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Rocks falling into place

February 14, 2010

No need to fear, there are no falling rocks. This is more an idea for a small dry stack wall that naturally seemed the right thing to do. Our lot naturally slopes from one end of the house to the other. On one side, after the patio had been put in, we still had a raised area of soil. I had been toying with the idea of digging out part of that hill and creating a small pond and waterfall feature right next to the patio. But the idea never was satisfactory. When the DH (digger hero) and my kind brother in law started to grade the lot to prepare for lawn many more boulders were unearthed in addition to those left from the new construction. All these rocks needed a place to go.  RLH (rock lifting hero, alternately known as DH) put the largest bottom rocks into place, and I went to work on the higher levels, set a little back into the slope.    All of this predates our owning of a digital camera, and the idea of photographing the garden, but here are some photos from recent years.

March 2007, low rock wall

Oct 2005, small rock wall

There is evidence in each photo of my winter seed sowing.   Also, you can see our improvised structure (made from three gates) to screen the air conditioner.

rock wall with sand penstemon and ornamental oregano

The wall ended up a good height to sit down and rest, and I would often take a break there.  After watching the TV show ‘Landscape Smart’ a few years ago where they made a low wall and put flagstone on the top for seating, it occurred to me that my wall was begging for that.  Perhaps it’s not cool to admit that I got an idea from a TV show that has an insta-landscape in a half an hour, but nuggets of inspiration can be had anywhere.  I used to watch any show that had any plant anywhere going in the ground.   I stewed on the flagstone idea for at least a couple of years and finally in 2008, we went to the nursery and picked out some quartzite flagstone in a couple of colors and made the seating area.  I rather like the structured, finished look it gave to the wall.

seating wall, June 2008

seating wall, June 2008

In the above photo on the right you can see the informal boulder steps up into the raised bed.   Below is a closer view of those steps with the David Austin rose ‘Belle Story’, penstemon pseudospectabilis in the foreground.  Growing  over the steps are woolly thyme and pink ornamental strawberry.  The jungle back in the shade is lemon balm run amok.  You can also see another Austin rose ‘Ambridge Rose’ and Swan Violet columbine.  Though you can’t see it clearly in the photo the wall peters out on the right side where the bed level meets up with the level of the lawn.

In the wall, I have planted dragons blood sedum and hens and chicks and these seem to like it there.  I believe it would be a good spot for lewisia too, but I have not planted any yet.

I like the way the ‘Crimson Queen’ japanese maple drapes over the wall,  and as the tree grows wider each year, but not much taller, it could make the seating impossible in the future.  I’ve seen beautiful examples of pruned japanese maples, but admit to a fear of taking the pruners to mine.

Follow this link to Gardening Gone Wild’s  Garden Blogger’s Design Workshop where there are many design topics and links.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Dad and Ruby permalink
    February 14, 2010 8:42 pm

    Hey, youngest daughter, those are great bird and antelope pictures. Keep up the good work.

  2. Nan Ondra permalink
    February 25, 2010 6:12 pm

    What a beautiful use of the rocks you found! You took what would have been a problem for others and turned it into a great garden feature. And that seating wall idea is fantastic! Your plants obviously love your stonework too. Thanks so much for sharing your post for this month’s Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop.

    • February 26, 2010 6:42 am

      Thank you Nan. I’m glad you liked it. When I planted the sedums and the hens & chicks in the wall, I had no idea if they would like it. This seating wall area gets only morning sun, and even then only in summertime. In the winter the sun never hits this north side of the house. Surprisingly the hens and chicks & almost all of the sedum have thrived there. Go figure!

  3. Lisa at Greenbow permalink
    February 28, 2010 5:35 pm

    You are so lucky to have small boulders just pop up to be used. You used them perfectly. I like the cap on top too. It gives you extra seating in this area. As you mentioned, we get ideas everywhere.

  4. March 2, 2010 1:31 pm

    Thanks for visiting Lisa. I guess we lucked out finding enough boulders, but not still hitting rocks every time we dig. There are lots of places to get ideas, though usually they take a little time to sink in with me.


  1. Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Walls and Fences Revisited Wrap-Up

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