RC Rock Garden

building a decorative crawler course
September 26, 2021
rocks sticks outdoors radio-control rc-crawler

After upgrading my Axial SCX24 and WPL C24, I needed a proving ground on which to test them. There was a spot in the back garden near the wood pile that we were not using for anything, so I decided to turn it into a small rock garden with crawling features.

The first and largest feature was a rickety log bridge, something that would really test your brakes. I collected a bunch of roughly 1" sticks from the pile, and cut them to very rough 8" lengths. Smaller twigs were clipped off, then I strung them together on two lengths of leftover chain from the bird feeders. Each stick is screwed onto the chain, using a washer on the top side to keep them securely attached.

For the landscape, I wanted something that would be challenging to drive across, but still look good as part of the garden and not mess up the drainage in that part of the yard. A rock garden fit the bill, so I picked up a few bags of the small red lava rocks and larger mixed river rock. They are both a lot of fun to drive across, the river rock are larger obstacles and have a smooth surface, while the lava rock is light enough to roll under the SCX24’s wheels. I cleared out the weeds and sticks, moved a few flowering plants, trimmed some low-hanging branches, and started digging. After a little bit of raking, it was ready for weed block, a sand base, and the rocks.

I wanted to build up ramps at the ends of the bridge, but the dirt kept falling into the rocks, so I found a few wooden stakes and some pallet planks in the garage and built tiny retaining walls. The pavers around the edge of the garden were pretty uneven and did not fully enclose it, so I cleaned those up and added a few more. Some larger obstacles were made from pieces of wood, held in place with irrigation stakes. Finally, the whole area was covered in red cedar mulch (I added more after taking these pictures).

Once the crawler garden was done, I brought out the SCX24 and the cat, and ran a quick test. The bridge is too low for the C24, but the SCX24 can easily drive under the bridge and get through the tunnel with a little bit of care.