Birth of a C/S bed

Windsor, CA(Zone 9b)

Birth, but not quite finished. I will leave the rocks encircling the other two beds and then line the new one with rocks and fill in with soil, and then finally will plant some C/S. Of course I have to order the plants which will be costly, and I have this space and another 15 spaces from plants that died during the extended freeze. Need to win the lotto. Xuling

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Sun Lakes, AZ(Zone 9a)

Looks like a great place for the plants. They will be happy there!

Windsor, CA(Zone 9b)

Further along. The circle of rocks needs to be completed and then soil added to fill the bed. And then the plants of course, which I do not have. Should I remove the rocks of the two existing beds so they flow better, or leave them as they are now? Xuling

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Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

I thought you were running out of space in the ground, Xuling. Apparently not! :) I like the plan, keep us posted. I would leave the border rocks in place between the beds until the new area has settled a bit, then remove them as plants need more space.

Windsor, CA(Zone 9b)

Well I am running out of space in the front yard!!! But the rear yard still has some room. All soummer the Annual seeds that I plant grow so hign they hide the cactus beds, so by building some more beds in the back this one will be seen. And thanks for the idas about the setting soil. Yes then I can remove the rocks. Gracias. Xuling

Fountain Hills, AZ(Zone 9b)

If I might ask, is the point of the border rocks to create a slightly raised bed to allow better drainage?

Windsor, CA(Zone 9b)

Yer GermanStar and to create a very delineated bed. I dig down about 10 to 12 inches and remove all that dirt and fill the hole in up to the top of the little rocks with a cactus soil and 5/16s inch red lava rock mixture which is approximately 50/50.
So there is approxiamtely 16 +- inches of this mixture for drainage. All my cactus beds are built this way. Not done yet, but getting close to filling the bed with the mixture to the top of the little rocks. Xuling

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Most of the bigger plants or groups I've put in the ground here have a ring of roughly hand-sized rocks around them, so the end result is not unlike your bed design. It looks very similar at this stage. But the plants here are level with the surrounding terrain, not raised above it. Or at least that's the goal. Over time they do settle down a bit, so I try to plant them a little high. How much does that 16" of fill settle over time?

Even though the basic layout is similar, I think we are using the rocks for different purposes. The garden here is sloped, so the rock rings help with water retention, and I usually fill the little depression inside the ring around the plants with coir to help with that. Our native soil has superior drainage so I don't need to worry about lots of rock in the backfill. I like to think of the process as building a container for the plant within the very rocky soil we have. The rocks around the rim are like the lip at the top.

Windsor, CA(Zone 9b)

Here is the latest photo. The bed is pretty much completed except for removing the 2 rocks form the two connected beds and planting the bed with some greenery. I am not sure how much it will settle, but would take a guess at 1.5 inches at most. I stomp each layer after I throw the new soil into the hole so it is pretty well packed down now. I dig it so deep for drainage purposes. As each plant goes into the ground I carefully place rocks around it to keep the plant that is above the roots out of the soil and keep them dry and from rotting. And when all planted I scatter smaller rocks and cover the soil. I have to buy plants as not only do I now have this space but due to the extended freeze lots of other plants died. I have holes all over the yard from dug up dead plants. Xuling

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Fountain Hills, AZ(Zone 9b)

Looks very good. I am jealous of all the room you have. I'm about full up...

Windsor, CA(Zone 9b)

I crowd plants together GermanStar. And I have to dig lots of them up and replant them elsewhere as they get too crowded. I have seen photos of your yard and you have lots of space. I guess I am like a Japanese minimalist. I just keep planting and take the babies and put them in pots or plant them in ground. One of these days I will have to give them away as I will have no more room, I will have nothing else to dig up in order to make C/S beds!!
Xuling

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