A retainer garden can make a visual aesthetic statement while adding depth and texture to a flat yard. It can also be a useful and practical feature. When the garden has poor quality or clayey soil, the space encompassed by the wall can be used as a raised planting space. Just fill it with compost and topsoil to make it a healthy space for plants to thrive and flourish. You can also use a retainer wall to facilitate drainage of low-lying and soggy garden space.
The Joy of Creating a Retainer Garden
You may not worry about having a garden last a lifetime, but you will surely want a garden that is aesthetically pleasing and eye-catching. Landscaping a garden comes with its challenges. You may have to shore up a slope, create raised flower beds or make terraces give your garden some character and definition. There are many types of walls you can create, but natural stone can gracefully blend with the surroundings without looking out of place.
Creating the perfect retainer garden comes with its rewards. You will have the satisfaction of using rocks in your yard to build a permanent, useful and striking wall while wondering how to fit the different pieces of rocks to create something magical. Solving this puzzle will instill a sense of pride in you. It is a long construction tradition that mankind has been indulging in since time immemorial.
You may have several reasons to build a retainer garden. The fact remains that this project is big and time-consuming. It is advisable that you go out of your way to make as satisfying and enjoyable as possible. This begins with understanding how to plan as well as build the retaining wall not just correctly but also efficiently.
Create a realistic plan for how long you will take to build the wall and your retainer garden. You should not try to do more than you are capable of or anything too fast. It will take away the fun and challenge from the project. It will turn into a drudgery that you will detest.
Try allocating about two hours a day to complete the project. You can also do it as a weekend project by dedicating a few hours each weekend until you create the retainer garden you had envisaged.
Getting the Rocks
Not all places are blessed with naturally occurring rocks. You may have to purchase the rocks from your local landscaping supplier. Check the Yellow Pages under the Stone section. If you live in a small town, keep an eye for advertisement in the local newspaper. Gravel dealers, excavation contractors, and farmers are the best sources for rocks.
Purchase the rocks based on the size of your retainer garden. Do not create something so huge that you find it an ordeal to complete it. Check out the rocks before you buy them so that you can select the colors and types. The cost of the rocks will vary based on the kind of rocks you purchase and the place you buy it from. Farmers are renowned for being the most cost-effective source.
You will also need rock aggregate to create the base of the wall. You can also use gravel instead of rock aggregate. Keep the size to about 3/4-inch.
Get the rocks and gravel deposited close to your work site so that you don’t have to waste time and energy pushing a wheelbarrow. It can be exhausting carting the load to the place you want to build the retainer garden.
Tips to Create Retainer Garden
Building a stone wall for your retainer garden can be frustrating if you are new to it. So here are some tips to help you out and overcome certain challenges that you will face.
- You will need to move soil and dirt so that you can build the wall around it. This can be problematic as the dirt and soil will keep shifting on account of being loose. It is best to soak the dirt with water. Use your garden hose to thoroughly soak the soil so that it settles in and allows you to build the wall around it.
- Do not build a retainer garden in the vicinity of a tree. The roots can tear the retaining wall over time. You may want to cut away roots of trees that pose a threat to your retainer garden.
- The face of the wall will be visible to your guests. So always keep the flattest side of the rocks facing outward if you want to give the retainer garden a neat and organized appearance. If you want a rustic look and feel, keep the irregular side out.
- Don’t use flat stones to build the wall. Keep them aside so that after you finish, you can use these stones as capstones.
- Use the biggest stones to form the first row of the wall. Embed them into the gravel well.
- Fitting the stones will be a trial and error method. Go with the flow rather than spending your time measuring the size and shape of each stone.
- You will need a chisel and hammer to cut and shape stones. Make sure you wear gloves and eye protection while cutting the stones.
You can add compost and mulch to the soil contained within the wall to improve soil and ensure it retains moisture. Give wings to your imagination and create flowerbeds, lawn or anything else you can think of to beautify your retainer garden. The results will be amazing, and you will realize that the hours of labor and buckets of sweat were worthwhile.