Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Stone in the Garden

– Posted in: Garden Design

Mini picnic table in courtyard early July 05

Stone may seem like an odd topic for a design workshop, I suppose. But in the last year of blog-reading, I’ve noticed that many of you incorporate stone into your gardens in one form or another: as gravel for paths, slabs for paving and Patios, rocks for walls, and boulders for accents. Our driveway specialists can offer driveway pavers, block-paving and slabbing services. I thought it might be interesting to hear why those of you who don’t naturally have stone on your property chose real stone over concrete masonry units or other manufactured building products. And to those of you who’ve been blessed (or cursed) with stones large or small, how about showing us how you’ve coped with those challenges?

Have you recently completed any garden projects with stone: a gravel or stepping-stone path, perhaps, or a stone patio, or a rock wall? Here’s your chance to show and tell.

Maybe you’d like to ask for ideas on a stone project you’ve been considering? Our readers always have lots of ideas and opinions to share.

Or, how about showing off your favorite plants and plantings that associate well with stone: anything from tiny alpines or mosses and lichens to tough groundcovers tucked into a stony slope.

Have you seen any spectacular (or spectacularly bad) stonework on your travels? Oh, come on – you know you have! It’s fair game too. We’d love to see beauty shots of stone in natural settings, as well.

That should give you enough ideas to get started. Ok, gardeners, rock on!

Rock wall with Sedum Teucrium Ceratostigma My Love June 25 07If you’re new to the Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop, here’s how it works: Write a post on any stone-related topic on your own blog and leave a link here (already-archived posts count too), or jot down your thoughts in a comment below. At the end of the month, I’ll gather all of the links into one summary post for easy reference. If you’re interested in checking out previous GBD Workshops, you can find them here:

Paths and Walkways
Fences and Walls
Arbors and Pergolas
Color in the Garden
Container Plantings
Front-Yard Gardens

And for those of you who like to know what’s ahead, here’s the list of proposed topics for the next five months of Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshops:

* Decks, Porches, and Patios (bringing plants into your outdoor living spaces)

* Garden Whimsy (plantings and accents that are clever, quirky, or just plain fun)

* Trellises and Screens (and vines, too)

* Water Gardens (ponds, waterfalls, bog gardens, and container water gardens)

* Coping with Slopes (groundcovers, terraces, steps, etc.)

Nancy J. Ondra
Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.
Nancy J. Ondra

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24 comments… add one

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Frances May 1, 2008, 7:00 am

I got a head start on this since you gave us the list of topics. Thanks. I have posted Gifts From the Gravel today. I will go back and add a link to this post later. Thanks for the head’s up on what is to come.

Fantastic post, Frances – many thanks!

Frances May 1, 2008, 7:30 am

Here is an older post about stone … . This is a great topic. I may write another one later also.

Super! I’m glad you’re having fun with this one, Frances.

Nancy Bond May 1, 2008, 7:42 am

I am a ‘rock hound’ — I collect, tumble and polish beach stones — and really like them as a focal point and natural element in any garden, large or small. In previous gardens, I’ve worked around/with stones that were too large to move without an excavator, and have also used the smallest of polished stones in flowerpots. I’ll look forward to reading everyone’s contribution to this topic!

Oh, me too, Nancy – I adore handling polished stones. If you have time, it would be great to see pictures of some of your projects on your blog.

jodi May 1, 2008, 10:03 pm

Love stone, love them love them…although not the ones that heave up in the pasture or garden, because they’re NEVER the right size or shape or kind to be attractive or useful.

Ah, yeah, those seed-stones are pesky. I have lots of those too, unfortunately.

Gail May 1, 2008, 10:34 pm

I have a long history with stone in my garden, I can post again….


Excellent, Gail. I look forward to seeing what else you come up with!

Christopher C NC May 1, 2008, 11:20 pm

Now this is a topic I should make an effort to join in. I would hope I could get that done in a months time. I have lifted and toted a few rocks in my day. I should even resurrect some of the stone works created on Maui for this GBDW post.

Great! I think I remember some of the stonework you showed at your old place. We’ll be glad to see whatever you want to share, old or new.

Lisa at Greenbow May 2, 2008, 3:54 pm

All the stone in our garden is imported. I would have tons of stone in the garden if it weren’t so expensive. I can’t wait to see what everyone is doing with their stones.

Hi Lisa! I too would love to have tons (literally) of more stone for my place. I mostly have pesky, piddly little rocks, while many of my neighbors have wonderful huge boulders, which I covet.

Helen May 3, 2008, 11:22 am

Here is my entry for stone in the garden – hope you enjoy it

Welcome, Helen, and thanks so much for your contribution for this month’s topic! I’ll be over soon for a visit.

Shirl May 5, 2008, 7:54 am

Hi there Nan, sorry I didn’t take part last month. I may post on this yet but as I don’t want to show images of my house and most my front is driveway anyway it is a bit tricky. However I do love my front garden and it is my only full sun area. I will see what I can do with my images in the future 😀

Stone I really do love but I will need to refer to old photos for this one. I have some interesting stories here. This is a subject I had planned to post on sometime so I will take my time with this!

Have a good week 😀

No problem, Shirl. I appreciate you reading and saying hello, anyway. And I look forward to seeing what you come up with on the stone topic!

Angela (Cottage Magpie) May 6, 2008, 12:12 am

Ironically, I used stone for all the edging and the stepping stones at my last garden, but budgetary constraints are leaving me stoneless at the new one (unless you count gravel…). I considered the fake stuff, just because of cost, but I couldn’t bring myself to use it. Maybe I’ll just write about that!
~Angela 🙂

Sure, Angela, gravel counts! I too have pondered the question of buying good stone versus the fake stuff; so far, I’ve managed to compromise with scrounged stone, but the pickings are getting very slim. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts!

James | Double Danger May 6, 2008, 3:33 pm

I’m not trying to hijack this post or anything – but we “stoned” our garden pathways this year. Turned out great!

We have pics on the site, I would post a link – but hate to seem like a spammer! haha

Thanks, James! I enjoyed reading about your vegetable garden path project, and I think it turned out looking super. It’s totally fine to include one link per comment so we can all find you. For now, here’s a direct link to The Rock the Garden Project.

James | Double Danger May 7, 2008, 11:35 am

thanks Nan – I didn’t know the the “rules” and didn’t want to see like a spammer. I really appreciate it and glad you enjoyed it!

Pam/Digging May 7, 2008, 11:45 am

Here’s one post about stone, but I may do another. Cheers!

Thanks so much for the link, Pam!

wiseacre May 15, 2008, 8:11 am

I’m afraid I’m an idiot – only an idiot would attempt to move by hand the rock I find new homes for.

I must have stone in any garden I create. I can pass on water features when a person says no but if they let me in their yard they’re going to end up with rock one way or another.

I only wish I had more time right now to browse all the rock posts that will be rolling off this post. But I have a ton of stone waiting to pounce on my little 1/2 ton pick-up so I’ll need to wait for a rainy day. (I thought today would be it but the sun just came out and things are drying enough to make it safe)

I love the image of all that stone ready to pounce on your poor little truck! Good luck getting it moved. Yes, there’s something about moving stone that makes reason fly out the window. At least when you move it by hand, it generally doesn’t get scratched up as much as if you move it with proper equipment. The wear and tear on the body is another matter.

Benjamin May 19, 2008, 8:57 am

Short and sweet, Nan.

Thanks, Benjamin! Lucky I found this note from you; apparently our message filter thought you were spam (possibly due to the “stoned” reference?).

Shady Gardener May 21, 2008, 9:56 am

I will do this post! I WILL do this post! I will DO this post! I will do THIS post! I will do this POST! I have a LOT of stone… just need to get my act together! 🙂

You’ve got plenty of time yet, Shady – go for it!

Heirloom Gardener May 22, 2008, 11:37 pm


Here’s a short post about the bluestone, pebbles, and native stones that I have incoporated into my garden:

-Heirloom Gardener

Thanks, HG! I’ll be over soon to see what you’ve been up to.

Shady Gardener May 22, 2008, 11:55 pm

Nan, My post is up! I’m sure it won’t be the end of the posts on rocks! 😉 Thanks for giving the opportunity to gather together a few photos.

Great, Shady! Always happy to provide an excuse for posting pictures.

Christopher C NC May 23, 2008, 10:59 pm

Hi Nancy,

The monumental post on Stone in the Garden is done.

When Land Hands You Rocks

Excellent! Thanks so much for putting this together. If you’re going to write a post about rocks, it may as well be monumental, right?

Phillip May 28, 2008, 12:26 am

This has been a very enjoyable topic. I love stone in the garden. I’ve posted about it on my blog at

Outstanding use of both stone and recycled concrete, Phillip. I’m so glad you posted this month!

Jim May 28, 2008, 8:38 am

I’m a stoner, find me at:!.html

It’s a lazy post of shots from garden Walk again, but I hope readers find them inspirational.

And thanks again for coordinating this effort. I find these workshops to be a great source for ideas.

Great photo gallery from Garden Walk Buffalo, Jim. Thanks so much for taking part in the workshop again this month.

cindee May 29, 2008, 11:00 pm

I was surfing blogs and came across yours from another blog. I saw you have the same rabbit/turtle tic tac toe game(-: Its so cute…I love it(-:
I also love stone in the garden and collect rocks to use as borders. I have an abundance of rocks where I live so it makes it pretty easy(-: I enjoyed looking at your blog!!!

Welcome to Gardening Gone Wild, Cindee! I too enjoy having the little game vignette. If you have any current or archived posts about the rocks in your garden, feel free to leave a link so we can include them in this month’s summary post.

Tina Ramsey May 30, 2008, 11:42 am

I have posted my stone post. Looking forward to the other workshops too.

Thanks so much, Tina. I tried to leave a comment on your post, but unfortunately, I can’t use either of your ID options.

Becky February 22, 2009, 4:38 pm

My blog is called Plants and Stones for a reason. There could be more stones in my garden than plants. We use it for lots of things. If you want to see you can start with my header.

So you’re a rock gardener, are you, Becky? (Sorry – you probably don’t find that funny.) Thanks for visiting!

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