On the whole, our approach to developing gardens is one of evolution, rather than revolution. Most gardens have enough in the way of quality plants and features that we prefer to build around what already exists rather than clear everything out and start again.
However, there are times when a garden gets tired and, more importantly, times when the gardener gets tired of it. This summer we were asked to look at a small front garden dominated by a beautiful blue cedar. Unfortunately despite much care and attention the surrounding lawn had always struggled and the borders were becoming overgrown.
This autumn we started by clearing out the driveway borders and getting the turf lifted and the ground levelled slightly.
Our brief was to create a low maintenance gravel garden, so after improving the soil, we used a heavy duty weed suppressant membrane to provide a base for the new gravel.
Despite the added soil improver, the basic soil was pretty thin with a lot of gravel, so we dug out planting holes with a mattock before putting down the membrane. This made planting through the membrane quite easy (we’d used canes poked through the membrane to mark the holes as the membrane went down).
The planting scheme used repeating grasses of different colours to contrast with the gravel colours, with dwarfing Dianthus and Irises providing splashes of seasonal colour. Low growing Junipers and dwarf Fuchsias repeated along the driveway border and the large concrete pots allow seasonal bedding to add highlights.
Once all the membrane was down and the plants were in, it was simply a question of barrowing in the gravel. As well as two-tone mix in the centre, we re-used existing slate chippings to delineate a driveway border and some green stones to create a “dried river bed”. The latter complete with some slate “bridges”.