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Hi I visited Beth Chatto's garden in Essex yesterday and was very impressed. I came away thinking about creating a small gravel garden. I have some thoughts but wondered has anyone else got one and can share any tips.

im a noob, have no experience in it, hope to see other's opinion


yes I have a gravel garden, but it's very small but I read one of Mrs Chatto's books once and got some ideas from that.   She modelled her garden to appear like a dried up river bed with the gravel paths running through it, if I recall and I like that look very much. 

My gravel bed was first of all cultivated and enriched with top soil then covered with a thick weed suppressant membrane [one which allows water to drain through] and then a thick layer [a good 2 inches] of large-ish gravel stones laid on top.   My small borders [ quite narrow] are edged out around it and I like to plant within the gravel area where I remove some of the gravel and cut away some membrane to plant something then replace the gravel.  That way I have a more informal look.  It's a work in progress and is fairly new.  It's very small and manageable for an older person.

Thanks Salino

My designated area is quite small so I will not be running into mock riverbeds, just not sure at this stage whether to use a membrane or not. I am on very heavy clay so am going to wait until late summer then dig sand and gravel into the clay, then cover with a really good covering of gravel. I want to try and reduce the fertility of the soil a bit I think, but still open to ideas from others. I have had a good luck around and Beth Chatto seems to be the gravel bed queen.


Hi burhinus.  I live in the South of France so my garden is naturally dry and I am always amazed at the range of plants that will grow with minimal water.  Like salino, most of the garden is gravelled and I just plant through it.  We have weed membrane in some areas and it helps to stop larger stones from coming to the surface.


Hi AuldAlliance

Thanks for your input.

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