How to build a rockery

Updated April 17, 2017

A rockery is an elegant addition to any garden, and a focal point for conversation when guests are around. Large rockeries should be installed by a professional contractor because of the extensive labour involved. If you do install your own rockery, take great care when lifting rocks and large stones. Improper lifting can lead to lasting musculoskeletal damage.

Use a shovel to prepare and level the site for the rockery. Grub out weeds with the hoe.

Dig an extra 6 inches of soil out of the site. Fill the hole with 2 inches of 1/2-inch gravel and cover that with 4 inches of a mixture of soil and limestone chips. This will allow rainwater to drain from your rockery.

Purchase large rocks from a garden centre or quarry. Choose a variety of shapes and sizes, with nothing shorter than 6 inches tall.

Place larger stones at the back of the rockery. Decrease the size of the rocks the nearer you get to the front.

Spread a 1-inch layer of 1/2-inch gravel over the area, and add 1 inch of topsoil.

Soak the area with water, and let it sit for a week.

Add bushes, groundcover plants and perennials to the rockery.


Always lift using your legs, never your back.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Rocks
  • 1/2-inch gravel
  • Topsoil
  • Limestone chips
  • Water
  • Plants
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About the Author

Ben Wakeling graduated from Coventry University in 2009 with an upper second class honours B.Sc. degree in construction management. Wakeling is also a freelance writer, and works for a number of businesses, such as Demand Studios, Suite 101 and Academic Knowledge.