Sumo Gardener

20 Gorgeous Rock Garden Ideas and Design

Not all gardens have to have big, beautiful flowers. You can create a stunning garden using rocks. Rock gardens can add diversity to your yard while being low maintenance.

And they can look good all year round. Below you will find tips for designing a rock garden along with several rock garden ideas.


What is a Rock Garden?

rock garden designs

A rock garden is commonly referred to as a rockery. Instead of using plants to create a design and add to your outdoor decor, you can use rocks.

Rocks come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Unlike plants that can die or grow too small or big, rocks can be arranged to create an intricate design without changing.

When searching for modern rock garden ideas, look at plants. You can incorporate plants and ornamental structures into your garden. These will add color, interest, and height.

Benefits of a Rock Garden

There are several benefits of building a rock garden. These include:

  • Rock gardens are low maintenance. Just pull the occasional weed and keep your plants watered.
  • They can look stunning while being natural.
  • You can design and build them yourself by looking at other gardener’s rockery ideas.
  • They can be costly upfront depending on where you live and your access to stones. But they require very little maintenance or upkeep once installed.
  • You can use them to create privacy.
  • Are a good choice for busy people and the elderly.
  • A rock garden can look good all year round with very little work.

Planning Your Rock Garden

rock garden ideas

Just as with a traditional flower garden, a rock garden requires planning. When designing your garden take into consideration:

Purpose of Your Rock Garden

What will the space be used for? Will you be using it to meditate? Or maybe have parties? Is it just for curb appeal? You want to know the purpose of the space before you get started.

Will You be Adding Plants to Your Rockery?

Plants are a great way to add visual interest. When choosing your plants, look for ones that are easy to maintain and tolerate drought. Plants that often do well in rock gardens are succulents and ornamental grasses.

Size of the Rock Garden

Take into consideration the size. Installing a new garden takes a lot of work and lifting. Rocks are heavy, and the work can take quite a bit of time.

Different Sizes and Types of Rocks

When designing your rock garden, decide if you want to have a uniform look or do you want large statement pieces. When creating a uniform look, you will want to use rocks that are similar in size.

To make a statement, use rocks that vary in size from large to small. 

Click here to find out the best landscaping rocks you can use for your rockery


Do you want your rock garden to be a uniform color? Or do you want to add interest with contrasting colors? By using contrasting colors, you can create unique designs and depth.

Before you decide, check your local garden stores and quarries to see what is available in your area.

Find the Perfect Location

Take time to consider where you will be installing the rock garden. Once you have it in place, you do not want to relocate it. It can be a lot of hard, strenuous, and time-consuming work.

Beautiful Rock Garden Ideas and Design

Do you want a rock garden, yet you do not know where to start? Take a look at these rockery ideas and Design. They will definitely inspire you to get started designing yours today.

1. Replace Your Mulch With Rocks

Replace your Mulch with Rocks

Source: Scenic Landscaping

Mulch breaks down over time, and it can get expensive to add more year after year. Instead of mulching your flowerbeds, use rocks. The rocks are easy to maintain, and they limit weed growth.

Refer to our guide about rocks vs mulch for more info

2. Create a Spiral Herb Garden

You do not need a lot of room to have a herb garden. And it does not have to be square. Instead of having a boring herb garden, make it artistic with this spiral design.

Here is a list of kitchen herbs you can grow in your garden, including their uses and benefits.

3. Use Large Boulders

Instead of spreading out a lot of small stones, use large boulders. The stones add visual interest, height, and depth. And you can plant bushy shrubs and tall grasses between the stone to add even more interest.

4. Surround Your Pots With Rocks

Surround Your Pots with rocks

Source: GoDIYgo

Flowerpots make it easy to move your plants indoors during inclement weather. Sitting the pots in your yard may look unappealing.

Instead of randomly sitting your flowerpots in your yard, put them in your flowerbeds. Then, surround them with plants and stones. The pots will look as though they belong.

5. Make a Rock Flower Garden

Make a Rock Flower Garden

Source: Decor Home Ideas

If you do not have time to take care of a flower garden, make flowers out of rocks. This is a great way to add color to your yard. It is also a project children can help you with.

6. Artistic Rock Placement

Show off your artistic side by strategically placing the stones.

7. Install a Drey Creek Bed

Install a Drey Creek Bed

Source: Southwest Boulder & Stone

Do you have an area that keeps getting washed out out or is hard to grow plants? Install a dry creek bed. The bed is perfect for adding interest and movement.

8. Build a DIY Gabion Plant Stand

Build a DIY Gabion Plant Stand

Source: Better Homes & Garden

Add height to your flowerbeds with a homemade rock plant stand. You can use these in a traditional flowerbed, on a patio, or in a rock garden.

Simply fill the cage with rocks and add a paver on top to hold a potted plant. (See our collection of plant stand ideas here.)

9. Repurpose Your Birdbath

Repurpose Your Birdbath

Source: Shelterness

Bird baths are not only for the birds. You can make a small rock garden in your bath. You can even add a few succulents for interest and color.

Check out our favorite succulents and how to take care of them here

10. Add Some Spilled Flowers

Spilled flowers are always a beautiful addition to a garden. However, it can be hard to weed eat and mow around them. Instead of surrounding the spilled flowers with grass. Create a rock garden border.

11. Use Contrasting Stone Colors

Contrasting stone color is one of the most popular rock landscaping ideas. Create beautiful, intricate designs with contrasting stone colors.

You can use the stones to construct geometric shapes or organic shapes.

12. Incorporate Steps To Your Garden

Incorporate Steps to your Garden

Incorporate steps into your rock garden. It will make it easier to navigate and add height. Add a seating area at the top of the steps.

13. Use a Single Featured Stone

Use a Single Featured Stone

You do not have to use a lot of stones in your rock garden. Instead, find one large stone as your feature piece.

14. Highlight a Pond

A rock garden is ideal for highlighting a backyard pond or stream. The stones can add interest and design. Add some low-maintenance plants such as ornamental grasses and ferns to add color. 

Learn how to properly trime ornamental grasses here

15. Zen Garden

Zen Garden

Source: Contemporist

Incorporate a Zen garden to your landscaping. Zen gardens are designed to be peaceful and calm.

16. Use Mulch and Stone

Create an eye-catching design by using both mulch and stone in your flower beds. Contrasting colors will add a pop of color. While similar colors will create a subtle pattern.

17. Surround Your Trees with a Rock Garden

It can be hard to grow grass under your tree. And when it does grow. You have to weed eat it and that can damage the tree trunk. Instead of growing grass, surround your tree with a rock garden.

You can add plants, a birdfeeder, a bird bath, and a bench.

18. Flower Pot Rock Garden Design

Flower Pot Rock Garden Design

Source: Instructables

Are you looking for a way to add a garden to your patio? Make a DIY flower pot rock garden. All you need are a few pots, potting soil, rocks, and succulents.

19.  Raised Flower Bed with Rocks and Logs

Make a raised flower bed with rocks and logs. Raising the bed can make it easier to deal with and decorate. Once you have the bed raised, you can add features such as statues, water fountains, plants, birdbaths, oriole feedersand more.

20. Rock Garden To Add Privacy

Rock Garden To Add Privacy

Source: Rob Cardillo

Design your rock garden, so it will add privacy to a seating area. You can incorporate some plants and a water feature to create a calming ambiance.

We Hope You Find Inspiration With These Rock Garden Ideas

Are you searching for a garden that is easy to maintain? It can be hard to stay on top of a traditional garden. Our schedules make it almost impossible.

Instead of spending countless hours every year planting plants and mulching, consider a rock garden. Rock gardens are easy to maintain and there are countless rock garden ideas to inspire your own design.

About the Author Mary

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