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rock gardens





Front before

A Rock Garden in the mountains of north carolina

To create a small front rock garden, tucked between existing well established plants on both sides, on a hill of heavy red clay soil, presented quite a challenge. The client requested that nothing should block the view from a favorite chair on the front porch to a serene large meadow across the road and the surrounding Blue Ridge mountains. Existing wood retaining walls needed replacement. (photos at left row 2 & 3). Additional guest parking was also needed. (see "before" photo at top row, left side).

Stones, boulders, and gravel were brought in to shape the hill and create paths and steps for easy access. Special soil mixes and the addition of massive amounts of gravel and the construction of a scree create a variety of environments for alpines. To give some structure to the hillside yet separate the rock garden visually from the existing main walkway to the front door, shrubs and trees were added to the perimeter and dwarf willows and conifers scattered throughout the rock garden.

Less than one year old, easy rock garden plants are starting to fill in to soften the overall effect of boulders and gravel. At the top a massive old oak and blue atlas cedar, underplanted with native woodland perennials, ferns, and grasses, tie the garden into the larger landscape. Steps and a short path lead from guest parking below directly to the house entrance.

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front hill before rock garden
overview of new rock garden from road
drive entrance before construction
drive entrance with new stone retaining wall
main entrance from drive to house or garden
main entrance to house or garden after
overview along main path
lower walk detail
mixed planting detail
perennials and shrubs mixed planting
steps from roadside parking
rock garden edges along upper walk