More recently, in a summer cottage or garden plot, an alpine slide was considered the pinnacle of landscape skill. And today such a slide is not built for himself unless a lazy summer resident.
The alpine slide simulates a mountainous landscape with its slopes, terraces and steps. The stone itself is a decorative material that enhances the beauty of plants. And the combination of stone with plants (especially a good combination) significantly increases the decorative and artistic effect of both.
The main thing here is to decide on a place. Ideally, it should be sunny, but sufficient for full coverage in the morning. Do not forget that this is a permanent structure, so choose a place where it is convenient to admire the slide from different angles.
The trees should be located at such a distance from the hill so that the plants on it do not appear in the shade, and the roots of the trees do not move the laid stones. In addition, if large trees are very close, small plants on the hill may simply die in the fall, when they are covered with a wet carpet of fallen leaves.
The ideal place to create a rocky slide would be a very slight slope. To create a small slide, you need to have a free sunny place with an area of at least 9-10 square meters, 15-20 large stones (from 40-60 cm), and 25-30 smaller stones (from 20 cm).
The size of the alpine slide depends on its location. The contours of the slide are in most cases free and depend on the taste of the owners of the site. Such rocky hills near a small reservoir are especially picturesque. And it is advisable to select plants from natural mountain species so that they look extremely natural.
Having determined the place and size of your slide, you must first transfer your idea to paper and consult with a knowledgeable person. Then, using a cord, mark the dimensions of the base in nature, taking into account that the site should be slightly larger than the alpine slide itself.
To start building an alpine slide, you need to choose a time when the soil is dry enough. First, remove the top fertile soil layer at the selected place and set it aside. From the excavated soil, carefully select the smallest pieces of roots of perennial weeds, especially wheatgrass, creeping bindweed, so that they do not subsequently fill your hill. If the soil is very infested with these weeds, then it makes sense not to rush with the construction of the slide, but to keep the soil under the "black steam".
Then the hole must be deepened to 20–25 cm. A foil with holes can be placed on the bottom so that weeds grow as little as possible. On loamy and heavy soils, a layer of drainage material 10-15 cm thick should be poured into the pit, using gravel, broken brick, expanded clay for this. This is necessary because most plants cannot tolerate stagnant water.
On light sandy soils, in the base of the hill, on the contrary, it is necessary to lay a water-retaining layer of clay or heavy clay soil with a thickness of 10-15 cm. Soil mixed with leaf humus, coarse-grained river sand and a small amount of fine gravel is poured on top to a height of 40-50 cm.
In those cases when the hill is raised above the soil level to a height of more than 60 cm, the pit is not digged, because the poured layer of soil will be sufficient for the normal development of the root system.
The direct construction of such a slide must begin from its core, i.e. from the base of the slide. If you have a sufficient number of large stones, then it is better to make this base from them. If there are few stones, then for the base of the slide, you can use construction waste or a mixture of crushed stone with sand.
For a long time, weathered limestone slabs were considered the best stone for such slides. But such material is not readily available. Therefore, you need to find something suitable in the vicinity of your summer cottage. These can be boulders, rock fragments, sandstones, etc.The greatest effect of a stone is achieved when using the same rock - granite, sandstone, limestone.
Particular attention should be paid to the size of the stones, their shape and surface. The stones should not have sharp corners, but the pellets are also not suitable for the slide. Boulders overgrown with moss and lichen have a very attractive appearance. At the same time, we must not forget that small stones of the same size are undesirable, since they give the impression of uniformity, and several large stones look better than many small ones.
If you did not manage to find anything (which is unlikely), then you can purchase pieces of rock from quarries, quite often offered by shops for gardeners.
The order of the stones is arbitrary. But to avoid piling up, imagine that you are in the mountains. At every step there are bare stones, and in the crevices there are cushions of plants. Visually, the slide should be natural.
Laying stones should be started from the bottom row. Having solved the stone “problem”, choose an attractive large stone to place in the first row on the “front” side of the slide. To do this, first dig a shallow hole, slightly larger than the base of the stone, and place the stone with a crowbar. Sprinkle earth and soil under the base of the stone, add a little earth behind it too. Then stand on the stone yourself - your "ceremonial" stone should sit tightly in the soil and not sway.
Then, on either side of the "main" stone, lay smaller stones, avoiding the semblance of flat building masonry. It is necessary to achieve the maximum resemblance of your "design" to natural rock talus. To do this, some stones must be laid more tightly, using the unevenness of the stones with imagination, and leaving gaps between others. All gaps between the stones must be filled (but not to the top) with densely compacted soil so that there are no voids under it where ants, slugs and mice could settle.
When you have finished laying the first row of stones, start laying the second, and so on, until everything is laid. They still need to be positioned so that they give the impression of a real rock, so that each stone is one with the whole group. It is better to lay small stones closer to the border of the rock garden. In this case, one must avoid symmetry, and also take into account that the stones must prevent the rapid flow of water from the slide.
If your alpine slide is small and has only a few large stones, then you can try to create the illusion of rock scree by covering the soil between the plants with a layer of gravel about 2 cm in diameter. shoots of plants from damp soil. However, white crushed stone and smooth pebbles are generally not suitable for these purposes, because in the mountains, stones have an uneven shape and "torn" edges. It is better to use coastal river stones.
If necessary, you can make large artificial stones yourself. To do this, mix 2 parts of coarse sand, 2 parts of sifted peat and 1 part of cement (by volume). Add water to the mixture until a thick solution is obtained. The consistency of this solution is very important to the success of the business. Then dig irregularly shaped holes and apply a 6–7 cm layer of this solution to the bottom and walls. Let it dry for several days. Then remove the castings from the "molds", clean them of the soil and now you can incorporate artificial hollow boulders with an uneven surface into your alpine slide.
After finishing the alpine slide, wait 2-3 weeks before planting the plants. During this time, the earth will settle, and the rain will reveal possible flaws in the structure. However, plants that live naturally in rock crevices can be planted immediately.
The most interesting for the rock garden are snowdrops, saffron, dwarf iris, muscari, daffodils, alyssum, violets, gentian, iberis, toadflax, edelweiss, poppies, forget-me-nots, primroses, juveniles, saxifrage, stonecrops and other plants. All of them are unpretentious, they are easy to place in any gap between stones, in inconvenient places. Among other things, they keep the soil on the slide well from being washed away by water. But at the same time, strongly growing plants with sparse and pampered ones should not be placed.
It is necessary to select plants in such a way that something always blooms on the hill. That is why spring bulbous plants - woods, crocuses, etc. are so important for the alpine slide. And to extend the flowering season, plant on an alpine hill plants that bloom in late summer and autumn. Among them are the obligatory crockworms, which complete the parade of flowers in your garden.
And the highlight of your alpine "program" can be a dwarf coniferous plant, various heathers, junipers, rhododendrons, which you plant in front of the rock garden. You can make a creeping carpet plant the central figure of the composition by placing its base at the top of the hill so that the shoots cascade down from there, covering the stones. They look very beautiful between stones from early spring. Just keep in mind that creeping carpet plants, if they are not restricted in growth, especially if the slide is small, can completely cover the surface of the stones, which is also undesirable.
Bells are rightfully considered one of the most important inhabitants of the alpine slides. Depending on the species, their flowering time ranges from mid-June to August. Among the stones, ferns also look impressive ...
Plants of alpine hills do not tolerate competition for moisture and nutrients, therefore it is necessary to regularly weed out the weeds germinating next to them. In autumn, during the fall of leaves, fallen leaves from a rocky hill must be removed every day, since in rainy weather the plants under wet leaves quickly rot.
At the end of winter, with a mixture of soil with leaf humus and sand, spud the bases of plants growing on a hill, the roots of which are exposed as a result of freezing and thawing of the soil.
And the last thing. Lizards will be the inhabitants of your slide; they love to bask on the pebbles. It will look good if there is a solar-powered lamp next to the slide. A full charge in the summer is sufficient to operate the luminaire at night. But the most important thing is to maintain the style, not to overdo it with the amount of plants, stone and garden decorations.
"Ural gardener", No. 51-52, 2013