Alpine slide, or rock garden (some people call this slide Olympic for some reason), has gained popularity in Russia relatively recently, although such an element of landscape art has existed for about a thousand years since its inception in East Asia.
For a long time, French was considered the most widespread way of planting greenery on our territory, with regular alleys and flowerbeds; English could also be used on rough terrain, but this only concerned the location of paths and large architectural elements.
The rock garden began to gain popularity in the 90s, and since then it has spread from areas near administrative buildings to the adjoining territories of apartment buildings, cottages and parks.
A bit of history
Its roots rock gardens do not go to the Alps, but to Japan. There, about a thousand years ago, stone gardens were placed near the temples, and then stones covered with moss, lichen and sparse vegetation became an ornament of non-cultivated territories.
This art continues to exist in Japan today, since also has religious significance (Zen Buddhism). Among other things, in Japanese culture created by nature is considered a priori more beautiful than man-made; man must strive to imitate nature, but he can never surpass it.
In Europe, the fashion for stone in the gardens came in the 18th century, after Japan began to gradually open itself to foreigners. The stones took root perfectly in England, where landscape gardening developed, as opposed to the regular French. At first, artificial structures resembling abandoned were built from stones in the parks: various grottoes, dams, arches, artificial ruins, but no plants were planted on them.
This pleasure was for people not the poorest, and so it would have remained in history if it had not been for the increased popularity of botany in the middle of the 19th century. Began to be created botanical collections, plants began to group according to their places of growth. Botanical gardens, until that time specialized in medicinal plants, expanded their range of tasks and began to create collections to study plants as a type of living organism and part of natural communities.
One of the groups of plants studied at that time was mountainous. They came just in time: the creators of landscape parks did not limit themselves to breeding forms and tried to plant wild plants on their plots. Mountain plants are suitable for this as never before, because they naturally grow in a very aggressive environment and in badlands.
Rock gardens first appeared in the botanical gardens of Edinburgh and London, then spread around the world, and more than half a century passed before rock gardens moved to private gardens. By this time, breeders have made efforts to develop cultivars of mountain plants.
Many years passed, and the combination of plants and stone became widespread. in a wide variety of forms: these are both traditional slides and entire compositions imitating a mountain landscape - rockeries, as well as their various combinations with traditional garden plants, artificial ponds and waterfalls, flowerbeds and other elements of landscape design.
Despite the fact that the creation of rock gardens has such a long history and practical experience, the townsfolk often do not know how to make a slide with their own hands. Often, instead of a slide, he gets at best a tall flower bed with cobblestones, and at worst a pile of stones and plants, more like an untidy grave.
Therefore, today we will talk about how to make a slide in the country with your own hands and decorate your personal plot.
A site with sand and a low level of groundwater removes excess moisture well, but can creep away - and you need to think about a solid base under the hill.
Since rock garden involves planting mountain plants, they need to create conditionscomparable to those in their homeland. Mountain conditions are characterized by the following:
- a small fertile layer;
- a high proportion of minerals (which is not surprising - there are only rocks in the form of stones around);
- the water is only running, there is no stagnation of water in the mountains;
- strong bases.
Now compare all this with the characteristics of your site and determine the amount of work. In the meantime, we will tell you how to make an alpine slide in the country, depending on the conditions on your site.
So, if your site is in a lowland and it is swampy, you will have to resort to excavation and the creation of an artificial reservoir. If you had it in your thoughts, rejoice: the problem of “where to get water from” has been solved.
Step-by-step instructions for building a slide
Now we will understand the structure of the alpine hill. The sequence of work will be connected precisely with this - without knowing the structure of the slide from the inside, you will get a flower bed.
We will touch on in detail the process of creating a foundation for a rock garden in the three most common cases in Russia:
- Clay and loam.
- Fine dusty sand, which has the property of eroding and causing maximum difficulties in construction.
Why is that? But because for people living among rocky soils in mountainous areas, all this is irrelevant: they have another problem - how to make a garden on the site.
So, the first thing to do in any case is to produce excavation to the depth of the fertile layer. This is about 20 cm. Why? Everything is simple. This layer contains weeds, both annuals and perennials, and it is better to get rid of them now than then weed them every year. If you feel sorry for the land, well, there is a way out. The shot turf must be stamped. It is better to produce it at the end of summer.
To do this, in the corner of the site, enclose the site to a height of a meter, lay the sod there with layers of grass down. Between the layers you can lay leaves, garbage, and to make the process go faster - manure. From above, all this should take shelter no less than half a meter of sand, garbage and other unnecessary rubbish, which will not allow weeds to germinate.
During composting with manure, the tank will become very hot, and by spring both seeds and weed roots will die there. You don’t have to worry about why it takes so long: you will also do the main work only for the next year. Work in that case better in stagesrather than trying to do it all in one day. At the same time, there will be time to think, having seen your plans in kind, and, in which case, to correct them.
After excavation of the fertile layer we strengthen the base. If your site is on wet loam, you need to lay large stones in the resulting hole. They will not let the whole slide go down next season. The stones are laid according to the shape of the future rock garden, that is, just below the projected area and height. If your slide is not high or has any irregular shape, you can limit yourself to laying out the bottom.
In the sand you need to take out part of the sand and lay the place with rubble, and only then form a base of large stones. If the sand is very loose, then under the rubble you need to lay one layer of geotextile - this will save the entire structure from sprawling.
Finally, if you are the owner of a quicksand, you have to make a concrete pillow. We understand that not everyone likes this idea, but in this case, the stove is the only way to avoid the spread of the slide next year. But you should not worry: often it is concreting (and not only in the form of a slab) that allows you to build the most interesting and bizarre forms.
Using concrete, you can create an artificial pond next to the slide. Thus, the bay form, you can leave it for the winter, and after the snow melts, proceed with further work.
The next stage of work will be a drainage device. It consists in filling your future rock garden with a layer of small crumbs or gravel, and in general, with any small stone.
True, there is one important point: avoid pellets (pebbles) - they will not keep in shape. Pebbles can be used as a decor element later.
If you plan to arrange a waterfall on the hill, the water from which will go to an artificial pond, then it is better to make the installation of a water supply system, electricity and a gutter for water flow right now. Do not forget to insulate the wiring correctly. To create a gutter, film and geotextiles are used - during subsequent work they will be hidden under the outer elements.
After laying the drainage, we proceed to the design of the rock garden. To do this, we need stones of the desired shape, sand and fertile land. Sand serves as a retaining layer for stones.
Process start at the bottom and end at the top - if you don’t, of course, have a very large boulder that you want to place on the very top. In the intervals between the stones where you plan to plant the plants, we fill the earth, put pebbles, crumbs, expanded clay and other bulk materials in other cracks. Now you can proceed with the landing.
What plants can be grown in rock gardens
In principle, any. But to make it look like a rock garden, it’s better to be guided by how the plants live in nature. So, photophilous plants are best planted from above, and those who prefer moisture are better planted from below.
Best in advance draw up a landing pattern in the form of three tiers - top, middle and foot. Now we will present you some flowers that look good in this form of flower garden.
The list, of course, is not limited to them. And most importantly - all these plants have different varieties, suitable for rock gardens and rockeries, as well as for planting in flower beds - for example, phlox. Therefore, when choosing planting material, carefully read the description of the plant - its size, need for care, and more.
In principle, mountain plants do not require much care. For example, they do not need intensive watering: where they live in nature, they extract water from almost nothing. The only thing they always need is light. Therefore, it’s better to place your slide on the sunny side of the plotso that the shadow from the fence, the house and the trees do not fall there.
Some species, for example, edelweiss, refuse to grow without light. Also, do not make a lot of fertile soil under these plants, this can damage them. However, here again it is better to be guided by the characteristics of a particular variety.
Slide Design and More
At one time, the rock garden in Russia became a kind of attribute of advancement. Put just for show; the owner believed that he follows fashion.
The result was sometimes not very impressive: among the mowed lawn under a high fence there was either a boil or, if poorly executed, a relative’s grave.
It was put by all and sundry and wherever possible, regardless of issues such as:
- Does this element fit into the landscape?
- And is the form selected successfully?
Meanwhile, the rock garden requires not only proper construction, but also well-chosen surroundings. So, a single slide combines well with the track around it, and if you approach the matter with enthusiasm and think twice, you can create a variety of compositions from stones, water and plants. We will introduce a number of them to you.
This option requires large areas and is suitable for those who do not plan a garden, a warehouse and a car workshop on the site. At its core, it is a landscaped garden that mimics the natural community of the foothills.
There are no slides in the classical sense, but there are ponds, single stones of different sizes, curved paths and plants of various tiers - from trees and shrubs to moss.
Moreover, the plants do not have to be of mountain origin at all: a similar landscape can be built from accessible and familiar pines, dogrose, and pansies with petunia.
Someone will be satisfied with a completely green set, where there are almost no flowers, but plantings can be formed taking into account the flowering seasonality.
It is an artificial structure made "under the ruins" or having an unusual shape, even not at all natural. Its advantage is that it is located on a compact territory. In such rockeries it is better to grow frost-resistant species, and they will grow directly from the "cracks". The desired form can be selected independently or contact the architect.
This option is suitable for owners of plots with a slope. Its essence is that the place of the slope is divided into separate platforms - terraces - and they are already directly decorated.
Base is carried out in the form of retaining walls, and, depending on your preferences, you can make it both imitate a natural object (from large boulders), and completely artificial (aged masonry, which must have holes for water drainage).
The advantage of this technique is that the walls hold drainage better, sand and soil, as well as decorative elements from sprawling. Very suitable for a waterfall.
Another option for the design of the slope on the site. If desired, it can also be arranged artificially using the same retaining walls, the main thing is that they are not visible. The design of such a slope is made by stones of different sizes (and large boulders are necessary), between which there is a shallow bed and low mountain plants. Plants with wasteland also look good - for example, heather.
It is a flat place, decorated with rough stones and mountain vegetation. The stone in this composition should dominate, so avoid tall plants. The advantage of this type of alpine landscape is that it is harder to spoil. You do not have to suffer with proportions, as in previous cases.
And this is the very thing that we understand by rock garden. Universally, conveniently, it doesn’t take up space, but ... It looks decent in the right environment and in optimal proportions. They are approximately the following: the base should not be round, the width should not be more than 0.75 of the length. Height will not make a pimple out of your slide if it does not exceed 0.2 of the length.
The stones for your composition should be of the same type if possible. Consider this in advance - perhaps not every breed can be purchased in your area. As for the size of the stones, you can create a layout at home before the rock garden device - it will help you decide.
In the form of boulders can be used granite, syenite, limestone, sandstone. In the form of "tiles" - shell rock and slates. When choosing a stone, look also at its chemical properties: for example, granite oxidizes the soil, so it is best to grow plants that combine well with coniferous trees (they have the same property).
Large stones desirable to sink into the ground. Firstly, it will create a good natural effect (as if it is coming out of the ground itself), and secondly, it is safer, especially if you place the stone vertically.
I hope we have helped you sort out the issue and have given the necessary advice. Good luck