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Introduction of Western Rock Gardens

Updated:2013-05-22 10:56:54
Western rock gardens employ stone a bit differently. While natural stone features now occur in many Western gardens, traditionally rock and stone has been used in a more structured way. After the fall of Rome, stone was needed to create barriers in the form of walls. Monastery gardens were some of the first European walled gardens. Think of medieval castles and you get a good idea.

Many medieval gardens featured a single stone focal point. This might have been used to house a water feature such as a bird bath or a basin. Modern Western gardens still use stone to create their water features. Many garden ponds are rimmed with decorative stones. Stone also is a prominent component of classical fountains like statues of figures from antiquity. Think of a Grecian water nymph holding a jug where a stream of water flows into a basin that surrounds her. This is a typical use of stone in a Western garden.

Western gardens also employ stone in very low-key ways. A pretty pool of white stone might be used to mulch an area that surrounds an ornamental tree. Stone works well as mulch, keeping the soil moist and inhibiting weed growth. Stone might also be used as a simple border along the garden's path. Stone cut in geometric shapes might even be paved for an elaborate garden walkway. Stone can be used to construct steps, terraces, even patio areas. Stone might be used more dramatically when carved into large-scale planters or a pair of lions that guard the garden's entrance. Create a stunning feature by mounding beautiful round stones around the base of a large pot or planter.

No matter which style of garden you choose, look for rocks with unique and beautiful colors, textures, sizes, shapes, and grains. These can be bought at garden supply stores or simply found in nature. Given a nice rinse and polish, you'd be surprised how well rocks found in stream beds can compliment your garden. Boulders, alone or in groups, add a stunning focal feature to any landscape design. For larger rocks, you may want to consider buying synthetic rocks which are lighter and much cheaper than real rock boulders.

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