them susceptible to flooding. For this reason, many people build their rockery on a raised area of their garden. This allows much of the rainwater to roll away thanks to gravity, but you can improve matters by creating a layer of soil that incorporates its own drainage system.

Start with a bulk drainage layer as your foundation of around 8–12 inches in depth. This can be made up of rubble, bits of old concrete, broken bricks, and so on. Next, you need to add a 3-inch support layer of coarse sharp sand, which will allow excess water from the soil to filter through. Finally, choose the right soil for your rockery plants and layer that on top. Ideally, this will be a mixture of good-quality topsoil, gravel, and moss. Avoid compost and other fertilisers, as they make the soil too rich for most rock garden plants.

Make use of natural planting regimes

A rockery shouldn’t look as though it has been worked out to the most minute detail; it should look as though it has sprung up naturally in your garden. While you will want some shallow-rooted plants to act as the centrepiece of your rockery (ferns are a popular choice in cooler regions, while cacti and other succulents work better in warmer climes), don’t be afraid to introduce some natural grasses or small shrubs to grow around them and fill in the space.

Tips for rockery planting and construction: final thoughts

If you’re still not sure how to build a rockery, Prince and Sons Services is here to assist you. We provide a full landscaping service for our customers across the county and surrounding area, including rockery installations. We help with rockery design, construction, and planting, bringing with us decades of relevant, hands-on experience to ensure a finished result you can be proud of. To arrange a visit from one of our landscaping experts or to get a free, no-obligation quote for our services, give the team a call on 01283 242626 or 07968 204999 or send an email to