How to Transform a Flower Bed into a Rock Garden

What You'll Need
Rock rake
Weed mat
Pea gravel
Pond stones
Assorted rocks and semi-precious stones

The process of turning a flower bed into a rock garden will take a little planning and time. If you do it right, though, you will no longer have to worry about weeds, pruning or clearing out dead plant matter. With a nice arrangement and a varied assortment of rocks, you will essentially have a stone flower bed. It may not bloom in the spring, but it will be a hands-off, attractive part of your landscape.

Step 1: Clear the Flower Bed

The first step to making your rock garden will be to clear the flower bed of all plant matter. Use the shovel if you have to in order to unearth the roots of weeds, flowers and vegetable stocks. Don’t skimp on this step. You need to clear the bed of all plant residues.

Step 2: Level Out the Bed

With the rock rake, level out the soil in what was formerly the flower bed. As an alternative, you might try arranging the soil on a bit of a grade to create a slanted rock garden. If the bed is on the side of a hill, it will be graded already. This step is meant to generally even out the soil.

Step 3: Lay down a weed mat

Measure the dimensions of the bed and with the scissors, cut out the weed mat to fit. If the bed is wider than the mat, lay down several strips to cover the entire bed.

Step 4: Pea gravel layer

On top of the weed mat shovel on an equally-thick layer of pea gravel. This will act as the undercoating for the rest of the rocks. Make sure it covers the entire weed mat. If there are borders to the flower bed such as bender board, lumber or grass edges, fill in the gravel up to it.

Step 5: Pond stone placement

You won’t need as many pond stones–depending on the size of the rock garden one or two bags should suffice. Distribute them evenly over the pea gravel. They are several times larger than a piece of gravel, so their placement will begin to add contours and depth to the garden.

Step 6: Medium and large stone placement

After the pond stone is down, begin to creatively lay out the big and medium-sized stones you have. Semi-precious stones such as agates, thunderheads and petrified wood will add a nice complement to large pieces of obsidian, pumice or other interesting rocks. Arrange them in such a way that smaller pieces are not completely blocked by larger stones. There is really no right way to lay the stones out. Whatever pleases you and your tastes will be the ultimate judge.

Turning a flower bed into a rock garden mostly involves clearing out the flower bed, ensuring no weeds grow there in the future and laying down several layers of pebbles and stone. How it looks will largely be up to your tastes and the rocks you have available. You can always add to it later after you gather more rocks or semi-precious stones, but until then the rock garden will be designed.