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How To Build A Rockery - Part 2

Dec 6, 2007
Last time we left off talking about the importance of drainage in your rockery.

I voice my opinion that a light sandy soil on top gravel is ideal. If you have a clay type soil however, there are ways of planning your design so your rockery doesn't turn into a sludgy mess every time it rains.

The way to ensure that this does not happen is to dig a drainage sump under . This way, rainwater will quickly filter through the rockery into the sump, giving the plants chance to grow in the perfect conditions.

If you are unsure of which type of soil you have, dig a small hole about 300mm deep near the edge of one of your flower beds. Reach down and grab a handful of soil from the bottom and squeeze in gently into the palm of your hand. If the lump falls apart, you have a light soil, ideal for rockery building; if it forms a tight ball, it is an impervious soil requiring extra drainage.

Ordering materials

Natural stone is not a particularly expensive commodity - but is heavy and very expensive to transport. Consquently, it is well worth spending a little time finding out what type of stone is available nearby and whether is it suitable for your rockery.

Start by visiting a few local garden centres: you will soon get some idea of what they can offer and be able to compare prices. However, it is even better is to visit a local quarry, where you should be able to get stone that is in keeping with the character of your garden.

If you cannot find any local stone, settle for a soft, porous rock such as limestone or sandstone. This greatly improves drainage and, over a time, the exposed rock will weather into interesting shapes.

You will need about 1500kg of stone to complete the featured rockery, but bear in mind that this can only be a rough assessment since the number of rocks you actually get for the weight will vary from one type to another. If you can order a variety of different size pieces: this will help to give the rockery a more natural appearance. In general, slabs which have at least one reasonably flat surface will be easier to position than rounded boulders.

Even though you are ording a relatively small quantity of stone, most suppliers will charge you a great deal for delivery. The stone is so heavy that in most cases you will not beable to to transport a useful amount by car. You may save money hiring a truck and transporting the stones yourself. However you decided to get the stones to your house, make sure you get them unloaded as close to the site of the rockery as possible or you will be wasting a lot of time and energy moving the stones twice.

Summary

Next time we will finish planning our rockery and start to build the foundations. Next time we will also start laying out stones. Keep with it my friends there's still a way to go.
About the Author
Johan Nickson is an expert in gardening at Makita Power Tools.
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