Admiring the amazing harmony of designer alpine slides, many dream to recreate their own corner of serenity and harmony on their site.
Landscape designers from year to year embody absolutely incredible ideas, creating rock gardens with fountains, streams, dwarf birches, meadow grasses and copies of lake systems. Admiring the amazing harmony of designer alpine slides, many dream to recreate their own corner of serenity and harmony on their site.
The picturesque landscape of the Alpine mountains has inspired gardeners to create alpine slides, which traditionally consist of a combination of stone and mountain plants.
Turn-based strategy: where to start?
The most sensible place to start is by choosing a location for your alpine slide. Each site has its own characteristics, and simply admiring the design projects of professionals without reference to the place is a waste of time. It is worth considering that a small slide in a small area and a solid rock garden, or even an ensemble, or a cascade of slides in large areas, will be harmonious.
An alpine hill densely planted with plants pleases the eye with its bright, rich colors.
A combination of functionality and decorative function: stone steps and rocky rock garden.
It should be noted that the slide should be located so that it can be seen from any point in the garden, in a light, not shaded space, away from buildings and trees. At the same time, it is worth taking care of protection from the wind, so it is more convenient to determine the best position of the rock garden on the spot - just moving from one intended point of placement to another, check the availability of lighting and protection from the wind, and also roughly mark the possible dimensions of the slide. At this stage, you can roughly calculate the amount of stone, decorative elements and the possibility of placing a reservoir or stream to create a landscape group.
Your own designer
Any work of art consists of hundreds and thousands of fleeting impressions, so you can safely consider the works of famous landscape designers and adopt interesting solutions from the masters, adapting them to your needs. However, before getting inspired, it is worth determining the style of the garden.
It is much more convenient to create a rock garden when planning a site, and here a slide will already set the tone for the entire garden. But more often it turns out the other way around, so it's worth looking around: the future rock garden should be in harmony with bridges, benches, swings, flower beds and paths. It is also necessary to carefully consider the choice of plants: the harmony of the Japanese garden will definitely be disturbed by the appearance of a rock garden with desert plants, and the strict landscape of the English park will not tolerate an excessive riot of colors.
It is worth choosing examples to follow in the style that is close to the existing landscape, or easily adapts to it. And of course, it is always worth remembering that plants can be replaced with completely different species that have the same growth, flowering time or leaf texture. A single concept makes the garden a pleasant resting place, so that the rock garden should be in line with the main spirit of the park.
Preparatory work: foundation
A place far from shrubs and trees, light and sheltered from the wind, was finally found, it remains only to determine how dry the land is. Groundwater near the surface definitely worsens the condition of the alpine slide and reduces its durability. Special drainage helps to resolve the situation. And you will have to start creating it from the foundation pit.
The drainage pit for an alpine slide can be equal to it in area or slightly exceed its dimensions, and approximately repeat the planned outlines. To set the shape of the slide, you can drive pegs along the contour and stretch a cord or rope - you get a fairly accurate contour.Inside the outlined line, it is necessary to dig a hole with a depth of at least 80 cm - the strength of the entire structure will depend on the reliability of drainage.
The finished pit is filled with at least 30 cm with broken brick, gravel or pebbles, spilled with water for shrinkage. This is followed by 10 cm of a mixture of sand and gravel, which must not only be spilled with water, but also tamped well. On top of the drainage layers, soil is poured, extracted when digging a pit, while picking out garbage, large stones, plant roots - weeds can spoil the ensemble of the slide. The soil is also compacted, spilled with water and allowed to stand for 2-3 weeks before final shrinkage. It is ideal to do drainage before winter, so that until spring the soil will stand and settle naturally.
Having passed the preparatory stages, you can start laying stones according to the plan of the future rock garden, observing the basic rules:
- The largest stones are installed first.
- It is necessary to deepen the stone by 2/3, at least 60% - for stability
- Large stones outline the main contours of the slide, both outside and inside
- Smaller boulders are placed in the most stable position
- Decorative stones and ceramic elements are placed at the end
- Pebbles or colored sand are poured last, if they are provided for in the project
- There must be enough space between the stones for plants
- Plants can be planted after the finished rock garden has stood for 2-3 weeks - the stones will take the most stable position and become a good support for vegetation
Designer slides are short-lived, and when equipping a rock garden with your own hands, you should familiarize yourself with the rules that underlie landscape work. And the first thing to remember is that an alpine slide is always a stepped structure, and starts a little earlier than the main slope. Around the base is level 0 - a valley in which the lawn is gradually replaced by low lush plants, often not blooming, but having decorative foliage. At some distance from the foot of the hill, mossy boulders and pebbles can be found.
The first terrace is the most stable; the first tall grasses, small trees or bushes, undersized flowering plants, parts of decorative compositions, small lakes are located on it. The second tier is suitable for placing dwarf conifers, heather and meadow grasses, aromatic plants - rosemary, lavender, oregano. The third and subsequent tiers require careful selection of plants that are resistant to dry soil and light, and the amount of greenery gradually decreases towards the top.
The spread of heights in the range from 1 to 3 meters allows you to harmoniously fit the slide into any landscape, and change both a small area and a landscape garden beyond recognition. For slides with a height of more than a meter, as well as for slides with streams and mills, a core device is recommended - a rigid base. For maximum naturalness, the top divides the slide in a 2: 1 ratio, except when a rigid geometry or an elongated silhouette is required.
In summary, for the device of the slide, you need to prepare:
- Pebbles and sand
- Moss, better sphagnum
- Plants, grasses and bonsai in harmony with the garden and with each other
The right choice: stones
Not every stone is suitable for the device of an alpine slide: shell rock, dolomite, tuff and other porous rocks are not suitable for the base, and, although at first glance they are very decorative, they quickly lose their appearance. You should not choose sculptures and decorations made of porous stone - for the same reasons. The optimal choice is rocks: basalt, granite, marble, limestone, sandstone. Rare types of stones with a dense, non-porous texture are also suitable.
Granite is a heavy, dense stone. Practically does not absorb moisture.
Limestone perfectly absorbs moisture; in dry periods, it gives it to the roots of plants.
Sandstone can be combined with different plants.This is the most popular option.
The shape of the stone is also very important for the rock garden - too angular or round boulders will not fit well in place, it will be difficult to group and fix them. It is better to give preference to asymmetrical stones, a natural enough shape. It is worth looking at the real mountain slopes in the photo - there are clearly visible outlines of rocky ledges, cut by rains and winds. It is better to choose stones in the same range, ideally of the same breed. The diversity and variety are good only in rare cases, and the alpine slide is quite conservative in style. An exception can be made only for pebbles, which can be quite variegated within the range.
The composition should look natural so as not to create the feeling that in front of you is a piece of nature, created by human hands.
You need to arrange stones as naturally as possible, without creating piles. The most aesthetic sides of the boulders should be turned outward, it is advisable to observe the rhythm from terrace to terrace, developing it by alternating large and medium stones, proportionate to the landing pockets. Defects in stone should be masked, and industrially made boulders should be replaced with natural rock fragments.
It is recommended to use various types of stones without the use of cement. This will greatly facilitate the work of creating a slide.
The number of stones must be chosen correctly. If there are not enough of them, there may be a smoothing of slopes or slipping of the soil during rain.
Long-lasting flowering: plant selection
When choosing plants for future rockeries, it is important to follow three basic rules:
- Plants should be decorative not only during the flowering period
- The flowering periods of different plants on the slide should smoothly transition one into another.
- Plants of the slide should be combined with the style of the garden
An example of the design of an alpine slide by plants
The rhythm set by the stones must be maintained using plants of different heights - from dwarf pines, cypresses, thujas to very tiny sedum, miniature scyllas and sphagnum. The best option for any slide is perennial plants that do not require much maintenance.
In order to achieve year-round decorativeness of the flower garden, it is necessary to plant crops with different flowering periods.
It is important to choose plants for rockeries that are adapted to the climatic conditions of the garden - in arid regions, give preference to steppe and desert species, in cold and humid ones - marsh and mountain. On the upper terraces, it is worth planting plants that love light.
An example of the design of an alpine slide by plants
Rockery classics are small bulbous: muscari, crocus, scillas, hyacinths, tulips and daffodils of miniature varieties. Bulbous plants begin to bloom very early, in April, and gradually replace each other, revitalizing the rather poor spring landscape. It is better to plant them in small clumps, 3-7 plants each. Such a group will be a bright spot during flowering, and the greenery will not clutter the landscape during the summer months.
Another classic member of the rock garden is conifers. Thuja, creeping pines and junipers, dwarf pine stylized as bonsai, barberry and cotoneaster bushes will create the illusion of a forest on the mountain slopes. Low-growing deciduous trees, such as dwarf birches, are also quite good, but only suitable for rockeries in temperate to cool climates. But blueberries and lingonberries create an amazingly beautiful green cover, and are even decorated with berries. Flowering shrubs such as Erica and Rhododendron will look great on a large hill, and if rockery is part of a large composition, then felt cherry on the first tier will look quite organic.
The Alpine slide is intended for close visual inspection, so it is usually positioned so that you can get closer to it and see the smallest details.
The summer blooming of the rock garden begins with violets and primroses, continued by undersized irises and various medicinal herbs: oregano, St. John's wort, herbal carnation, cat's foot. Different textures and shades of greenery will also add picturesqueness, especially if you choose silver-leaved plants such as jascolka, and brightly colored, such as badan.
It is necessary to plant plants on a slide taking into account compatibility, so that large ones do not shade dwarfs. If the flowers require different degrees of watering, this must also be taken into account. Moisture-loving astilbe, daylilies and drooping reeds are best planted at the foot of a rock garden, or near a reservoir.
Plants for the top of the alpine slide
The top of the rock garden is most open to daylight. Therefore, sun-loving and drought-resistant varieties should be planted here.
Plants for the middle tier rock garden
The middle tier of a rock garden differs in slightly different conditions for plants. There is a little more humidity and less light here, respectively, the plants need to be planted others.
Plants for the foot of the alpine slide
For the foot of the rock garden, you should choose plants that need fertile soil. Their light preferences may be different.
Low-growing and ground cover plants for an alpine slide
- Acena Buchanana;
- Hairy beard;
- Mine grate;
- The bone is hairy;
- The sedum is short-leaved;
- Ornamental cabbage;
- Fat woman;
Tip: Ground cover plants with strong root systems are placed on the slopes of the alpine slide to prevent it from eroding.
Flowering plants for an alpine slide
- Gypsophila, wulfenia;
- Lancet gorse;
- Poskharsky's bell;
- Primula Allioni;
- Buttercup cereal;
- We swing the creeping;
- Enotera Missouri;
- The catchment is Pyrenean;
- Gargan bell;
- The phlox is undersized;
- Basilicola soapwort;
- Draba evergreen;
- Mertensia is seaside;
- Fuopsis long-columnar;
- Round-leaved winged grass;
- Decorative strawberries;
- Rhodiola pink;
- Chiastophyllum is opposite-leaved;
- Himalayan geranium;
- Mountain cornflower;
- Cat's foot;
- Violets and chamomile.
Tip: Each of the flowering individuals in the composition of the rock garden plays its own role, so the flowers should not obscure and interfere with each other. Here it is important to achieve a smooth change in the shades of the slide. This can be easily achieved by combining alpine plants for flowering times.
Long-flowering plants for an alpine slide
Onion and bulbous
- Decorative karatavsky;
- Cornflower and island onions;
- Bow of Tubergen and Bezianum;
- Lilies of the valley;
- Poultry farmers;
- Garden buttercup;
- Dwarf varieties of irises, daffodils, dahlias and tulips.
Tip: The rocky structures of the rock garden will look as decorative as possible if you know the exact timing of the flowering of the bulbous. And yet, when planting onions in a rock garden with good drainage (stones and gravel prevent bulbs from rotting), leave enough space between them for growth. Temporarily empty spaces are covered with bark or pebbles.
Low-growing herbs for the alpine slide
- Quaking grass;
- Sharp-flowered reed;
- Feather grass;
- Eastern Pennisetum;
- Gray and red fescue;
- Evergreen sheep;
- Maned barley;
Tip: Herbaceous plants remain attractive until late autumn, while others have already wilted or not yet blossomed.Acting as a background, ornamental grasses serve as a juicy decoration in the creation of an alpine slide.
Compact shrubs for the alpine slide
- Mountain pine;
- Boletus wolfberry;
- Blue spruce;
- Horizontal cotoneaster;
- Thuja western;
- Miniature pine;
- Korean fir;
Tip: Plant dwarf trees and bushes first, highlighting the most spacious areas of the slide for them. Do not plant them on the sole or on the top of the ground. The optimal place for erect dwarf forms in the rock garden is at large stones along the edges of the hill, at a great distance from each other. When planted correctly, deciduous and coniferous shrubs do not require any special care from you. But some of them, for the winter period, you will have to cover by tying the plant with sacking or a special cover.
Keeping order: proper care of rockeries
After all the plants have been planted, the rockery begins to perform its decorative functions, but the work on its arrangement has not yet been completed. During the first year, you will need to fill up the soil several times and strengthen the boulders, complement the composition with plants and decor. The filled earth must be compacted to reduce washout.
Plants in a rock garden must be watered, cut off dry peduncles and leaves. Diseased plants require treatment, or are removed from the hill along with the soil on which they grew. Fertilization is carried out 2-3 times a season, you should not use compounds rich in nitrogen - they stimulate the growth of green mass, which reduces the decorative effect of rockery. When transplanting and planting new plants, it is better to use epin - an anti-stress composition; if necessary, it is worth spraying the hill with pest control agents. Watering is done as needed, through a watering can with a spray, so as not to erode the soil.