Posted on: 4 February 2016
Landscaping rocks serve multiple purposes in the yard. You can use them to cover large or small areas for visual and textural interest. They can allow water to filter through to plants planted in the landscape bed, while smothering out any unwanted weeds or grass. Unfortunately, they can also be a maintenance nightmare if they aren't installed and cared for properly. These tips will ensure that your rock areas remain attractive and low maintenance.
Tip #1: Begin With Weed-Resistant Base
The biggest concern in rock areas is weed penetration. When constructing the space, try removing several inches of soil. Then, replace this soil with compacted sand. Finally, top this with a layer of high quality weed blocking fabric before finally adding the rocks. If you will have some plants growing in your rocks, you can add a little soil in with the sand around their roots. Desert plants that thrive in sandy soils are another option for rock areas.
Tip #2: Install a Crisp Edge
Edging is the next weapon in your arsenal against weeds. Trench edging is a simple, free, and effective option. You simply dig a 6 inch trench, about 3 inches wide, around the perimeter of the bed. You can clean out the trench a couple of times a year to ensure that grass roots aren't trying to spread over the divide. If you prefer a different type of edging, like stoned, concrete curbing, or black rubber, you should also install a buried 6 inch deep weed barrier. This ensures roots don't cross beneath the rocks and send up plants in the rock area.
Tip #3: Learn to Weed Wisely
Occasional weeds will still invade the bed, typically from seeds that sprout within the rocks and then send roots down through the fabric. Pull these weeds as soon as you notice them to ensure they don't send out major roots and damage the fabric. If you do end up with a large weed, you will need to act more carefully. First, check to see if it is flowering or has set seed. If it has, put a bag over the top and tie it in place. The bag catches any seeds so they don't end up sprouting in the rock bed. Next, move the rocks away from the base of the plant and pull it up carefully. If it leaves a large hole in the fabric, patch it with new fabric before replacing the rocks. Another option is to use a weed killer to kill the weed, but you will still need to pull and patch the fabric once the weed dies.
For more information, talk to a professional like Builder's Sand & Gravel Inc.Share