Remember when crushed-rock front yards were a ’60s retirement-community cliche? Not any longer! Nowadays smart designers cover bare soil with rocks to create gardens that are as sophisticated and good-looking as they are practical.
In my latest video, Van Liew Garden Redo, San Diego landscape designer Steve McDearmon explains how he installs succulents amid swaths of warm-toned Mojave Gold gravel, Hickory Creek rubble rock, and Honey Quartz boulders. Though subtle, the rocks are as important as the plants.
Reasons for rocks:
— They need no maintenance and look the same forever.
— They contrast texturally with walls, pavement, and plants.
— They add color and cohesion to a landscape.
— They moderate soil temperature, keeping it warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
— They hold moisture in the soil and inhibit evaporation.
— They prevent erosion by diffusing the impact of rain.
— They give a garden a finished look. (Doubtless you already know that topdressing is important for containers. The same is true of gardens.)
— They’re visually intriguing, especially when several sizes combine.
— When used to create flowing lines in the landscape, they lend design interest and emphasize focal points.
— By shading the soil, they prevent weeds from germinating. (And any that do pop up are easier to pull.)
Your (fun) homework: Browse my newly released, second edition of Designing with Succulents and notice how rocks enhance many of the gardens.