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    Rocks and stones have been used as decorative elements dating way back in early Chinese and Japanese gardens. Although rock gardening has changed a bit since that time, it still holds true to the serene and calming feeling that aiding nature provides. Anyone can create a beautiful garden of rocks and plants of their own with a little hard work and some creativity. If you are a beginner, here are some ideas and instructions to get you started.   
     
    Choosing the best location
     
    The ideal spot for a rock garden is on a sloping area because the rocks help prevent erosion and provide anchor for the plants. Sloping the garden also allows for drainage which most rock and mountain-growing plants need. For those of you with flat spaces, don’t feel excluded. Land can be raised with dirt and soil to provide you a perfect space for gardening.
    Also, avoid placing your garden under trees or out of direct sunlight.  
     
    Designing your space
     
    The goal when designing a traditional rock garden is to make it look natural and soothing. Although some people want to add more unique elements. Either is fine, as gardening has no set rules. 
    The main soil should be gritty rather than well composted. A good mixture is topsoil with sand. The area should be excavated and then lined with stones. One or two larger, main rocks should be lain to rise above the others. The idea is to bury half the rock into the ground. Increasingly smaller stones are now placed between the larger rocks. Then the holes are filled with the gritty soil. 
     
    Picking out rocks 
     
    Rocks that are native to your area usually look the best and are more affordable. Limestone is a good choice because it is soft and porous, which allows for moisture. Also it has grooves so you are able to grow moss or lichen if desired. Rustic slate and red sandstone are gorgeous alternatives. Any granite or local stone will suffice though. 
    Once the garden has been set up, place rich, composted soil in the pockets between the rocks and stones. 
     
    Deciding what to plant
     
    When choosing plants for your rock garden, consider their size in proportion to the surrounding rocks and stones. Also, make sure that the plants you choose are right for the local climate and exposure. 
    Traditionally, Alpine plants were used most often because they grow in rock and mountain regions and simulate natural growth. Today, many different types of plants are used. Perennial plants, such as geraniums, verbena, and alyssum, are stunning. Gypsophila, or baby’s breath, is also beautiful to spread throughout.
     
    Rock gardening is a way to make a bland space charming. Your garden can be as traditional or as unique as you are. Express yourself and make your yard the envy of the neighborhood. 

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