To construct a fantastic rock garden careful planning is vital before you start. It's essential to remember the main aim is to achieve a rock garden which will appear as natural as possible. At all costs avoid scattering stones over a flat bed. Select a basic design, as a universal rule a sloping rock garden is a lot more attractive than a level one. The chosen site should be free from shade for most of the day - a backdrop of trees and shrubs will enhance the natural feel, however the trees have to be far enough away so that they do not have any destructive effect on the plants. Visit a good rock garden or two to find out what an outcrop or terraced rockery should look like. Draw a rough sketch, but an in depth plan at this stage is not possible. Mark out an area in your garden with string that is a little larger than your planned rock garden.

Prepare the location. Choose a day when the soil is comparatively dry. Take off the turf if you have any and remove all perennial weeds. This weed removal is vital as couch and bindwees etc. can ruin a rock garden. Dig out all the roots, if the site is badly infested you will probably need to use an appropriate weed killer such as glyphosate and leave the site unplanted for the period suggested on the label. Decent drainage is an additional vital will require. By using a sloping site on a non-clay area, no further groundwork should be required, but if the subsoil is heavy then a drainage layer will be required.

Move stones around. You should be able to move small stones around by merely carrying them, either by yourself or with assistance from a helper. At all times wear leather gloves and strong boots. Remember the golden rules, knees bent, back straight, hold the load evenly and straighten the knees with elbows as near to your thighs as possible. Never bend over to grasp the rock and on no account jerk up all of a sudden to lift it off the ground. You should be able to tackle rocks weighing up to about 1cwt with this way, but in a large rockery you will require to use some stones which weigh significantly more. One of the safest aids for medium sized rocks is the sack trolley. You will probably need to lay down a trackway of boards on soft ground. You should not use a single wheeled garden wheelbarrow because the load can easily tip over. Some stones are just too large to use a sack trolley and these pose a huge problem. You could make a track of wooden planks and roll the rock along by turning it over and over with a bar or a lump of wood.

To set the stones in place, you will require a crowbar, spade, some wooden planks and a strong stick for pushing soil between the stones. Unless the proposed rockery is little. You will also will require a number of capable helpers. Ideally you have chosen a bank with a gentle slope of about 10 degrees, if the site is flat and you propose to make a sloping rock garden you will need a minimum of 1 ton of topsoil for every 20 sq. ft. Purchase Top quality topsoil if the earth within your garden is clay. Look at the stones and select one that is large and has a lovely face - this is going to be the main stone and function as the centre point for your first layer of stones.

Dig out a hollow which is larger than the base of your key stone and roll the rock into place. Use the crowbar to lever it into its final position. Push rubble under the key stone and add soil both under and behind it. Ram this down firmly with a stick to ensure that you leave no air pockets. Stand on your rock to make sure it is compact. Follow the same process with stones of varied sizes on either side of the key stone, this is going to finish off the initial tier. A number of stones should be pushed tightly together with the crowbar but make sure you avoid a continual line one stone high. It is much better to rearrange the stones in groups, declining in height as the edges of the rock garden are reached. It's essential to make sure that all of the strata lines on the stones run in the same horizontal direction, and soil must be pushed into the cracks. Alpines may be planted into these joints as you go - now move on to the 2nd tier of stones. It could be necessary to put down wooden plank ramps to allow the stones to be rolled up to the upper tiers.

Continue until all of the stones have been set in position, stand back now and again to make sure that you are achieving the required effect. The final step at this stage is to add some more soil between the stones, but do not fill the planting pockets to their final level - leave a space for your planting mixture.

I have been a keen gardener for many years now but no one has all the answers. When I need help or advice I always call a company called Landscaping London. So far they have given me all the help and advice that I have asked for, as and when I ask them for it.

Author's Bio: 

I have been heavily involved in the property business for over twenty years. My work ranges from gardening, electrics and diy. Gasically I can turn my hand to pretty much anything.