Although this garden style title emphasizes rock gardens along coastal areas, these dramatic landscape statements can be incorporated into most garden styles, including slopes (see Rock Gardens on Slopes below). Many Southern California areas have native boulders in the areas surrounding the home sites or on the property itself. The Coastal Rock Garden is best used if you wish to have your landscape reflects the natural look of the area surrounding your home. Whether you live in a patio home or an estate, there is a place for a relaxing rock garden in your life. The rocks may be small and flat, or larger angular specimens of various shapes, textures, and colors. Rock gardens incorporate a variety of low-growing, flowering shrubs and herbaceous perennials that become a secondary focal point for any garden. Artificial rock is also an excellent alternative, especially if a stream with cascading waterfalls is planned. Or, add a dry stream with rocks and/or decorative gravel meandering through the garden.
Rock Garden Elements: The best choice for a rock garden style is an informal, flowing landscape theme. However, rock gardens may be formalized, especially when used as retaining walls, garden walls, or at the bottom of slopes. The main elements are properly placed rocks and boulders featuring elevations changes, however slight. Depending on the scale of your yard, the correct rocks and boulders must be selected. Not to big, not too small. Natural looking, like you built your home around them.
Rock Garden Plants: The best rock gardens feature small, low-growing plants in groupings. Choices include Creeping Thyme, Sea Pink, Dwarf Mondo Grass, Alyssum, Snow-In-Summer, Blue-Eyed Grass, and Floral Carpet Roses combined with herbaceous plants such as Iris, Dianthus, and seasonal bulbs.
Fantasy Rock Gardens – “Fairy Gardens”
Fantasy ornaments give your garden a “fairy tale theme”. Examples are miniature statues, castles, paths, caves, and bonsai trees with cascading water. The fantasy features must be the same scale, including the plants. Think of Walt’s miniature gardens at Disneyland®. There is no reason why your yard can’t look like a scaled-down version of the Magic Kingdom®.
Rock Gardens on Slopes
A rock garden on a slope can look breathtaking, in both your front and back yard. The rock garden combines color, texture, and slope stabilization. The best “slope look” occurs on the bottom third of the slope with larger, exposed rocks arranged in groupings on the upper two-thirds of the slope. Maintaining low shrub masses affords slope stabilization and “shows off” the rocks.