Rock-n-Zen Gardens: Landscaping Part 1

Four Square Gardening methods complimented with rock landscaping.

Sorting through many landscaping ideas for 2 years we decided against the grass lawn and went ahead with Square Foot Gardening techniques using round rock and crusher dust. We want an easy-going look while also adding in food plants with flowers. 

We already had the ROCK wall, so I thought to be inspired by the Japanese LOOK of simplicity and use of nature with rocks. I still plan to have a veggie flower garden, to create our mini-oasis that will not cost more than a boring lawn.

back hoe landscaping preparations for rock gardens

We had Davie our Back Hoe driver build us a sloping hillside to the back of our property and clear out all the concrete leftovers from the building while smoothing out the back area so we can start fresh with our future Rock-n-Zen garden.

We have spent about $1,600.00 approx. so far including Davie and his backhoe, to clear up the back and all the crusher dust, pea gravel, commercial erosion carpet, and building the garden boxes, filling them with perfect easy to use growing dirt and the trellises.

Flat rock patio inlay

Found flat-ish rocks over the year & a plastic bowl

We watched lots of gardening videos to be inspired and this started my guy, Jim in his search for the perfect flat rocks to make the patio focal point, where my pond will eventually be featured.

Plastic pond for garden feature

I bought this plastic textured pond for $200.00 several years ago in Vancouver BC for inside our loft to have a fountain and a pond filled with goldfish and now it will an outside feature for our ZEN garden and share the water with the little birds who enjoy splashing and drinking. 

Here in Nova Scotia, I want to feature the pond in our back area so every angle it can be seen and someday get some fish and aquatic plants....for now, it's what is freely available.

FREE help with mom cleaning bricks

FREE bricks and employing mother Lue's help to clean them off!

Jim was on a mission for free bricks, as he wanted to do some creative work with them. He did find his free bricks eventually on Kijiji and with some sweat, mother, and clean-up taking the old mortar off of them, into the ground they went, for a nice border edge. We didn't have enough bricks to go around the front but I like how it ends.

Walking Egyptian onion & skeleton head decor

The brick edging ends mid garden area and this is where I bring the eye to something interesting. A clay pot with heritage onions, goat skull found on one of my Ziggy walks, and some old twigs bent like a nest.

A pathway is created with crusher dust &  the FREE brick edging makes for a nice touch.

A pathway is created with crusher dust with 
 FREE brick edging.

We got a truckload of crusher dust to give the pathways a finer, harder surface yet it allows for excellent drainage and in the winter is the perfect non-slip surface. We bought a large roll of commercial erosion fabric which covered the back area then we wheel barreled & raked it over the fabric.

BIG load of crusher dust, let the work begin!

BIG load of crusher dust, let the work begin!

Crusher dust over erosion fabric  will help with weed control and drainage.

Crusher dust over erosion fabric for 
weed control & drainage.

Building our backyard from a gravel pit to a garden, was the best decision for the dollar. I said to my guy, why spend money on a lawn which then you will have to mow it every week, for what, MORE GREEN? We got GREEN and blue everywhere so let's make a rock garden that grows organic veggies. I grow some pretty MEAN size house plants and I am itching to try my green thumb to grow food!

Researching everything to do with gardens from reading books to watching videos, and talking to the locals, I was challenged & overwhelmed to access my creative side to planning and still apply some practical methods for growing veggies. We had a budget of $1,300 that was including all the landscaping, dirt, and seeds.

Ziggy is Rock-n-Zen Security, always watching!

Ziggy is Rock-n-Zen Security, always watching!

We have the gorgeous giant Armor rocks to set the tone for the garden design. I love Japanese simplicity and the use of stone, sand, wind, water, etc. to have a peaceful mini oasis. I wanted to be practical and grow some food too but not in a large boring plot but in shapes throughout the back area.

I discovered through chatting up the local librarian, a book called Square Foot Gardening... I read it through and thought how practical and efficient this system of gardening would be for us and went with it!

We bought all the materials to build our 4 feet x 4 feet x 6-inch cheap wood pine 2x6's, reinforced the corners with metal L brackets, and stapled the erosion fabric to the bottom boxes to ensure as much weed control as one can do and to keep the Four in One mix with compost and topsoil in the box. We had some leftover deck stain and decided WHY NOT and painted the 11 boxes.

 It's now approaching winter 2013 and we had to wrap it up as the worst ICE winter was going to trap us in our houses for months but we would survive it through to 2014 to start the growing season in our NEW garden plots!

4 feet x 4 feet growing boxes stained with erosion fabric bottoms

4 feet x 4 feet growing boxes with erosion fabric bottoms.

Eleven growing boxes placed around the back and side of house. T

Eleven growing boxes are placed around the back & side of the house. The Armor rocks will keep out deer & reflect heat for growing.

4 feet x 4 feet and 6 inch deep garden plots with  erosion fabric stapled to the bottom.

4 feet x 4 feet & 6-inch deep plots with erosion fabric stapled to the bottom
Notice the outline of smaller flat rocks to edge off 
the pea gravel area next to the large Armour rocks.

View around corner of house and  pathways defined by different stones.

The view around the corner of the house & 
pathways is defined by different stones.

That is it for 2013 landscaping and with the preparation for 2014 growing season will be my first veggie garden. I will be starting off in April with some seeds, growing in my living window...check out the following blog write-up for Rock-n-Zen Gardens and making trellises Part 2.

Gathering gardening information can be a daunting task. When I first planted my square foot garden, there was not much information shared online about this method. Check out this website that streamlines their methods for square foot gardening and also has lots of tips on everything from decor, tools, and methods for growing.

Till then let's ROCK n ROLL!... Minaz


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