It's that time of year when we're getting some sunshine, followed by rain. Some days it seems incredibly hot for the time of year, others it's bitterly cold again. More and more people are finding themselves looking out the window at the garden and wondering how on earth they're going to manage it all again this year. If this sounds familiar and you're looking for unusual, low maintenance landscaping ideas we've got some great ones. And today we want to speak about gravel and stones. If you want to make a big impact with minimal effort, using gravel and stones as a feature is a great solution.
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Crushed rock helps connect different areas of the yard into a cohesive, calm design that's also low-maintenance. One of landscape designer Margie Grace's favorite materials is so humble it rarely gets a second thought.
By combining the material with airy grasses and perennials, Grace created a space that's easygoing, surprisingly soft-looking, and drought-tolerant. Though her area gets little rain year-round, drought conditions can occur anywhere in the country. Grace also wanted to find a way to carve the backyard, which was an expanse of drought-dead grass when she moved in, into different garden rooms.
Now, gravel paths and barefoot-friendly concrete pavers wind among the mature oak trees , gently waving grasses, and structural succulents to distinct seating and dining areas. A stone patio around the house helps keep gravel from being tracked inside. Even though Grace uses fewer plants than many designers might "A way to use less water is to use less plant material," she says , she appreciates the particular charms of each one, like the golden grasses.
The majority of Grace's garden relies on foliage, but she plants a handful of water-wise flowers for color. She especially likes bright orange California poppies , which reseed themselves each year, mixed with fern leaf lavender. Get a similar look with other garden poppies suited to your growing zone. Gravel is a versatile element that suits a wide variety of garden styles: sleekly contemporary , casual and friendly , or Versailles-level formal.
The material visually connects different areas in the yard and serves as soothing negative space. Practically, it can be used for a driveway , a walkway , or as mulch, planted as Grace does with unthirsty grasses.
It's flexible, not particularly expensive, and less permanent than concrete. Gravel comes in a range of colors, including tawny browns and cool grays.
When choosing gravel, Grace brings all the materials she plans to use to make sure the colors harmonize. Grace uses gravel directly on soil, although gardeners in rainier regions should use a base layer of landscape cloth to keep the gravel out of the mud.
Prepare the soil by leveling and firming it. If you can make distinct footprints, it's too deep. Where people will walk in bare feet , use smooth concrete or stone pavers. Although it's an effective mulch , weeds can still take root in gravel. About once a month, Grace uses a stirrup hoe to dispense with them while they're young—before they go to seed. Occasional raking keeps gravel looking neat, and leaf-blowing a few times a season clears fallen leaves.
Every few years, replenish spots that look thin and get a lot of traffic. By Elizabeth Jardina September 14,Save Pin FB More. Tufts of green soften paths of geometric concrete pavers and gravel. Although the plants vary from grasslike sedge, clipped boxwood, and fuzzy lamb's-ear, they share a similar sphere-like shape. Credit: Holly Lepere. Left: A custom firepit, made from a repurposed industrial propane tank and filled with crushed clear glass, sits at the center of the outdoor living room.
A gravel frame ties the firepit to the rest of the yard. Center: Through careful plant selection, Margie Grace keeps her gravel garden low-maintenance and drought-tolerant, yet colorful and lush. Right: A stone vessel of water provides a visual break in the dry landscape and a drinking spot for birds. Elevate gold-tinged plants like ornamental grasses or cordylines so they can shimmer in the sunlight. By Elizabeth Jardina. Comments 1 Add Comment. View Comments.
October 4,Gravel mulch is great in southwestern desert areas, but not so great in other parts of the country. I have learned this the hard way with my drought tolerant garden. This has the effect of speeding up global warming. Many of the beauty plants shown in this article are unable to survive the winters in many parts of the nation. Also, gravel is only low maintenance if you can ensure NO dust, dirt, leaves or weed seeds land on it. Otherwise the weeds will come unless you douse the gravel in herbicides, making this a much less green proposition.
And trust me, weeding in gravel is far more challenging than weeding in dirt. Back to story Comment on this project. Tell us what you think Thanks for adding your feedback. All rights reserved. Close Sign in.
Make a donation. A gravel garden is a great option for a low maintenance garden. It also lends itself to Mediterranean-style drought-tolerant planting so things like lavender, euphorbias, Cistus , Santolina and Phlomis are ideal and provide plenty of nectar and pollen for visiting insects. Any area is suitable for a gravel garden, although a sunny, well-drained spot is best for most Mediterranean plants.
It proves to be not quite as material landscape, but it is easy to clean and inexpensive. Here we present to you some ideas for garden landscaping with.
In addition to garden buildings , gravels are a great way to add beauty, interest, and curbside appeal to your outdoor space. They serve as excellent alternatives for homeowners who want something other than grass. Rocks and other small stones can be used in so many ways when it comes to landscaping and decorating the garden. In fact, landscapes with rocks are also popular with many gardeners, especially in the UK. Moreover, if you want to build a garden pond, fountain, or stream, you can make one with a pond liner and gravel. Gravel makes an easy filler for the spaces between your stepping stones or sleepers. Image Source. Use gravel on your driveway to get the perfect low -maintenance parking spot. Use stones to create a unique landscape in your garden.
Last year I worked hard to landscape my side yard, which involved creating a gravel garden. I used a weed-blocking cloth, complete with cut holes for the plants. I dug holes for the greenery and added low-maintenance selections such as blue agave and cactus. I bought and transported the gravel, unloaded it and scattered it. It felt like a major setback, but I was relieved that landscaping experts were overseeing the design of the yard.
Looking for a simple way to give your yard a facelift?
Also, you can use a modified boat winch and Smart Straps to move heavy rocks If you have trees close by, and iron pinch bars…the longer the better. For very small projects, you can mix the pebbles and Garden pebbles could be the perfect option. The main difference between river rock and beach pebbles is the source of stone. Decorative Stones. Excavate the stream for the waterfall portion.
If you think that garden designing is all about growing plants and cultivating them then there is something more you need to know. Landscapes with stones, gravels, and small rocks can make this place absolutely stunning and will also help in providing a definitive frame and structure to your garden and adds to the serenity and beauty of the place. If you are blessed with a huge garden space then there are plenty of things you can do to make the place look great by giving modern features to it. Give a modern look to the garden by adopting pea granite design which is ideal for the larger garden. The shiny texture of the pea granite gives the elegant and luxurious look to the garden and also helps in giving structure to it.
I loved the idea of the meadow & gravel gardens and could incorporate both into my landscape – I live on a 40 acre farm. The edging of the gravel garden.
Where there once was a patch of grass hugging the rock, now there is gravel and a few small plants. This may seem strange to some because we have learned to plant in the soil and top-dress with mulch to give plants nutrients and retain moisture. Why would we grow plants in gravel?
My passion for plants was first sparked while studying landscape architecture at the University of Guelph. I was inspired by the work of Piet Oudolf and other designers in the UK, US, and Europe who were pushing the boundaries of naturalistic planting design. The more I learned, the more interested I became in the various techniques designers used to create dramatic, biodiverse plantings, especially for urban public spaces. The key to their success was a gravel mulch layer, placed over top of the existing soil or subsoil. Further reading led me to James Hitchmough and Nigel Dunnett from the University of Sheffield, who were doing similar work. Dunnett had begun working with green roof substrates to create dry meadow plantings, most notably at the Barbican Centre in London.
M ade popular by the late Beth Chatto in particular, growing in gravel is cheap, and perfect for gardeners struggling with poor, dry soil.
A gravel garden is a great way to enjoy plants without worrying about maintenance. Here are our tips for designing a gravel garden. Imagine a garden with no lawn but lots of plants that virtually care for themselves. Suitable for any soil type and any weather conditions, a gravel garden is a great way to garden in the face of climate change. So what is a gravel garden and how can you create one for yourself? For the most part, they are wonderfully informal spaces where plants thrive in a deep mulch of gravel or aggregates.
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