If you want to make a bolder statement than a gravel garden, you should consider a stone garden. The principal is similar except this time larger stones, pebbles and rocks are used, often in a creative or ‘architectural’ way. Although the principles of a stone garden can be explained, the actual design and construction has to be modified to suit the materials available as well as your own design preferences and the nature of the space available. Let the rocks or stones dictate the form and shape and arrange them in a way that looks pleasing as well as striking. The Japanese are renowned for this, see the link below. Your stone garden should be a strong visual feature and not just a background for plants. Plants are usually required to remove any suggestion of harshness or monotony, but it is best to choose those that have a strong profile or architectural quality, such as bamboos, distinctive grasses and perhaps succulents. You don’t have to confine yourself to stones for the hard landscaping: timber decking often makes a happy marriage with the stone in these type of gardens.
Here are a few links to stone gardens to aid inspiration: