When daydreaming about their ideal garden, many gardeners likely picture fields of lush foliage dotted with colorful and fragrant flowers. A yard full of gravel and rocks is a sharp contrast and looks an unlikely spot to find a gorgeous backyard retreat. However, with the proper plants and a bit of creativity, rocks of all shapes and sizes can be incorporated into a landscape that you can be proud of. In fact, you can end up led to the home improvement store for more stone to your own backyard paradise.
Construct dry stream beds to add interest or to decorate places in which you have trouble getting plants to develop. Place a few larger rocks randomly in the middle of the bed and fill in with small gravel or pebbles. Line the edges of the dry creek with plants like creeping penstemon (Penstemon caespitosus), sweet woodruff (Galium odorata), hardy ice plant (Delosperma rubigenum), carpeting bugle (Ajuga reptans) and coral bells (Heuchera sanguinea).
Put big concrete pavers or flat stones, like slate, to make a small sitting area or beams in the backyard. Fill in between the pavers or stones with pea gravel or small ground covers that will grow between stones without creating a tripping hazard, like cushion bolax (Azorella trifurcate “Nana’), miniature mat daisy (Bellium minutum) and blue star creeper (Isotoma fluviattilis).
Plant butterfly-attracting plants like wild lilac (Ceanothus), honeysuckle (Lonicera), sea holly (Eryngium amethystinum) and sweet pea (Lathyrus oderatus) around large rocks with many small indentations or pits to collect water for the butterflies.
Create rock gardens on slanted or sloped areas, arranging stones of different shapes and sizes, spreading loamy topsoil in around the seams of their stones and adding plants like Irish Seas (Daboecia cantabrica), sunrose (Helianthemum nummulariam), sheep burr (Acaena) and European pasque flower (Anemone pulsatilla).