A well placed rock can create a focal point in a garden design, can act as a garden seat or simply complement garden planting

This Rocks!

The humble rock, stones, boulders; whatever you want to call them, we are surrounded by these features daily either as natural or constructed features. Be it the pebbles on the beach or a cobblestoned Temple Bar, rocks have an undeniable omnipresence. However, they are perhaps overlooked as a garden feature. Here are some of the elements that one could consider when planning to use stone in a garden design.

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Use of stone to create interest and contrast in one of my small garden designs in Dublin

The above picture of a garden design in Monkstown is the perfect example of incorporating rock features into a more contemporary outdoor space. The juxtaposition of the craggy lines and the smooth paving is striking and makes the vegetation pop. It adds texture and elevates the visual appeal of the garden design; a meditative space after a stressful day (glass of wine in hand perhaps?).

Gravel and paving have practical applications within a garden design and can create colour and textural contrast with plants
Use of paving and gravel stone to create an atmospheric path in my show garden at Bloom, 2013

Gravel, as seen above in my 2013 entry for Bloom, also has a significant visual effect. In this case, it contrasts with the smooth paving and once more, the neutral colour and rough texture also serves as a pleasing background for the plants. One must also note the sensation of the rocks underfoot and the ‘crunchy’ sound which scratches the brain in an indescribably pleasing way. Of course, there are many varieties of rock one can choose for their gravel e.g. Limestone, granite, sandstone or quartz – another bonus if this fits your garden design brief.

To conclude, all or nothing, why not include entire boulders in your garden? In fact, this is what I have done in mine (see pic. below). Giants, they stand over the garden (still as humble as ever) and echo wild landscapes, creating a naturalistic safe-haven. Perch on them, let moss grow on them, they are the easiest garden feature ever and if you have the space, I highly recommend them as focal points, artistic features or for creating a sense of place.

I have placed large granite rocks around the garden to act as points of interest around which the planting design will develop
Some of the large rocks that I have added to my garden to create points of interest: stable elements amongst an ever changing tapestry of plants!

Gritty gravel to bellowing boulders – think about rocks in your garden design!

If you would like more inspiration, you can check out my personal instagram @timmyausten

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