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Studio of landscape art by Irina Kurakolova «Rusya-Kiev», LTD

Main » Landscaping » Alpine hills and rockeries

Alpine hills and rockeries

In the process of creating and implementing landscape projects the Landscape art workshop of Irina Kurakolova frequently meets the requests - to organize a rockery or an alpine garden at the site of the Customer. We are happy to fulfill these wishes, as the beautifully designed hills - the decoration of the site and a sign of the creator’s mastery. Below there is a piece of information for those who are interested in learning more about this area of ​​our business.

Alpine garden (in other words alpine hill) did not enjoy particular popularity within the largest part of the XX century, but in recent years, the interest in it revived dramatically. Before you plan this garden structure it is required to think over everything carefully: style of the garden, the size of the site. In a small space alpine garden will look awkward and ridiculous. Despite the fact that in our time a landscape design has a strong position in horticulture, unnatural alpine hills can still be found in amateur gardens. They are either a bed, pelted with the cobblestones, or disorderly heap of stones, overgrown with rough vegetation. True alpine hill should be as natural as possible, reminding highlands covered with the plants lodged there as if by chance.

The main difficulty in planning of alpine garden is that it is impossible to repeat the same design. The final result depends on the shape and size of the stones, and the type of the selected plants, and on many other factors. Among the basic principles of creation of the alpine garden one can distinguish two points. First, you should use the stones of various sizes, but of the same solid. And secondly, do not try to use too many stones. Yet it is worth noting that the slopes of the classic alpine hill are usually made flat.


It is recommended to choose a sunny place for the alpine garden location, as the perennial plants are sun-rock. Also, do not put the alpine garden near the large trees: spring drops and fallen leaves do not contribute to the prosperous growth of plants. Before beginning construction, the site should be thoroughly cleaned of roots and weeds. If the garden soil is heavy, make sure you need good drainage. To do this, the top layer of the earth is removed, a layer of the larger gravel chippings is put in the obtained trench, and fine gravel chippings are put on top. This area should be covered with a special landing mixture of black soil and peat in a 2:1 ratio. The last component can be replaced with ground tree bark. You should also add gravel chippings or coarse sand.

There are two basic types of alpine garden: on the slope and on the plane. The first of these is ideal for uneven site, especially if the pond is located in the cavity. This design is based on the principle of a terrace, in the “pockets” of which the plants are planted. The second type of alpine garden looks less natural than the previous one, but is able to make a flat site more interesting and three-dimensional. It is quite difficult to create such construction, because you should find a special harmony of stones. The stones should be laid on level ground so as to create the illusion of the untain top, that is, not in neat rows, but in the decorative mess. The large beautiful stone is chosen as the central point of the design, it is laid the first. The smaller stones are placed around it, as close as possible to each other. The joints between the stones should be vertical, one should not lay the stones like bricks “in the bonding”. A plateau – flat ground is built at the top of the hill. Cracks between the stones are filled with soil and planted with alpine plants, such as saxifrage, Sempervivum, whitlow grass, thyme, and others. Brighter plants: St. John's wort, primrose, pasqueflower - can be planted as the “tongues” going down the stones. The dwarf conifers shrubs are traditional plants for the alpine garden. Moreover, one should assemble cultures with different shape and color. If one selects such plants as cerastium, golden-tuft, aubrieta, wall-cress and soapwort, their growth should be limited, otherwise they will stifle more gentle cultures. Large specimens should be planted separately, and small – in groups. Ornamental plants can revive the sections of alpine garden of little interest. The main rule is that the hill should be decorated in such a way that it is pleasant to look at it all year round.

Rockeries (from the English rock) – are the elements of the territory decoration in which the composition basis is a stone. Use of these elements allows to create a spectacular accents in decorating almost any territories. Most rockeries are arranged on flat sites (they differ from the alpine gardens by this feature). The choice of a particular type of composition, of its components and technology of construction is determined on the basis of the wishes of the customer, taking into account such factors as existing conditions of the territory, the possibility of further care, style of the site decoration and financial capabilities. Planting materials for rockeries include plants of not only mountain territories but also of the meadow and steppe zones, as well as soil covering and bulbous plants. Particular attention is paid to the form of crown of the plants, their height, adaptation to the rocky soil. In addition to structural features and the variety of plants, the external appearance of the rockeries depends on the solid of the used stone. Granite boulders, granite blocks, dolomite, and other types of stones (sea and river pebbles, volcanic tuff, shale, basalt, etc.) are especially common.

Basic requirements to the stone: natural forms, corresponding colors and the size of the stone.