When we think of a garden, we usually imagine the greens, the foliages, the bright fruits, and flowers. But rarely do we pay attention to the stony patch of our garden. Rocks or stones resuscitate the aura of Chinese gardens and the Zen gardens of Japan. Either, they are bold and exotic or, the emphasis is solely on the asymmetric arrangement of rocks.

A stone garden is a meticulous arrangement of stones or rocks, in which the center of attention is- ‘rocks’. Amidst this pile of aesthetically arranged rocks, small plants are rooted.Surrounding this, there can be small pools, with rocks and boulders. Another fascinating feature can be stepping stones. Stones come in different shapes and sizes. Colors though are limited, but the earthy hue lends the garden a more natural look.

Stone gardens are packed with symbolism and have traditionally signified either Zen thoughts or Chinese philosophies. The entire purpose to put more emphasis on the stones and to keep it lowkey is to give it a minimalist tone. In the Japanese culture, these stone gardens were used especially for meditation. Stone garden ornaments do not tend to remove the focus from the rocks but centre it more towards it. Thus, the motto is ‘less is more; no over-crowding! However, one can create their version, strictly not adhering to the rules and giving stone garden decoration a contemporary touch.

You can have your DIY stone garden and then use garden decor to make it aesthetically more pleasing. Develop a theme and layout beforehand, and then bend down to business!

Step 1:- Utilise an existing patch of rocky surface or clear off a patch of land. Generally, stone gardens are elevated pieces of land compared to the grassy portion.

Step 2:- Choose the kind of rocks you wish to embed and lay down the first layer. You can get them from landscaping stores.

Step 3:- Add high drainage soil above this layer and level it properly. One can also incorporate sand ripples with dry ponds, as they are an intrinsic part of stone garden culture.

Step 4:- Add another layer of stones. This layer should have attractive and more color-coordinated stones. Also, this layer should besmaller than the first and between the two layers there should be sufficient space to allow placing small plants.

Step 5:- Choose plants that go with the color scheme and require a moderate amount of water.

Some minimalist garden decor for stone gardens can be:-

  1. Garden statues – Choose lawn ornaments that are not too gaudy and complement the overall aesthetics, for example, a soothing statue of Buddha or a marble sculpture.
  2. Birdbaths – A pedestal area housing a birdbath is never a bad option.
  3. Obelisks – To support the climbers and vines, obelisks are the best bet.
  4. Urn or planters to make good use of the pedestal area, commonly seen in stone gardens.
  5. Gongshi – Commonly known as scholar’s rocks, they are the ultimate representation of mountainous landscapes. They are habitually seen in Chinese gardens.

One can also add natural cobblestones and stone temples. Due to easier maintenance and minimal problems of drainage, these stone gardens are gaining traction among residential and commercial garden enthusiasts.