Have you ever seen plants thriving and growing up through a crack in the sidewalk? That’s the idea behind crevice gardens.
It is a style of rock gardening which is essentially paving a raised bed with rocks and planting plants in those little spaces or crevices. They are very popular today in Colorado.
Our landscapers at J&S Landscape in Longmont are the experts in crevice garden design. With the help of our team, yours will be a showcase of sculptural rock with alpine and even rare plants.
Advantages & Benefits
Crevice gardens have a number of benefits including:
- The ability to grow plants that don’t thrive in other types of environments.
- Plants grow vertically between rock edifices to expand garden square footage.
- Using rock arrangements, you can cultivate both shade and sun-loving plants.
- Directing water flow through rocks and roots provides easy maintenance.
While beautiful and easy to maintain, crevice garden design can be a little more complex. But we love a challenge and the end results are so amazing, it’s worth it.
We’ll work with you about the need to protect the crevice garden plants from nearby trees that compete for water and litter the garden with leaves. A natural-looking yet functional rock formation is an important component to properly plan a crevice garden.
Crevice Garden Design
Crevice garden plants are generally smaller in size. Water is funneled down through the rocks and encourages deeper root growth, while the top of the plant stays dry. Once your crevice garden is built, not much landscape maintenance is required.
When choosing the location for a new crevice garden, a site with little competition from nearby trees is best. Tree roots may grow into the garden and compete with the plants for the water, and falling leaves into the garden can cause maintenance trouble. Your garden can actually be incorporated into the design of a natural water feature to provide a balance to the hardscape.
When putting together this type of feature, our J&S Landscape experts stick to these fundamentals:
- Use the right base material to prevent weather damage.
- Make sure you properly optimize humidity and drainage.
- Lock rocks into a structural formation for added support.
- Carefully place and bury rocks to create planting pockets.
- Build in microclimates to support a variety of plant types.
- For larger gardens, add stepping stones or access points.
- Use proper bare-root planting methods to prevent shock.
Colorado Crevice Gardens
Colorado is a leader in crevice gardening, with many crevice gardens on display at the Denver Botanic Gardens including, a large, south-facing xeric for steppe flora, a north-facing garden for alpines, and a partly shady, north-facing garden for Primula, Saxifraga and other shade-loving Colorado species.
Building a Crevice Garden
The foundation where the rocks are placed is usually builder’s sand or concrete sand. A 50/50 mix of sand and gravel with no organic material is also used in certain situations. This allows drainage but also protects the rocks from frost heave in the winter. Gravel goes on top, keeping the sand from washing away.
The rocks have to be buried deep enough so they won’t tip over. They should be placed touching each other and lock into the others, keeping them in place. This allows planting pockets between the stones in the small spaces with an inch is the general target crevice length. Smaller plants, such as cacti, dwarf shrubby plants, and alpines are the best options.
Need help with crevice garden design? After working with our landscapers at J&S Landscape in Longmont, you will have a beautiful rock garden featuring alpine and rare plants growing from the crevices between the rocks. To learn more and plan your own backyard oasis, feel free to get in touch.