Posted: 04/07/2014 at 15:57
Kate, I think all your ideas are lovely; except replacing the gravel with paving. Apparently, because water can't drain away so well it is a contributary factor in localised flooding.
About the flowers, what colours are you looking for?
I have the Rose Compassion over my porch; will try to post a photo later - it is spectacular and depending where you are in the uk, can keep flowering up to December.