30 Most Beautiful and Attractive Rock Garden Ideas

Rock Garden Ideas – A so-called garden that we know is a living form ongoing cycle of lives. Normally it shows green foliage sprouting from the soil, growing branches, blooming vibrant flowers and maturing crops. On the contrary, what if a garden is not always necessarily any of those things?

In fact, even after we eliminate all living elements out of the system, in some way it still is a garden. Rock garden is a type of garden which emphasizes in the variety of rocks. So when you come to a rock garden, expect to look at rocks and less plants. Yet more importantly, expect meditative spirits because it is what a rock garden is about.

After all, rock garden is known for its low maintenance feature. While the design of a rock garden involve fewer plants, the needs of watering and fertilization are low. Thus, it is almost effortless to keep things looking nice all year round. However, the homeowner’s challenge would be the design. A careless planning makes a rock garden emit boring shade rather than meditative. To bring out the most of your rock garden, we provide more than 20 of rock garden ideas worth-to-try for your design.

Read also: Succulent Garden Ideas

How to Make Rock Garden?

Rock Garden Ideas
Image Source: hogsportstalk.com

In a way, rock garden gains many influences from its origin culture, which dates back to Taoism and Buddhism in Asia. In their belief, rockery arrangements summon the mythological God of nature they worship to guard their garden. Apart from this historical value, rock garden became famous worldwide around the twentieth century. It was when people tried to recreate natural scenes where the place has difficult growing condition due to limited irrigation. The idea of a rock garden will work with a careful planning in advance. But before jumping on to the design, it is only right to know the essentials of creating a rock garden.

Prepare the area

Firstly, the owner needs to clear away any shrubs and underbrush from the area. Thoroughly clear up the roots by digging them out using a shovel. It is important to create an edge to prevent gravels or mulch from drifting away outside the area. Then, start outlaying the garden. Marking certain points in your area according to your design is useful for the set up later.

Set up the rocks

Rocks come in many types, each has its own shapes and special properties. In that case, the design requires the owner to specifically pick the right stones for the yard. Mound the bigger boulders on previously marked area. As boulders can create crevices, use gravels and smaller rocks to cover them up. Most importantly, make some spaces for the plants, as well as the need for the drainage and the irrigation afterwards.

Cultivate the plants

Plants are optional but a little addition will enhance the overall artistic look for the garden. Nevertheless, the addition of plants should consider to suit the climate. Through the selection of plants, choosing colorful plants will create natural look to the rock garden.

Decorate for additions

If it is possible, other decorative such as making walkway out of stones and adding mulch will complement the garden. The stepping stones allow the owner to water the garden and work as a decorative purpose. Flagstone are commonly used as stepping stone. Finally, scatter mulch around the area over the soil for weed prevention and help conserve the soil moisture. Mulch also create flawless finish look for the rock garden rather than leaving the soil uncovered and bare.

What Grows in A Rock Garden?

Rock garden ideas
image source: Southern Living

Although not all plants can grow in a rocky garden condition, still there are plenty kinds of plants that does. However the owner should consider the living condition of the plants. As the rock garden is originally intended for harsh environments, the plants must survive accordingly. For instance, the preferred plants should have properties of drought-resistance and keep moisture well.

In accordance with the condition, the climate also takes part. Hot, sunny areas and cool, shady areas grow different variety of plants. Cooler area supposedly be a good condition for plants that drains excess water well. Hence, knowing the area of the garden and match the living condition of the preferred plants is critical for the planning.

The smaller or the larger area of rock garden may have different selection of the plants. Small plants are best to fill a smaller rock garden. Succulents, such as hens-and-chicks are common option for small rock garden. Other astonishing options for small rock garden including yellow alyssum, candy-tuft and blue fescue grass. Whereas for larger rock garden, lavenders, Shasta daisy, and cone-flower are perennial and boost the garden’s natural charm.

Read also: DIY Flower Pots

What Is The Best Rock for Gardening?

rock garden ideas
image source: dopay.info

Rock garden ideas
Image source: hutchesonsand.com

Rock garden ideas
Image source: mysticaldesignsntags.blogspot.com

The best rock for gardening would depend on how the rocks and other elements in the garden complete one another. Typically, preferences on the size, color and texture are the consideration in choosing the best rock for gardening. The most affordable option probably to use decomposed granite. Its tiny, gritty texture is common for pathway or ground covering. Similarly, pea gravel has equivalent purposes, however pea gravel come in various color ranging from ivory to tan.

Then, there is river rock. Unlike the other kinds of rock, river rock has peculiar smooth and sleek look. It has mild and soothing color varies from light to darker tone. Particularly, Asian-inspired gardens use river rock to enhance the Asian shade on Zen and serenity.

Beyond that, large boulder stone is often placed as centerpiece in a garden. It weighs fairly heavy and needs more effort in the set up. However, it has apparent presence to show the highlight of certain element the owner want to show in the garden.

Small Rock Garden Ideas

Home garden with small area may apply rock garden with a design that is simply neat in general. Typically, a good small spaces optimization has a compact design with a sense of lively color. Therefore these ideas show that nature can be conserved in a little place.

Meditative Zen Garden

Rock Garden ideas
Image source: garden mentors

This Zen garden comprises almost every element of Earth. For instance, the mountain and plateau, symbolized with large boulders. Cushion bush represents the plants as living form. Natural elements of water and rocks keeping the harmony of solid and liquid in nature.

Vibrant Rock Garden

Rock Garden Ideas
image source: LDAW Landscape Architecture, PC

Using vibrant plants for sloped rock garden ideas add vivacity to boulders in small garden. First, mound the soil then firmly place the boulders from the bottom and work things to the top. Fill the crevices with hardy and vibrant plants, like Mugo Pine and Sedum. Lastly, finish by covering the remaining area with mulch, gravels and river rocks.

Mediterranean Style Rock Garden

Rock garden ideas
Image source : NC Designs

Recreating riverbed scene using granite rocks and river rocks works as a drought-tolerant pathway. In addition, the small wooden board ornate as a small bridge. As it is raining, the water will be collected in the rock riverbed making it looks like a mini river.

Modern Rock Garden

Rock garden ideas
Image source: Jim Tetro

This small rock garden uses river rocks in lighter tones alongside with flagstones as the stepping stone. The rock garden sunk a few inches deeper than the ground level, bordered with mulch on the outer side. Overall, this is a perfect model of rock garden ideas for backyard in Asian-shade contemporary house.

Mound Rock Garden

Rock garden ideas
Image source: CT

In particular, this mound rock garden is inspired by Victorian style garden. A heap of soil creates a bed for flagstones and large river rocks. Additionally, perennials flowers and grass fill the wide gap between the stones. Thus the mound makes an astounding centerpiece for front yard rock garden ideas.

Simple Rock Garden Ideas

Designing a garden is not a matter of putting together a lot of elements in a system. Sometimes the more is indeed merrier, yet in contrary, less could also be more. Basically, adopting simplicity and minimalism in a garden is not a sin, the value would be how the garden helps deliver the character of its surroundings.

Front Patio Rock Garden

Rock garden ideas
Image source : myamazingthings.com

In the light of rock garden border ideas, river rocks make the border and accentuate the front patio. Using river rocks in lighter shade creates a highlight to the green bushes and the sansevieria. Hence the addition of river rocks sets the plants apart from the grass and makes the garden seems wider.

Risen Bed Rock Garden for Backyard

Rock garden ideas
Image source: scorpiolandscaping.blogspot.com

Fitting rocks in wood logs raised bed have double roles. Firstly, it is an edging rock garden ideas to alter the gauche space in the edges. Then it improves the space to be recreational area, a barbecue stand, for instance. It is both clever and appealing.

Indoor Squared Rock Garden

Rock garden ideas
Image source : pinterest.ru

Visibly, this small garden fits a complete landscape in a square meter worth. The owner uses necessary soil, mulch, and plants that would survive indoor. Thus the indoor rock garden ideas are shown with different sizes of boulders amongst river rocks and the flagstone border.

Effortlessly Tranquil Rock Garden

Rock garden ideas
Image source : modern landscape

This dry landscape design may be the most simple manner of easy rock garden ideas. It requires only fine pea gravel mimicking the allure of ripples and ocean waves. The most apparent element would be the sole boulder stone. Though simple, this design among other modern rock garden ideas is a concentration of calm atmosphere. In addition, it needs little maintenance almost effortless set up

Planting Border Rock Garden

Rock garden ideas
Image source: Top Trimming Landscaping & Maintenance

Rock garden plant ideas make use of large river rocks to border the garden. Primarily, it simply shapes and define the garden. This garden design gives off a great deal of rustic vibe from the exposed soil. Furthermore the rocks are stacked just as it is and hence looking effortlessly natural

Rock Garden Landscaping Ideas

Principally, landscaping ideas using rock garden emphasize unique condition of the existing scene. However, the architect should properly assess every properties a land can have. It is done in order to fully see the potential of the land and elevate what is necessary. To put it differently, the work is either to improve aesthetically or add purpose to the certain area, or possibly both.

The Pathway Rock Garden

Rock garden ideas
Image source: Jay Sifford Garden Design

Pathway is basically the long route where it is safe to step on without ruining the garden. Additionally its purpose is to make room for maintenance works. However the styling does matter. By spreading the river rocks unevenly bordered by boulders on one side, it creates highlight to an eclectic garden.

Rock Garden Inspired by Waterfalls

Rock garden ideas
Image source: Pacifica Landscape Works Inc.

An exceptional thing to design a hillside rock garden ideas is that it’s a suitable condition to add water feature. Boulders direct the way water flows then the stream disappears beneath the hill where river rocks fills the area. Japanese blood grass and various maiden grass enhance the true natural scene, complements rocks garden ideas for hillside area.

Crevice Landscaping Combined to Rock Garden

Rock garden ideas
Image source: ZH Design

Flagstone are commonly used for making walkway by placing them horizontally flat on the ground. However this rare rock garden make use of flagstone by placing them vertically. Afterwards, smaller rocks and gravels fill up the crevices.

Moss Rock Garden

Rock garden ideas
Image source: Kikuchi + Kankei Design Group

This landscaping for shaded rock garden ideas draws attention to moss and ferns. Meanwhile medium sized boulders are stacked up for ferns, a few boulders are made to look dropped. Then moss is covering the rocks, soil and decaying chopped off tree, creating a native scene for artificial jungle.

Cultural Rock Garden

Rock garden ideas
Image source : fun.365.orientaltrading.com

This design recreates Asian shade landscape using pami pebbles as rock bedding and stepping stones laid over. Japanese black pine tree grows and the foliage pruned in cloud-like form. In addition, the arrangement of Sonomi fieldstone and temple lantern decorate the landscape.

Painted Rock Garden Ideas

For many people, a fun project always involve the colorful paints and a paintbrush. Apparently a stone garden can be an alternative media for painting. Thus, this project ideas customize the color of boulders and rocks for an unusual garden.

The Humble Ladybug

Rock garden ideas
Image source: plaid crafts

The large river rocks with smooth surface is great to paint. The concept of Ladybug is that it has vibrant color that would bring excitement and joy to the garden. Ladybug is a symbol of summer, which similarly the season of excitement. Hence it makes your garden looks like vibrant summer all year long.

Rock Garden of Children’s Fantasy

Rock garden ideas
Image source: evany-hobby-home.com

While it’s imaginary, a children’s tale fantasy is pure and somewhat beautiful, it can be a wonderful tiny rock garden ideas. It is a combination of fairy garden: a tiny house where the garden elf lives, tiny plants, tiny decorations. Combined to rocks as the garden bed, they transform the whimsical myth to true form.

The Pond Illusion

Rock garden ideas
Image source: michelle myers

Paint the pond to the garden rather than create the real one is unusual yet exceptional art. As the painted pond is low maintenance, it is also one way to save water. Place the boulders around the pond, keep the real colors, thus creating three dimensional pond illusion.

Spring Is Around The Corner

Rock garden ideas
Image source: addictdecor.com

Spring is the season of hope and a time when flowers bloom after a long winter. Knowing that spring is in fact around the corner all year round is real pleasure to the garden. Furthermore, it defines the garden, give more color and character to the garden.

A Family Project

Rock garden ideas
Image source: addictdecor.com

Weekend comes following a long weekday and a family spends time together. As a bonding project, the idea of painting flat stones for backyard is quite fun. At the same time, parents can trigger the kids’ creativity with paints while sharing moments together to get closer.

Miniature Rock Garden Ideas

Succulent Mini Rock Garden

Rock garden ideas
Image source: worldofsucculents.com

It uses small decorative pebbles on the top layer as the bed for the hens-and-chicks. The materials are easy to found and there are various custom designs to try in succulent rock garden ideas. Moreover the garden can be redesigned and reconstructed easily. Hence it is a fun project to try with children to enhance their creativity.

Rock Garden For Your Wooden Box

Rock garden ideas
Image source: Deb Arrington

This is a perennial rock garden ideas that fit inside a square box. Using flat stones to create harsh texture for the mini garden, it looks particularly surreal.

Personally Customized Zen Rock Garden

Rock garden ideas
Image source: robinageloves.blogspot.com

These days people don’t have to own a large yard to create one of zen rock garden ideas. Granted creativity, everyone can customize their own zen garden personally. Just like the real zen garden, sand and some river rocks are enough to represent lands and water flows. Any other addition would be personal preference.

Herb Rock Garden

Rock garden ideas
Image source: gardenvarietyhoe.blogspot.com

Growing aromatic herb in a personal container is purposeful. While it also gives a natural scent which is relaxing in some way, it also serves decorative purpose. Therefore it is worth to try combining them with decorative gravels as ideas for rock garden.

Rock Garden Over The Table

Rock Garden ideas
Image source: sarah gordon

This over-the-table rock garden is ideal as a personal entertainment. As some people are spending most of time indoor, it is inevitably bad for their mental well-being. While nature has its own charm for stress-relieve, it is pleasant to bring a little piece of nature closer.


In summary, anywhere can adopt the concept of rock garden. It can be on the ground, whether in a small yard or wide landscape, or inside a compact movable space. With several considerations, it can be built outdoor or indoor. Wherever it is, be thoughtful in planning the garden in advance especially in choosing the rocks and the plants. Finally, in its tranquil charm, rock gardens uplift the unique living character in a way usual garden can’t provide.

Leave a Comment