Imagine the focal point of your yard as a natural rock pool and grotto with elevated spa and waterfall. This garden style is best suited for back and side yards, and, depending on the layout of your home, it may be appropriate for the rock work to extend into the front yard in the form of a natural stream with cascading waterfalls, including a bridge over your entry walkway. Since all components have a natural look, the surrounding hardscape and plants must also reflect a free-flowing, informal garden theme. Elevation changes are important, therefore, homes with slopes are excellent sites for artificial rock pools with spas, waterfalls, and grottos. Many of the rock pools I've designed also have a rock slide, often with rock steps meandering up to the slope to the glacier rock pad with seating or composite wood deck overlooking the landscape and the view beyond. The Rock Pool & Grotto Garden works well with tropical plants—palms and large-leaf specimens, or with woodland plants—pines and oak woodland species, including natives.
Rock Pool Elements: A great looking rock pool creates the illusion that your home was built around the body of water and the surrounding rocks and boulders. Therefore, patios and walkways look best when they touch or overlap the rock outcroppings in selected areas of the yard. Patios are made of concrete or brick or stone, depending on the architecture of the home and your taste. Glacier-rock patios that match the surrounding rock can be spectacular. Furniture and accessories should be muted and blend into the natural landscape. I have created natural, native boulder pools and waterfalls, as well as artificial rock pools. Poured-in-place concrete with rock patterns or precast boulders give me the most freedom to create exactly what I’ve designed. Koi ponds and natural ponds are separated by a rock or wooden bridge, allowing for the fish pond to remain separate from the main pool.
Rock Pool Plants: Most of my clients enjoy either a tropical or a forest plant theme. Therefore, your home will feature either Palms, Cycads, Ferns, and shrubs with large, dramatic leaves, or, your yard will take on a forest, woodland look with Pines, Sycamores, California Toyons, Daylilies, Indian Hawthorns, flowering natives, and mass plantings of Blue-eyed Grass, Dwarf Lily Turf and groupings of various ornamental grasses. Planter pockets in the rocks feature cascading plants such as Asparagus Ferns and Star Jasmine. For those of you who plan an Oriental Garden, the rock pool is appropriate, especially with a wooden bridge with a separate koi pond is included. A rock pool can also be applied to a desert or mountain style, making sure, or course, to match the surrounding rock’s form and color.