Making a Gravel Garden
A gravel garden is a fantastic low maintenance option for those who have not got lots of time to invest in their outside space. Here Top Soil Shop explain how best to create a gravel garden, what plants you can expect to flourish in one and how to successfully overcome common associated problems.
Gravel gardens are great because it is possible to build one upon any soil type. A sandy soil is preferable and a sunny, well-drained spot would be ideal for a gravel garden, but they can look great in any area.
Plants that grow in gravel gardens thrive in unimproved sandy soils with relatively low fertility. In the instance that your soil is clay based, try to add plenty of organic matter into the soil. For plants which don't need to self-seed, make small, cross-shaped perforations in landscape fabric for a root ball to fit through and place it over the soil.
There are all kinds of plants suitable for growing in a gravel garden. Bulbs such as Allium or Colchicum; different varieties of shrubs including Hebe and Juniperus; many herbaceous perennials; grasses such as Stipa; bedding plants such as Cosmos and Gazania and some climbers such as Campsis or Trachelospermum can all grow well in gravel gardens.
When creating a gravel garden arguably the most intensive work is in the first few months and years, when it is necessary to intensively weed in order to get the gravel garden you desire. After a year or two when plants have become much bigger, they are generally able to suppress weeds due to their enlarged size. You should use larger grades of gravel if cats are going to be in your garden as this will deter them and if you want to grow acid loving plants like magnolias you should avoid using limestone chippings.
A problem with gravel gardens is that often small plants are swamped by the gravel. To counteract this plant small plants on a low mound; this will raise them just above the level of the gravel. Use landscape fabric to prevent undesired weeds and self-seeding plants appearing. If you are trying to achieve a natural look for your garden you can let self-seeding plants flourish. You should remove spent flower stalks in autumn, although this can also be done in spring if stalks are left through the winter months.
At Top Soil Shop, gravel can be bought in a wide range of sizes, colours and styles, so you can choose the gravel that perfectly matches other features in your garden. See our full range of decorative gravel and start making your perfect gravel garden.