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Advantages of Having a Gravel Garden

Aug 17, 2017

Gravel has long been a favourite material for landscape architects and garden designers, but so often domestic gardeners only reserve it for front drive parking or a narrow path. In this blog post we’ll consider the advantages, versatility and options for creating a gravel garden.

Versatile and Attractive
Gravelling an open space in your garden is perhaps a more attractive option than you might think. There are now many attractive grades and mixes of gravel to choose from including coloured glass chippings and a variety of stone sizes. You needn’t limit yourself to one type of gravel either, and could incorporate different gravels and colours to create a unique and innovate design. Gravel also looks great when combined with plants, whether in raised beds, or in more informal borders and can often make a natural-looking effect. 

Easy To Lay
Part of the reason that gravel is popular with designers is that gravel, pebbles and other similar aggregates are not only versatile but that are easy to lay as well. In most cases the area to be gravelled only needs to be excavated by about 5cm (2in) (less than patios and decking), and when laid over a semi-permeable landscape fabric or heavy duty black polythene, weed growth is suppressed and your gravel will be practically maintenance free. The gravel only needs to be tipped on top of the base sheet and spread evenly over the surface with a rake to a depth of 5cm (2in) for your garden to be ready.

Easy to Maintain
Gravel is perhaps best known for its hard-wearing and durable quality, which, if laid properly, makes it cheap and easy to maintain. In some cases, gravel can last for decades without any major maintenance (just take a look at Beth Chatto’s 1992 gravel garden near Colchester). And if the sub-base layer is laid appropriately, gravel can be taken up and replaced with a difference colour, grade or mix easily, or even reused in another area of your garden.

Ideas Of How To Use Gravel
While gravel’s quick drainage means it is suitable for wetter regions, those who live in more arid areas will notice the benefits of gravel the most. A sunny, well-drained gravel garden is suitable for a Mediterranean style garden, and lends itself to drought-resistant plants like lavender, euphorbias and halimiums. Raised beds can be easily built on gravel too, or a winding gravel path, bordered with carefully chosen shrubs and flowers is an inviting way to a front or back door.
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Category: Expert