How to Create a Gravel Garden

What You'll Need
Mulching sheet
Tape measure

A gravel garden can be a creative and easy way to landscape a large or small area, requires little maintenance and is inexpensive. It's easy to blend a gravel garden nicely with plants and can be made into a formal or informal design, depending on your personal tastes. It is also a nice alternative for irregular space that would be hard to mow or maintain otherwise. Here are some simple steps to follow for installing your gravel garden.

Step 1 – Measure & Plan the Garden

Measure out the space that you plan to build your garden. Use your tape measure to measure the out perimeter of your garden. Plot the garden out on a piece of graphing paper, using one square for each foot of space. Draw the perimeter of the garden and note any objects that will be remaining. Also, think about any other elements you would like to add to the garden. Plants, fountains, benches or any other decorative items should be marked on the plan as to where they will be positioned. Use gardening magazines for inspiration.

Step 2 – Select the Gravel

Visit your local home improvement or gardening store and view the many different types of gravel available. There are typically many options to choose from in varying shapes, sizes and colors. Depending on where you are located and what gravels can be transported economically, you will have different selections to choose from. Select one or more that will fit with the décor of your house and yard. It often looks nice to select contrasting colors of gravel for different areas using different shapes and textures. Determining the other elements you will place in your garden before you select the gravel is a good idea to find a gravel that really complements your décor. Be sure to ask to see the gravel wet, as many gravels look differently in sun or shade, or wet or dry. This slight change of color may be a deciding factor in your selection.

Step 3 – Clear the Garden Area

Following your map, clear the area to the required depth, generally about 2 inches deep. This will vary depending on your soil in your yard and the type of rocks that you have selected for your garden.

Step 4 – Cover the Area

Level the ground and place a mulching sheet or heavy duty black polythene over the area, overlapping the strips by about 2 inches. If you have any trees, bushes or plants in the garden that are remaining, lay the mulching sheet around the plants close to their base.

Step 5– Lay the Gravel

Spread the gravel evenly on the sheet of plastic and rake it level.  

Step 6 – Install Plants

Make slits in the polythene and spread the gravel away from the slit. Enrich the soil beneath with organic matter and fill the hole in with the plant. Redistribute the gravel evenly over the plastic.

Now you can sit back and enjoy your virtually maintenance free gravel garden.