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Key Advantages of a Garden Rockery

One of the key elements of many landscape garden projects is the rockery – a versatile addition to any space, particularly when the climate or environment might not be ideal.

Compass Garden and Landscape Design, through its landscape garden designer Tim Murphy, has helped to design rockeries for customers in Bristol, Bath and the surrounding area for several years. Here we look at the history of the rockery (including its many different names) and how it can be used to brighten up an otherwise uninspiring space.

The History of the Rockery

The rockery, also known as a rock or alpine garden, originally started in oriental culture, where the focus was on religion and rocks rather than the plants. The rock formations were supposed to attract mythological immortals who lived in the mountains, down into the garden.

In Europe, rockeries first took the form of alpine gardens, which became more popular in the early Victorian era, as people began to travel and bring back non-native plants with them to the UK such as mosses, lichens, and grasses. These were typically found in alpine regions – hence this particular name.

In the US, rockeries became increasingly popular in the early 20th century, and across the world there have been occasional resurgences in this type of garden ever since. Today, the terms ‘rockery’ and ‘rock garden’ are generally interchangeable, although the latter are more likely to replicate a rock formation found in the mountains.

They’re Good in Unhelpful Climates and Environments

Rockeries are the ideal feature if your garden has a lot of humps and bumps, slopes, or different levels. Building a rockery will turn the differences in height into an integral feature of your garden and save greatly on the time and expense of trying to level off the ground.

Rockeries are also a good choice for gardens with poorly irrigated soil. In both cases, the plants you choose should be able to tolerate extreme weather conditions such as drought and extreme cold.

They Look Good All Year Round

Because the plants are hardy, they should be able to survive without too much pruning or weeding around the edges, which is important if you haven’t got too much time to devote to your garden. Rockeries are also suitable for evergreens as well, such as sedums (also known as stonecrop).

If you would like help selecting the right rockery plants for your soil, rock formations, or overall garden environment Compass offer a planting consultancy service to all our customers in Somerset, Wiltshire, as well as all across South-West England.

They Are Sustainable

Rockeries make good use of recycled rubble and other hard core that would normally be sent to waste disposal. This is especially the case if you already had some spare rocks which you didn’t know what to do with.

If you use native species of plants (rather than alpines) they will not only thrive more naturally in the soil, they will also contribute more to your garden’s overall microhabitat and the surrounding ecosystem.

Rockeries also cut down on the amount of space used compared to more conventional flower beds and lawns, which reduces your overall use and demand for water. They also make fantastic homes for insects and other bugs, which help support and sustain the local ecosystem.

There’s Plenty of Choice

Rockeries come in a wide variety of looks based on the size, shape, colour, and type of rock you choose. They can also accommodate many different plant species.

They can fit comfortably into small plots or be quite ambitious and include water features as part of the design. You can also go back to the rockery’s roots by opting for a Japanese Zen garden, or an alpine garden.

Heathers are an excellent choice for UK rockeries. Not only are they low maintenance, they provide colourful foliage throughout the year thanks to winter and summer-flowering varieties. They are also excellent pollinators for other wildlife.

Rockeries Designed by Compass Garden and Landscape Design

If you want a rockery as part of a redesigned garden, then Compass Garden and Landscape Design will help make your dreams become a reality. Garden designer Tom Murphy will provide initial sketches followed by a full design, whether you live in Bristol, Bath, or anywhere in Somerset, Wiltshire or south-west England. He can produce 3D images to help you visualise exactly what your new creation will look like. Our network of reputable local traders will then carry out the work for you.

If you would like to know more about the services Compass Garden and Landscape Design offer, click here to fill in the online form, or call our office on 07920 051549.