At first, rock garden design may seem simple enough, but there is more to it than meets the eye. A rock garden can be loosely defined as any garden where real mineral stone is used in a natural way as an essential visible component of the garden design. The stone is meant to be seen and appreciated in the same way as the plants, not just used as a building material for harsh landscapes. Rock gardens can be used as a lawn substitute or just as a small space. They can add depth and dimension to a flat, boring landscape and serve as a focal point year-round with little maintenance.
But a good rock garden is by no means achieved by simply putting stones, soil and plants together. Each component must be carefully selected and then just as carefully arranged in a way that makes the garden appear natural to the style you choose. In most cases, the garden should strive to mimic the natural geology and topography of a specific region. Japanese rock gardens, for example, are usually designed to mimic the look of mountainous regions of Japan, with plants native to that region.
Here are nine tips for creating a rock garden that is easy to maintain, aesthetically pleasing and natural in style.