Alpine relief in the garden


A win-win option to give the landscape individuality is to build a rocky composition on it.

Lack of experience and ignorance of the rules has already led many gardeners to disappointment, but this is from excessive efforts to make everything beautiful …

And it is necessary that everything looks natural, as in nature. Even just scattered large stones will deprive the site of monotony and create a unique relief.

If your garden already has natural irregularities, then you should take advantage of this gift of nature and competently beat the slopes by implanting stones in them and making stepped transitions between levels.

It is believed that there are three styles of design of alpine slides (Japanese — purely stone, European — with flowering perennials, English — with conifers). But for me, no matter how rockeries look, the main thing is that the stones do not violate the harmony of the landscape. This means that they and the plants between them must match in style with the rest of the elements of the site.

closest to nThe natural relief, in my opinion, is the Czech rolling pin — a ridge of flat stones laid on edge, decorated with miniature conifers and ground covers.

The construction of an alpine slide begins with the choice of a place and the selection of stones.


Alpine slide and rockery is not a flower bed. Stones cannot be laid out in a hill in a place visible from all sides, and at the same time framed with clear boundaries.

An artificial background in the form of mafs or a fence should be avoided. In extreme cases, they are masked by climbing plants.

A rocky hill or placer is more of a smooth transition between different areas of the garden, with blurry outlines.

Until I started looking for stones for sale, the idea of ​​​​them is something like this: a stone block of a certain size, shade and with given outlines. Well, the maximum that I knew until I studied the topic was gray and red granite with chipped edges, gray and beige pellets and flat sandstone. In fact, everything is much more diverse.

The lower price range represents a building stone — but. Despite the presence of chopped planes, it is also possible to create a relief similar to natural from it. Booth is represented by various rocks: granite of different shades, gray-blue and golden travertine, quartzite, black and dark green gabbro.

Red and gray granite is one of the most common, but it is also more difficult to fit into the landscape due to the texture.

Travertine is a special stone. Fresh chips have a gray-blue hue, which eventually becomes covered with a golden patina.

Just a luxurious stone to simulate a mountain landscape.

Gabbro has black and greenish shades. It is good in large blocks growing out of the ground surrounded by smaller ones. In a stone mound, all the beauty of this stone fades.

Quartzite is a very beautiful stone. In one you can find several shades of red, beige and green at once.

sandstone universal for use in landscape design. Its neutral color blends harmoniously with other stones, soil and greenery.

A variety of shapes from blocks to slabs has made this stone the most sought after in landscape design.

The paving stone looks like flat slabs, but is also suitable for some types of alpine terrain. Most often it is sandstone and granite.

This is what sandstone slabs look like.

This is granite breccia. It is not suitable for an embankment, but it is excellent when implanted into the ground as walls imitating rocks.

Suitable for creating a Czech rolling pin.

In the line of decorative stones there are rocks taken from nature in their natural form (wild stone), as well as specially processed. This is the most expensive price segment. It is represented by pellets, pebbles, water-turned granite, sandstone and limestone.

This is a pellet, large specimens are less reminiscent of a sphere, but they look more individual. Sometimes three or four pellets of different calibers are enough for a beautiful design.

This is what limestone washed with water looks like. A stone with a density of M 35 has a greater porosity. The color is gray or golden — it depends on the deposit.

And this is a sandstone lying on the surf line.

A real exclusive…

But the natural resources of the coast are limited, because the stone is turned with water in a special drum. This is how a tumbled stone with pleasant to the touch edges and edges is obtained. This treatment can be given to almost any type of stone and is often made to order.

As for the sizes, the stones for the exposition simply have to be of different sizes.

The color depends on the decorative effect you want to achieve: gray and beige are most suitable for showing bright flowering and juicy greens, but red and dark stone will favorably emphasize silver foliage.

Try not to mix stones of two contrasting colors in one composition. An exception can be made for gray and beige, gray-blue and gold, which naturally complement each other.

If there is a “dry” stream in the design of the slide, then it is conventionally designated as a round stone of a lighter shade. However, there are exceptions to any rule for people with a sense of proportion and taste.

A round stone does not go very well with a chipped one, except to make a very smooth transition by placing rounded stones at the bottom, imitating a sea coast or a stream.


Under natural conditions, alpine plants grow on stony soil, where moisture quickly disappears after rain, and the composition of the soil is rather poor. That is why the basis of any rock garden is drainage.

The role of drainage can be played by both rubble and construction debris. It is laid out in a small slide — this is the frame of the future rocky decor.

So that the alpine hill is not overgrown with weeds, a litter of dense material (spa-bond) is laid at its base, which will become an obstacle to the growth of the ubiquitous couch grass, gout and nettle.

Soil composition for an alpine hill: for three parts of fertile soil, one part of crushed stone screenings.

Further actions depend on your vision of the future composition. For a hill with a predominance of vegetation, an earthen mound is made, and stones of different sizes are built into it. Everything should look picturesque and natural even without landscaping. Stones can rise like pillars or lie horizontally — this is a matter of taste and personal vision of beauty.

The highest place in the alpine slide is not made in its center, but closer to the background relative to the main viewpoint. This is usually the intersection point ¾ of the length and width.

If the hill is conceived as an imitation of a mountainous terrain, then the drainage is tightly covered with stone, and the gaps between them are covered with soil. In this way, pockets are made for planting plants.

In the photo: the intermediate stage of the construction of the Czech rolling pin. Pockets were created and covered with soil, plants were also planted. The next step is to gravel the foot of the rolling pin.

Over time, dead leaves will fill the gaps between the stones, turn into soil, on which the inhabitants of the rockery will settle by self-sowing or sprawling. Only then will the man-made hill look like part of the natural terrain.

IMPORTANT: the scale of the structure should be proportionate to the site.

Decorative mulch made of stone or wood chips will help to make a smooth transition between rockery and lawn.

An alpine hill (if it is not a Japanese one with mossy stones) is always built in a sunny place, but even in this case, large stones have a south and a north side. This should be taken into account when choosing plants.


rockery Japanese style — this is the predominance of stones and small patches of greenery. Solely with the aim of emphasizing the beauty of the stone.

Most often, mosses and plants that imitate them are used in landscaping a rocky hill in this style.

Of the tree species, these are dwarf varieties of junipers, boxwood, euonymus, willow, barberry.

From herbs — sedge, emperor.

European style rockeries is most bright and acquires maximum decorativeness during the flowering period of perennial grasses. Their list is the longest and it is unlikely that I can give it in full. In most cases, all suitable perennials are characterized by the epithet «alpine». The most interesting herbs not marked as such are given below.

it thyme creeping, spikelet liatris, yaskolka, sedums and sedums, young, eryngium, saxifrage, iberis, sage, spurge, subulate phlox, soapwort, obrietta, Carpathian bellflower, violets.

English rocky slide are primarily evergreens. This includes herbaceous perennials, dwarf coniferous and deciduous varieties.

Chistets, yaskolka, mosses, bryozoans, ground cover stonecrops, young ones will remain green among the stones even under the snow.

dwarf pines and thujaweeping forms atecreeping junipers and slow growing cypress trees — welcome guests in the rocky garden. Their place is in the background, between large stones and on elevated places.

Fortune’s euonymus and boxwood are planted from deciduous shrubs in rockeries.

And, of course, a few bright accents of plants for a European-style slide.


This grass is suitable for planting in rockeries or at the foot of an alpine hill, in drained areas, but loves moisture.


In the Japanese style, boxwood is combined with stones, giving it a rounded shape of a pellet lying on the ground. Evergreen shrub.


In rockeries, rocky juniper, dwarf varieties and creeping species are used. Evergreen coniferous shrub.


The most interesting view for a rocky hill is Fortuna. It has creeping forms, smoothly flowing around the stone. Evergreen deciduous shrub.

Young, stone rose

It feels absolutely comfortable and even cozy in crevices and even large pores of stones. Evergreen perennial.

Stonecrops, sedums

Almost any species listed in the article (follow the link) is suitable for landscaping alpine slides. Some species are non-freezing perennials.


It grows very quickly with a dense pillow, blooms beautifully, an evergreen perennial.

Sage, salvia

Perennial wild-growing species are long-blooming and will undoubtedly become an adornment of a rocky garden. Pairs well with sedums.

Chistets, stakhis

This evergreen grass forms a beautiful silvery carpet, and looks especially beautiful against the background of stones.

Mosses and lichens

By the way, also evergreen perennials … I recommend planting only where there is a wet shade.


This perennial is especially good next to tall acute-angled stones against the background of stone mulch.

There is an alpine species, however, the flat-leaved eringium growing in our meadows compensates for its modest size with rich color from roots to leaf tips.


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