If you dream of a garden landscape characterized by an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, it is worth thinking about creating a rock garden. In the stone bed, the ground is not covered with grass and mulch, but with small stones such as gravel and grit. In today’s article we’re going to show you a nice example of Stone bed design on an area of about 12 square meters. We’ll also give you a few tips and ideas on creating a gravel bed and choosing plants.
The stone bed is perfect for creating allotments or as part of a large garden where other flowers can be difficult to thrive. But such corners can still look great and decorative. The stone bed can be created next to the house, in the front garden, near the garden fence, on the terrace. It is an excellent choice for areas in the garden that are exposed to excessive sun or completely in shade, where grass requires frequent watering or does not grow at all.
Stone bed design – advantages of gravel
The small stones in the bed emphasize the beauty of the plants and always make the garden look well-tended. Gravel and grit limit weed growth, protect the roots of plants from the effects of temperature changes and reduce evaporation from the soil. An irrigation system or floor lights can also be hidden under the layer of gravel.
Stone bed design – which plants?
In this example you can immediately see the pleasant contrast between the light gravel surfaces and the fresh colors of the plants. In order to achieve this result, ornamental plants with an expressive shape were planted in the gravel bed. The lush flowering perennials provide the beautiful color accents. When designing stone beds, choose at least some evergreen plants that would still adorn the bed in the cold season, when the garden looks colorless and a little boring.
Plants in the stone bed
When composing, it is also important that two or three groups of plants are of different sizes and heights. In this garden plan, the beautifully sculpted silhouettes of the Rocket Juniper Blue Arrow draws attention. These are combined with a group of low plants: Japanese azaleas and felty hornwort (Cerastium tomentosum). Because of the intense green color and compact shape of the juniper, the garden looks picturesque all year round. But in spring, when the Japanese azalea and hornwort are in full bloom, the garden is overwhelmed by their pink and white flowers. To avoid monotony in garden design, you should use gravel or chippings in at least two sizes – for example, 8-16 mm and 16-32 mm. It is also important to mention that plants that prefer acidic soil cannot be covered with lime and marble chippings because the calcium they contain could harm the plants.
Creating a rock garden – 116 design ideas and some helpful tips
Creating a rock garden – 25 excellent examples of garden design
Designing the front yard – 41 easy-care and modern examples
List of plants in the garden plan
1. gravel 8-16 mm
2. gravel 16-32 mm
3. Sidewalk with wooden disks as stepping plates
4. Rocket Juniper Blue Arrow
5. Japanese azalea
6. Hornwort – Cerastium tomentosum
7. Japanese axillary shrub – Spiraea japonica
8. Mountain pine – Pinus mugo “Pug”
Creating a stone bed – what is important
Before starting to lay out the stone bed, you need to dig up the area and carefully clean it of weeds. A few days later you can remove the top layer of soil to a depth of 10-15 cm. Use this elsewhere in the garden or for the already existing flower beds. The gravel is separated from the garden path with a plastic molded edge.
Determine the location of the plants and dig holes that are twice the size of the plant’s root balls. At the bottom of the hole, spread fertile soil soil with the appropriate pH for the plants you have chosen. Then the bed is filled with a 2 cm thick layer of sand and covered with an air and water permeable rock garden fleece. Cross cuts are made in the fleece for the plants. The fleece is then covered with a 7-10 cm layer of gravel.
On the pavement
The sidewalk in this beautiful example is also covered with gravel. Wooden discs serve as stepping plates and nicely complete the garden image. To design the sidewalk, approx. 10 cm from the ground were excavated. The area was then covered with a 5 cm layer of sand. Then the large wooden discs are placed. These have a diameter of 30 cm and a thickness of 7-10 cm. The gravel (8-16 mm) is then distributed around the wooden discs and smoothed.
Care for the plants and the stone bed design
As a rule, a stone bed does not require a lot of maintenance, but it should by no means be neglected. The leaves must be removed regularly, preferably before they get wet, otherwise they will leave stains on the stones. After that it becomes difficult to clean the stones again. From time to time you have to rake the gravel so that your stone bed always looks neat and well-kept.
Evergreen conifers are a popular element in stone bed design
The advantage of evergreen plants in stony beds is that you will enjoy the green color even in winter, when other plants are no longer so beautiful to look at due to the lack of leaves. Therefore, such types of plants are perfect for the design of stone beds. If you also use light gravel, the green color comes into its own.
Stone bed is separated from the lawn with stones
The bed itself is enhanced when it is framed by a lush green lawn. Use several large stone slabs for the gravel bed and a contrasting color for the gravel that you distribute in the rest of the bed. Since the stones already create plenty of structure, you can choose a more economical planting. Of course, you decide for yourself whether you want green plants or colorful blooming plants.
In the stone bed you can also combine gravel in different colors
If monochrome gravel is too boring for you, simply combine several colors. Since there are pebbles in a wide variety of colors, you won’t have any problems with it. Simply divide the bed into several areas and think about which color you want to use for which area, where plants should be planted and so on. In this way, a wide variety of patterns and motifs can be created, provided you have imagination and desire.
the stone bed is perfect for shady or too sunny spots in the garden
Whether in the shade or in full sun, the stone bed design is suitable for every area in the garden. Because on this you can create a beautiful landscape design without needing a large number of plants. Even in the minimalist garden, where plants are used very sparingly and you still want to create an interesting structure, beds full of pebbles are the perfect variety.
With gravel you can also create different shapes in the bed
Here is an interesting example of designing patterns. If you don’t want to risk that the stones will mix with each other over time due to heavy rain and that the transitions between two colors will become indistinct, simply use metal bed frames that are stuck into the earth. Very thin models are best because they are not so noticeable later. Insert the borders in the desired shape into the still pebble-free bed. Then it can then be filled with stones of any color.
The molded plastic edges offer a wide range of design options
As an alternative to bed borders, shaped edges can also be used for the design of stone beds and for the same purpose. You can create pretty, individual patterns that you can cleanly separate from the rest of the bed. The patterns and the subsequent planting can be played with. What do you think, for example, of this combination of evergreen plants and lavender?
larger trees and bushes are separated from the gravel with natural stones
Just because the bed consists mainly of gravel doesn’t mean that it can’t contain some areas of simple earth in the middle. In the example above, a tree and an evergreen plant have been highlighted in this way, the area being separated from the gravel by composite rings made of natural stone. The strong contrast created by the use of white and red stones is also very nice.
the white gravel contrasts nicely with the wooden terrace and the green plants
Or how about choosing a stone bed design for the terrace instead of the garden? Every type of terrace, but especially larger ones, can be loosened up in this way and look particularly interesting. A contrast is particularly recommended here, as it is created here by white stone and natural wood color. You are also welcome to plant some plants that can replace or complement potted plants.
Perennials, conifers and ground cover do well between the stones
Gravel beds are also a wonderful addition to ponds and other water features, where natural stones are usually also used for design. And it is up to you whether you continue with the lush pond planting or use the bed as a gradual transition to more sparse planting. A mix of green and red leaf colors, green and blooming plants and small and large stones is anything but boring and definitely worth considering. This example shows such a motley bed.
the gravel layer must be loosened regularly with a rake
Eye-catching shrub with red leaves
beautiful color contrasts in the garden
French style garden
green decorative glass stones surround the plants
romantic place in the garden
Highlight in the middle of the lawn
Palm trees grow in the rock garden
brown, gray and white pebbles are separated from each other