Garden Planning, Build a Rockwall Planter

My house sits in a hill and has a very unique and challenging front yard with rolling slopes. It’s beautiful when its mowed and the gardens are flowering.image
Creative Commons License photo credit: bobrpics

Another challenge is added where the house sits into the hill and I have to try to create easier landscaping and mowing.

What I did on the north side of the house was to dig more of the hill away and put in a rock wall and a tiered garden above that. I no longer have an extremely steep slope to mow and my garden area is close to the house.

The wall had to be put in properly so that it would handle frost and the ground expanding in the winter. I also have a drain out into the wall to prevent water drainage problems. On the very bottom of the rock wall I put in a rockwall planter, which I also wrapped around the foundation of the corner of the house. This added section linked the gardens with the house and created a larger looking and very inviting garden area.

A rockwall planter will add a lot of character to your yard and property. It’s easy to build and can be put in over a weekend if you have your materials ready to go. You can purchase the rocks or collect your own rocks to cut down on the cost of the project.

Building a Rockwall Planter.

First decide how you want your rockwall planter to be laid out. I use a garden hose to outline any new informal garden area I work with. A garden hose gives you the chance to lie out a shape and see if it’s visually pleasing and easy to work with.

Any garden or landscaping I add to the house is put in with the idea of being easy to maintain. Try various outlines for the rockwall and decided where you want to position the planter. After the decision has been made use lime or flour and sprinkle heavily where the house is to mark you pattern. Lantern in the bush garden
Creative Commons License photo credit: bartlomiej.malysz

Smooth the area where you are going to build the planter and tamp the soil into place. You will want to work about 12 inches into the outline. This is a very important step so take you time. This is the base of your planter and it need to be even and stable to hold rock firmly in place.

I used basketball-sized rocks for my wall. I was lucky and harvested them all from the creek in my back yard. If you don’t have many rocks you may need to purchase them. You can usually get them from your local hardware store or try a construction site. They may deliver them for free. If you have rocks brought to you have them unload them as close to you project as possible.

Separate the rock into three piles of small, medium and large rocks. To save strain on your back, stack the largest rocks closest to the planter. They will be the fist size you will be using. I also used a wheel barrel.

Start you wall by laying out the largest stones evenly along the line. Make sure the rocks are touching as you build your first row of the wall. It takes a little practice to get the rocks fit together tightly and to be stable. You may have to rearrange the rocks a few times to get the results you want.Work your way to the medium rocks then follow by using the small rocks. Make sure the wall does not exceed 18 inches high and feel secure and does not wobble.

Next attach a landscape fabric to the backside of the rockwall planter. This will prevent weeds from growing out of the planter. A black plastic tarp is best and you can find them in the gardening section at your hardware store. I put a drainage tile in the bottom of the planter by the section I had by my foundation wall. I wanted to make sure I had no water problems near my house.

Fill the bottom of the planter with rocks to aide in drainage and take up space so you don’t have to use so much soil. I used about nine inches of rock and topped with eight inches of soil. I watered the planted and let the soil settle. I added a little compost to the top of the planter and put in my plants.

I have had no problems with my planter and many comments. It just adds to the comfort of my back yard and solved some of my more difficult landscaping tasks.

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