Trough gardens are miniature gardens that are planted in containers called hypertufa troughs. These containers are custom made by Houston landscaping designers from Exterior Worlds. Some websites have described a hypertufa trough as a rock garden container. In many cases, this is true, but in other case, miniature custom gardens, bonsais, and contemporary garden elements can be created within troughs.
The goal of gardening in trough containers is to create a balanced presentation of organic and inorganic elements like we find in any garden design, only on a miniaturized scale. The amount of organic material, and the types of plants placed within the containers will make a powerful and very direct contribution to whatever Houston landscaping plan they help compose.
The typical hypertufa trough looks identical to stone. To reduce the cost of actually making the container out of stone itself, a form of imitation stone made from a concrete base mixed with sand. Other materials like peat and perlite are sometimes used too. The mixture is then poured into a mold and allowed to dry. The result is a container that can imitate anything from a rough cut, quarried stone to an animal watering trough transformed into a garden planter.
The plants that can be grown in trough gardens vary widely. Because they are so well suited to miniature rock garden arrangements, many people feel they must be limited to the growing of only desert plants. This is far from the case. The principle of planting vegetation in these stone imitation planters is not governed by species type, but rather species size.
Alpine species also grow very well within these containers, as do many other species of annuals, perennials, and even very small shrub species. Mosses are another good choice for planting in troughs. Moss gardens can grow in places where other plants have difficulty surviving. A decorative arrangement of trough gardens in a shaded part of the yard is one way to bring life and color to the area.
While visualizing how you could integrate these stone imitation containers into your Houston landscaping plan, keep in mind that placing any plant, no matter small, into a raised planter will add vertical impact to its color and form. This actually gives you more choices in the types of plants you can ask us to accent your outdoor elements with. Some flowers for instance, are very beautiful, but grow too low to the ground to be noticed. However, if they are elevated off the ground by a trough garden standing only a foot or a foot and a half high they can create a dazzling border of color and stone.
This ability to customize gardening on a miniaturized scale in turn opens the door to an entirely different dynamic of scale and scope. One trough may only be small, miniature arrangements of tiny plants and shrubs. A collection of trough gardens, however, becomes a landscaping element in its own right that can support hardscapes, walkways, home exteriors, or even create an entire zone of interest with attraction factor of its own.