How to garden with gravel

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TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHS LIZETTE JONKER

If you desire to create your garden much more interesting, liquid smart and low-to-zero maintenance, take a look at gravel

Popular in English and Mediterranean landscapes gravel tends to make a hard-wearing groundcover and an appealing option to lawn. It can be utilized for paths, outside sitting places and under woods where lawn as well as other plants grow that is won’t. If you choose the right colour and size, gravel can also enhance the look of your garden.

potager with gravel

Use gravel in kitchen gardens or potagers like in this one at Stellenberg Gardens in Cape Town

GOOD REASONS TO USE GRAVEL

  • It creates a neat-looking groundcover.
  • It reduces water evaporation.
  • As it crunches underfoot, it alerts you to anyone approaching.
  • It minimises soil erosion.
  • Weeds are suppressed.
  • As gravel allows water to penetrate the soil, it’s more eco-friendly than paving which promotes run-off.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYPE

Gravel comes in different sizes and colours. Keep in mind that the finer the gravel the more comfortable it is to walk on. The colour of your house and other hard landscaping and is in keeping with the style of your garden from the wide range of colours choose one that complements. As an example, black colored stones are more suited to modern designs while a cream crush is great for a French-style garden.

Morrells

At Morrells Boutique home in Jo’burg, gravel for this water fountain offers an instantaneous French feel

HOW TO LAY GRAVEL

  • According to Cobus Behrens of Down2Earth outdoors Creations, whether or not it’s a pathway, garden or sitting location, levelling and compacting the location very first is vital.
  • Plant boundaries and bedrooms surrounding gravelled places before dispersing the gravel therefore as this promotes the growth of weeds that you don’t end up with soil on top of it. Thegravel with plastic first to prevent soil build-up in the gravel.
pathway

Hard if you have to replace plants in beds later on, cover using gravel is great for paths. This 1 in a Pietermaritzburg garden is lined with serissa hedges

  • Place a fabric that is weed-suppressing Coolaroo Weedmat on top of the soil to stop weeds growing through. This fabric comes in strips or rolls, usually 90cm wide, so overlap the pieces by at least 3–5cm when covering the area. If weeds grow through, don’t use chemical weed killers as they leach into the soil, killing surrounding plants and wildlife.
  • “Laying gravel is simple. Spread an******************************************************************)cm that is 8 of gravel entirely on the surface of the grass fabric. Four to five 20kg bags will cover 1m²; 1m³ of gravel will take care of roughly 10m²,” claims Cobus.
  • If the area that is gravelled a lawn, install an edging to prevent the stones working their way into the grass and damaging the lawnmower.
containers

Create interest in gravelled areas with pots overflowing with flowering plants such as isotoma alyssum felicia and lobelia

GARDEN STYLES

Gravel can also be used as the starting point for a number of garden styles.

oversized pots

Be inspired by this section of the garden at The Cellars Hohenort in Cape Town where oversized pots are planted with lemon trees

French

  • Gravel is perfect for this style that is romantic. Put it to use for an outdoor patio under a pergola or even for paths.
  • Plant lovers: Lavender, gaura, rosemary, cotton fiber lavender, low-growing landscape flowers and bergenia.

English

  • Think broad borders with a profusion of mound-forming plants cascading over gravel routes.
  • Plant lovers: Catmint, lavender, gaura, gaillardia, lamb’s ears, irises, agapanthus and dierama.

Alpine

  • Traditionally grown in elevated beds, Alpine landscapes include difficult, drought-resistant, high-altitude flowers. Utilize really good gravel in a cement or rock container on feet.
  • Plant lovers: Miniature dianthus species, gazania, Cape daisy, vygies, Armeria maritima, Irish moss, echeveria and crassula species.

Succulent

  • For a low-maintenance, water-wise alternative, eliminate the lawn and change it with gravel and succulents. When you’ve determined where flowers is certainly going, reduce crosses that are small the weed cloth and insert the plants. Push the weed cloth back over the soil, up against the stem of each plant. Then cover the certain area(***********************************************************************) gravel.
  • Plant lovers: Small aloe species, agave, sempervivum, cotyledon, senecio and vygies.

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