When designing a new garden there are so many styles to chose from and usually the location is the ultimate deciding factor. A gravel garden is another possibility that may require a manipulation of the terrain in order to achieve the desired environment for the plants. In order to create the perfect gravel garden soil drainage must be optimal to ensure plants survival during the winter months. Furthermore, leaving out the fertilizer forces suitable plants to get their nutrients from the existing soil ensuring stronger varieties that will survive and thrive. A gravel garden is a wonderful way to maintain and beautify a landscape while conserving water in the process.
Which plants are suitable for a gravel garden? It is perfectly fine to experiment with plants from outside your zone climate. Sometimes experimenting and seeing what does and does not work is half of the fun. Pick plants that have colors that are vibrant and will stand out against the duller pea gravel. Some drought resistant plants that do well in gravel gardens include Adams Needle, Agapanthus, Torch Flower, Lavender, Thyme, Russian Sage, Wormwood, and Maiden Grasses.
Once you have decided on what type of plants to use, you will need to prepare an area in your garden. Start by sectioning off the area and removing any existing plants to a new location. Next, you should remove three to five inches of the topsoil along with grass and weeds. Plow the soil thoroughly, then add a ratio of 1:1 of sand and pea gravel to the soil and rake it completely over entire area. Till the area until the sand, soil, and pea gravel have a 1:1:1 ratio. Rake garden until the surface is level and then add another two inches of pea gravel as a top layer.
When you have selected your plants and are ready to transplant them into the garden just remove a section of the pea gravel with a trowel and plant down into the soil mixture. Make sure that the crown of the plant is level with the surface of the pea gravel. For plants with small root ball you may want to add some additional soil to the planting hole. Place pea gravel around plant and water until plant is well established. Once the plants are established, then only water when they become distressed. Avoid fertilizing plants because they tend to get long and flop over, besides the soil is sufficient in providing nutrients for these type of plants.
To maintain your garden place edging around the outer perimeter to prevent weed eater and lawn mower accidents and also to provide an attractive and completed appearance. Remember, do not over water or fertilize this type of garden in order for the plants to adapt to the environment and survive. Deadhead plants often for more compact blooms. Use a leaf blower to keep debris such as dead leaves out of the garden, and pull weeds up before they get a chance to become established. Do this and before you know it, you will have a thriving beautiful gravel garden that is low maintenance and eco-friendly.