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How can I garden on rocky ground?

I'm looking for options on how to garden and landscape my property. My land is very rocky and has a slight slope to it. When I say rocky, I'm talking lots and lots of exposed boulders. I built a raised bed last year and it worked very well for me, but I haven't found a cost effective way to build raised beds. What I'm looking for the most cost effective way to build raised beds, and also options for landscaping other rocky areas of my property.

Details:

  1. You can incorporate the boulders into your your landscaping. Dig out a small area around the rock, replace that dirt with good soil and plant flowers, trailing plants, small upright shrubs etc. In one area of your "slope" you could make a dry water fall with your smaller rocks, even extend it to a dry creek bed and plant the edges. Just one idea....Good Luck
  2. I love Lady's suggestions for incorporating the boulders into your design. I would love to have your problem with all the extra rocks. But why not take it a step further and build raised beds from some of the smaller boulders and rocks you already have? I've seen people build entire retaining walls from rocks they've collected in their yards, so a relatively small raised bed shouldn't be too difficult. Try to dig, but at least loosen a couple inches of the soil in a 4x8 foot area that is free of the big boulders. Pile up any rocks you loosen around the perimeter of the area, and collect other loose rocks from different areas of the yard to complete it. If you can raise the bed at least 8-10 inches, that would work best. You should be able to loose fit the rocks, but you can mortar them later if you like how it works. Fill the raised area with a nice blend of topsoil and compost/peat.
  3. Rent a bobcat for $200 a day and level off your yard down to about 6" or more below what you currently have. Next, get fill dirt from craigslist for free. Dump it all in there and you can garden to your hearts extent. Either you do it or have someone else do it. Yes, you'll have to spend a bit, but overall if you plan on just building a bed and buying soil you'll eventually spend more. Make an investment and do it right.