Berm Rock Garden
A berm is a type of raised garden with informal edges. This style of rock garden is often used on relatively level sites. Freely draining rock garden soil is mounded at least 12" above grade. Rocks of different sizes are then placed and partially buried along the berm. A variety of plants of different sizes are used to create a visually interesting garden.
The site of our main rock garden is a level area between a gravel drive and the property line. The native soil is clay, so we chose to create a berm style rock garden. The garden was laid out as a series of mounds and paths that allow comfortable strolling and good access for tending the plantings. The planting soil is a combination of garden soil, crushed rock and river sand to create a loose matrix that breaks apart easily and allows easy penetration of oxygen and moisture.
When planting, we tried to avoid overcrowding by giving plants plenty of room to reach their mature size. As with all gardens, some plants will outgrow the space and need to be thinned or transplanted. Over time, the maturing garden softens the appearance of the accent rocks and crushed rock mulch.
We included a small water feature at the edge of the rock garden and near a seating area. Water features are an ideal focal point. They enhance the naturalistic feel of the garden and add another element of interest. Plants can be tucked along water's edge as well as along the slopes and niches created in the construction of the water feature.
A variety of berm sizes were designed with the small berm in the foreground used to grow alpines and other smaller scale plants.
This small berm was built with thin, flat rocks pitched almost vertically to create planting crevices and niches. It is also planted with alpines and other small plants.
Another eye catching focal point is the centrally located Lewisia mound.
We created an arbor screen that is placed at the edge of a gravel pad where containers are grouped and where seating encourages visitors to linger. Wide paths invite visitors to stroll and explore.