rock garden help!


Old 03-01-05, 06:55 PM
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rock garden help!

I have a problem I've been dodging for several years since moving into my house---HELP! At the side of the house (in the back yard) the previous owner for some reason decided to have a rock garden with nothing in it. Its about the size of a small bedroom---about 6' wide from the house to the fence, and about 15' long. Its filled with small "gravel" type pebbles, with an underlining of black vinyl, however, weeds still come up along the fence line and have to be pulled up occasionally. I have no idea what to do with this area, if anything at all. Do I plant in it, and if so, WHAT? Potted plants maybe? Its on the north side of the house and gets a lot of evening sun, which is extremely hot in the summer months. I'd appreciate any help or suggestions, as this area is driving me nuts---its very barren and ugly. Thanks in advance.
Vicki in Houston
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Old 03-01-05, 08:39 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Taylors, SC
Posts: 9,483
For some, potted plants would be the way to go.

To grow in this area, remove the plastic and gravel to return the area to a bed. The soil will be sodden and lifeless after having been under the plastic for so long. Tilling or turning the soil and adding some compost should help revive it. A soil test will determine if anything else needs to be added.

Hope this helps.
Old 03-02-05, 08:55 AM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: United States
Posts: 2,535
My guess is that there was either a deck here at one time, or nothing would grow there.

Visit a local nursery. Do not go to a big box department and expect quality advice. The local nursery will have experience landscaping in your area. They will know what plants work best in that spot.

Then buy your plants from them. 1) the advice is free, repay them by buying their plants; 2) you get better plants; 3) support a local business, not a corp headquartered a thousand miles away.
Old 03-23-05, 02:00 PM
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Some thoughts come to mind. (How about that?)

Cut a hole in the plastic, like in an "X", then plant what you want. Don't bother redoing the whole bed unless you really want to.

Also, it may be that most plants will not grow there due to the extreme heat you mentioned. The black plastic will also keep heat in, and the rocks will also hold a lot of heat, they have thermal mass. Remove the rocks and black plastic to bring the temperature down in the summer. Replace them with garden fabric under some wood mulch. Moist mulch will cool things down.

Or try planting cactus-type plants. Yucca is hardy in zone 4, you didn't mention what zone you were in.

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