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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Rock Garden Idea

From Mulch Mayhem to Rockin' Retreat: My Hilarious Journey to a Weed-Free Garden

Struggling with a weed-infested yard? Turn your flower beds into a rockin' retreat (literally)! This hilarious post shares the trials and tribulations (and a ton of rocks) of creating a low-maintenance garden. #gardening #rockgarden #weedfree

rock garden with bird bath and water fountain and succulents

Have you ever started a home improvement project not fully understanding what you are getting yourself into until it has already begun?

My husband and I have found ourselves in the midst of such a project. We keep telling ourselves we will love it when it's completed.

Several weeks ago, we had a brainy idea. 

Years of doing the annual mulch shuffle, we decided no more. You know the one: buying mulch, spreading mulch, watching it disappear into the never-ending abyss (a.k.a. my flower beds), and then buying more mulch. And let's not forget the backbreaking work of weeding in between. I swear, the weeds in my yard are on steroids. 

weed barrier on ground with bags of river rock

My husband, bless his heart, indulged my brainstorm of a rock garden. "Hey," I thought, "maybe if I surround these botanical bullies with rocks, they'll finally get the hint!" Besides, with my self-proclaimed black thumb, anything that thrived on neglect seemed like a winner.

Personally, I think I had him at rock garden, no more explanation was needed, but I was vested in this thought so I went on... 

placing tarp down on ground as weed barrier

placing pavers to take up space before rock goes down
Use pavers to take up space

SO... the long and the short of it, those who cannot grow flowers, grow a rock garden.

Fueled by optimism and a complete lack of understanding about rock quantities, we purchased a measly 500 pounds of rock. In my head, this would cover a vast territory. Like, maybe an entire national park?

4 pavers surrounded by river rock
Fill in with river rock around the pavers 

In case you were wondering, it did not... so much for those river rocks growing, huh?

gazing balls

If you like gazing balls, but not the prices, then check out how I made my own gazing balls.  You can also check out everything about our solar lights, and how we made rogue cast posts into light posts. I love them!  

succulents in water fountain
We are trimming down the other Scottie dog so they are the same height

I have been using our neighbor's fence as a means of measurement. Each section is six feet, and so I thought 500 pounds of rock would surely cover two six foot sections, maybe more. Wouldn't you think so too?

BZZZZZTT! Wrong answer (do you like my sound effects).

Turns out, 500 pounds of rock covers a surprisingly small area. Think one measly flower bed section. Fast forward several car trips (during which our poor car complained about the weight and how dare we make her work so hard) and 2,100 pounds of rock later, and we're starting to make a dent in the project.

I am working on ways to eliminate the need to weed our beds, don't you want to know all about it? 

rock garden with faux flowers

I know, sign me up, right?

But here's the thing about weeds: they're persistent little devils. Determined to outsmart them, I experimented with various weed barrier strategies. There was the brown weed barrier and green tarp combo, followed by the heavy-duty silver tarp solo act.

While I dream of a weed-free utopia for the next forty years (hey, a girl can dream!), reality check: weed barriers apparently don't like sunshine. Who knew? So, with a healthy dose of skepticism, I piled on the rocks, hoping for the best.

rock garden with gazing balls, flower pot, and dog

sun dial in rock garden

Three weeks in, and let me tell you, those weeds are nowhere to be found. Is this a gardening miracle, or am I just delusional? Only time will tell.

One thing I've learned for sure: conquer big projects in bite-sized pieces. We're tackling one section a week to avoid overwhelm and broken backs (hey, those rocks are heavy!). And because Ohio weather and my asthma aren't exactly best friends, we squeeze in our rock garden therapy sessions before the heat hits.

With about 7,000 more pounds of river rock to go, this project is far from over. But hey, at least I'm learning my limits and rocking a killer garden (pun intended) at the same time. Stay tuned for the next episode of "Mulch Mayhem to Rockin' Retreat to see what more we learn about rock gardens next. 

Don't Forget to Pin for Later!

Bird bath in rock garden



Would you like to comment?

  1. Oh boy, what a huge job. When we lived in KY we replaced the beds around our pool with rock! It's great because you don't have to replace it like the mulch but unfortunately darn weeds did still appear after a while. Good luck finishing up and take care in the heat!!

    1. Oh darn Donna, I am hoping the weeds would be gone for quite a while. I will have to share updates to see if the tarps help. We decided that mulch every year is kind of a pain, and we were thinking the rock would be less work too. Fingers crossed!