Landscaping with stones & plants

Updated November 21, 2016

The trend of garden design involves decorating surfaces with other materials besides shredded hardwood mulch or pine needles. Stone mulches provide an alternative for gardeners to update the look of their gardens. Landscaping with stones and plants lends itself to a more sparse landscape design to accentuate the details of the stones. This blending of rock and plants showcases your beautiful plants. Let's look at how to perform landscaping with stones and plants to create a beautiful, memorable garden.

Prepare your garden bed by removing as many weeds as possible. Unlike shredded mulches, stone landscaping materials can't be removed easily so weeding can be difficult. Add compost or soil conditioner to create the best possible organic growing environment for your plants.

Place a garden weed mesh barrier to discourage weeds. This product comes in rolls that can be cut to fit any size garden. Lay sheets of weed mesh along the length of the garden. You can either place this barrier before planting or use the utility knife to cut openings for existing plants. If you choose to apply the mesh after planting, make sure different pieces overlap by 6 inches and that cuts around plantings reach about 1 inch from the plant stem. Closely cutting near existing plants will discourage weeds from trying to escape the weed mesh.

Plant your chosen flowers in the garden according to the label provided with each plant. Any plant looks stunning against the natural colours of gravel mulch materials.

Choose stone materials that complement your existing landscape and outdoor colour scheme. You have plenty of options when designing a stone landscape garden bed. Use stone covering the entire garden or section out areas for different kinds of stone or mulch to add contrast and texture to the garden.

Edge the garden with a landscaping trench using an edging shovel (if you don't have a stone border). Cut into the ground at the edge of the garden at a 45 degree angle. Remove the dirt clods and continue around the perimeter of the garden. Break up the clods and smooth this soil across the garden surface.

Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of stone to the garden bed. Remember that stone mulching provides a rather permanent addition to your landscape and should only be used in instances where organic mulch that decomposes isn't required.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Soil conditioner
  • Stones
  • Weed barrier cloth
  • Utility knife
  • Plants
  • Edging shovel
  • Garden hose
  • Fertiliser
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