noviceatthis

Please help improve this rather shabby 1960s rockery

design novice
2 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

I would love some help with my garden. I have a very uphill garden with two retaining walls. One of which is connected to a very large rockery. It is unusually deep and about 20 metres long. The rockery is what you see when you look out of the living room window due to the incline so of course I want it to look nice.

I have removed some very old plants from the 1960s which were overgrown and woody. There are still more to remove probably. The overall effect is so bitty!

There are also gaps all over and I have spent over £500 in the last few days with the idea of filling them. Sadly now I have placed the pots and planted some of them, I feel defeated!!!! I cannot see how I will ever fill this space unless I spend a further £2000 or so on plants! I have thought about extending the landing strip of lawn which is between it and the second retaining wall but of course there will be some cost to this as lots of top soil will need to be added. I am not sure if I am better investing in more plants instead!

I love alpine plants but of course they tend to be small. I also would like everygreen ones if pos so it doesn't look bare in winter.

I have next to no gardening knowledge but have been trying to get inspiration from watching every gardening programme I can but this is overwhelming in terms of size to fill!

It is east facing so sunny but soil is very sandy











Thank you for reading my post :-) and any help would be so welcome.




Comments (15)

  • rachelmidlands
    2 years ago
    Some great comments here already. As said the plants you have bought will grow over the coming summer and should fill out the gaps. Some may take well and some may not, so make a note of what varieties thrive in the soil. I also have MATH’s snow in summer which only flowers once a year but scrambles over the rocks and no bother at all. Aubretia is also a great common favorite for tumbling down the edges of walls.
    design novice thanked rachelmidlands
    Best Answer
  • Emily
    2 years ago
    Honestly it doesn’t look bad! It looks like it’s established but had a clear out which it has. And you’ve done a great job. I don’t think you need to cover the very inch of the soil, personally I would look at what plants you have left that you like and plant some more of them since they’ve shown they like it there. And I’d take my time, learn experiment and make some mistakes and learn again. Keep watching gardeners world etc. :)
    design novice thanked Emily
  • Ellie
    2 years ago

    Do remember the plants you have in pots in position will grow! There are some pots where you have 2 or 3 same plant and it looks like the pots are very close together. They are best put in 2 or 3 together but they do need a bit of space.

    I think its lovely, I have a large rockery too and we are also on steep slope and yours is sooooo much better than mine! Mine just keeps grassing over and no matter how often I try getting the grass out it all ends up full of grass again!

    design novice thanked Ellie
  • A B
    2 years ago

    Agree with above. I'd take photos of it every month this year, then at Christmas time decide what you want to change for next year. But it will fill out loads by the summer so no point adding anything else now!

    design novice thanked A B
  • PRO
    User
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I agree with the comments above. On the whole it's looking great. I think the biggest problem you have is not enough rocks and too much ground to cover.

    However, instead of shelling out more money on plants or even more on big rocks, can you mulch in between the plants? It would give it that finished look that you're after whilst preventing the soil erosion and allowing the plants to grow freely.

    This area in particular needs filling:-

    If you mulch this, I think you see an immediate improvement.
    If you want a great ground cover plant, that grows like wild fire and flowers twice in a season ( ours does - probably depends where you live) - 'snow in summer' - Cerastium
    Ours grows so fast we rip it out by the handful and it's unstoppable, really hardy too.

    Buy your perennials on line at places like J Parkers, Bakkers etc or at the garden centres at the end of season when they mark all the 'finished' plants down by 75-80% that's what the wife does.

    Her passion is gardening.

    Just had a look on Parkers.........30 Perennials for £17.47 - for £500 you could have had 840 plants! JParkers plants click on this link

    design novice thanked User
  • PRO
    Christine Wilkie Garden Design
    2 years ago

    Hello! It looks as though you have made a very good start. And once those plants get growing and become established they should more than fill the space. Have a look at the labels on plants as they usually give helpful guidance on how big the plant will grow so you can space them accordingly - and avoid over-spending! If over time you still have gaps you are unhappy with then consider filling them with seasonal bulbs for pops of colour through spring and summer. And don't forget you can usually lift and divide many perennials to create more plants for free! Also try adding trailing plants like the one pictured here (Erigeron karvinskianus) which looks great scrambling over raised or terraced beds.

    design novice thanked Christine Wilkie Garden Design
  • molly20100
    2 years ago
    I really don’t know why you are in such despair as it should look lovely once the plants establish and spread. I certainly wouldn’t spend any more money on it. You could add some gravel which rock plants will appreciate and will look decorative too. It is looking good already but be patient :)
    design novice thanked molly20100
  • E D
    2 years ago

    I agree with all the previous comments. It doesn't look shabby at all! Maybe not ready yet, but then, gardening never is and that's part of its challenge and beauty methinks. :)

    All great suggestions from Houzzers. I particularly love the mulching idea and the trailing plants over the edges idea.

    design novice thanked E D
  • Mulchie
    2 years ago
    I agree with all of the above - give it time and it will fill in nicely. Just wanted to add that you might want to think about planting in drifts so that when it all grows it looks less bitty. You get more impact that way too. Also don’t forget to use some grasses as they could add height. Keep going - you’re nearly there.
    design novice thanked Mulchie
  • design novice
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Oh my goodness I have learnt so much from your comments!!! Oh and I am also very heartened by them. Thank you so much to you all Emily, Ellie, Jen P, ED, Mollyand Rachel. Jen P I shall look forward to them filling out and I will space out the ones I have planted so far, Ellie.

    Man about House it was so kind of you to do the image with the mulch. Funnily enough I bought some bark mulch a while ago but for some reason the brown colour looked a bit odd with the rocks. So yesterday I bought something called Smart Ground Cover which is a darker version. I sprinkled a small section and it definitely softened the overall look but I wasn't sure whether to finish putting it on throughout until I had finished planting. Is this the case?

    Thank you also for the Parkers tip, does this mean if I buy some now they will flower in the summer? I thought that anything mail order would have to grown further in a greenhouse! I am definitely going to look at getting some Cerastium, sounds ideal!

    Christine thank you for the Erizeron idea, it would be great to soften the two retaining walls I have and it looks so pretty. I bought some Vinca Alba Major to do the same job on the recommendation of the garden centre until I read it likes semi shade!!!

    Finally Mulchie, I love grasses and have a few already but would love some more. Do you need to plant them in drifts or should these go at the back separately or in groups of odd numbers? I must look into drift planting!

    Again huge thanks, feeling very inspired and hopeful now :-)



  • Emily
    2 years ago
    I got some of that smart ground cover last year and liked the appearance of it and for your sloping situation I think it will stay put better than bark.
    Ps if the the bottom of your rockery is wetter and shady then ‘creeping jenny’ is a good fast growing ground cover.
    Hope you post some pics in the summer since I think it will look great.
    design novice thanked Emily
  • design novice
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Thanks Jenny, really good to hear the smart ground cover looks nice as it was a bit of a gamble as even the garden centre person didn't know the product! I just said I wanted something darker than bark!

    Funnily enough I bought several pots of creeping Jenny in September when it looked beautifully vibrant in the garden centre and thought it would be the perfect 'evergreen' to soften the second retaining wall. Sadly it turned quite brown and shrivelled quite quickly. I am not sure if it is fully dead or may make a come back?!!! I will def post some pics in the summer and you have def inspired me , thank you!

  • Emily
    2 years ago
    I’ve got lots of creeping Jenny and sometimes it dies over the winter but mostly it comes back. I’ve got some big brown patches in some of my established clumps but I can see some green so fingers crossed. :)
  • rachelmidlands
    2 years ago
    I have ‘creeping jenny’ and it spreads like no buggers business. Not an evergreen, dies off every year but it should just be starting to sprout new shoots now and it’s easy to give it a trim if it gets out of hand. Vinca major is evergreen and will try and spread quite prolifically even in shade. An excellent ground cover tho and lovely blue flowers this time of year. I think you’re rockery will look great, I’m very envious:)
    design novice thanked rachelmidlands
  • PRO
    User
    2 years ago

    Any perennial plant bought from anywhere will be ok to go straight outside. It's only your annuals that aren't hardy.

    design novice thanked User
United Kingdom
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