18 Gorgeous Rock Gardens

Try these low-water landscaping designs with boulders, stones and rocks.

Photo By: Image courtesy of LDAW Landscape Architecture PC; photo by Bill Einhorn, RLA

Photo By: Image courtesy of Garden Creations, Inc., www.gardencreationsvail.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Stone Store, Hanover, MD; www.thestonestore.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Denver Botanic Garden, www.botanicgardens.org

Photo By: Image courtesy of Motionspace Architecture + Design PLLC

Photo By: Image courtesy of JKT Associates

Photo By: Image courtesy of McCumber Fine Gardens,santafegardening.com/

Photo By: Image courtesy of LDAW Landscape Architecture PC, photo by Bill Einhorn, RLA

Photo By: Image courtesy of Denver Botanic Garden, www.botanicgardens.org

Photo By: Image courtesy of Motionspace Architecture + Design PLLC

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Stone Store, Hanover, MD; www.thestonestore.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of McCumber Fine Gardens

Photo By: Image courtesy of LDAW Landscape Architecture PC, photo by Bill Einhorn, RLA

Photo By: Image courtesy of Denver Botanic Garden, www.botanicgardens.org

Photo By: Image courtesy of McCumber Fine Gardens

Photo By: Image courtesy of Motionspace Architecture + Design PLLC

Photo By: Image courtesy of JKT Associates

Photo By: Image courtesy of McCumber Fine Gardens

Sedum Splendor

A dazzling collage of sedum plants make their home amid the imposing boulders of this all natural rock garden on Long Island, designed by LDAW Landscape Architecture, PC.

Earth Tones and Vibrant Colors

Intense primary colors dominate this lush space designed by Garden Creations, Inc. which adds additional landscape interest by placing rocks and boulders of different sizes along the border. 

Shapes and Sizes

A rock garden can often feature a variety of natural earth made materials such as this intriguing design by The Stone Stone which mixes boulders, river stones and different size rocks with low maintenance plants.

This Way to Rock City

A pathway beckons you to explore the beautiful and diverse rock gardens of the Denver Botanic Garden.

The Slope Solution

Here is a visually stunning but practical solution by Motionspace Architecture + Design to a steeply sloped front yard: Turn it into a rock garden with a variety of low-water plants and ornamental grasses.

Glass Pebbles and Pea Gravel

When designing a rock garden you can be creative and achieve a perfect balance of the artistic and the sustainable such as this alluring creation by JKT Associates, Inc. White, green and blue glass pebbles combined with pea gravel are ideal compliments for the main showcase - juncus and sedum plants, framed in corten steel which acquires a lovely patina in the natural rusting process. 

The Amphitheater Effect

One landscaping idea for a large but steep backyard in sunny climates is this design from McCumber Fine Gardens which combines stones and sandstone block rock with low water plantings such as mugo pines and barberry bushes in descending rows for the maximum visual impact. 

The Beauty of Low Maintenance

One advantage of having a rock garden is being able to feature a variety of low water plants that bloom at different times of the year and always provide visual interest such as this design which features ornamental grasses and the glowing red hues of the cotoneaster shrubs.

Three-Dimensional Effect

Boulders, large rocks and stone blend into the landscape of this lovely low-water green space, creating an arresting composition of colors and unique textures. 

Rock Around the Yard

If you don’t want to create a full-fledged rock garden you can still use rocks, pebbles and stones in your design to give your garden some visual pizzazz such as using the materials to accent or border an area.

Creative Hardscaping

A colorful variety of low-water plants provide an eye-pleasing natural landscape with assorted rocks and boulders in this garden with accessible flagstone paths and a fire pit enhanced by Mexican beach pebbles.

Calming Streams

Want to create a uniquely different water feature? Try landscaping with rocks such as this all-natural tableaux which uses New Mexico boulders of different shapes, sizes and color to create a soothing waterfall/stream effect.

Sculpted by Nature

Clusters of daisies and agastache with small evergreen shrubs transform a landscape of rocks, boulders and pebbles into a simple but elegant, all-natural rock garden.

Shelf Life

A diverse array of drought resistance plants cover this rocky landscape and look as if they are arranged on shelves carved into the naturally terraced hillside. 

Santa Fe Inspiration

Cat mint, nasella grass, shrub roses and other plantings make an appealing centerpiece in this southwestern garden with Santa Fe crushed gravel pathways.

Front Yard Dazzler

A diverse mixture of low maintenance shrubs and flowering plants are the colorful main attraction of this Seattle yard which uses large boulders as the finishing touch to the composition.

A Sustainable Rock Scenario

If your yard lacks sufficient sun or the optimum conditions for a traditional rock garden, you might consider using rocks to create another environmentally-friendly landscape such as a dry creek bed. This one, composed of stone from the Syar Napa Quarry in California, helps channel runoff water away from your property while encouraging plant growth that will mimic forest understory plantings. 

Natural Synchronicity

Blue globe spruce, thyme, salvias, sedum, ornamental oregano and other plants provide color and contrast against the sandstone stepping stones and rock border walls of this landscape design.