A new project

Finally I’ve been able to get in the garden. Since Easter it’s not been quite so cold down here on the south coast, the wind is still up and from the East, but there are moments when it drops and the sun feels, almost, well, warm :0)

I wasn’t going to start a big project this year, but looking at the borders is really depressing me, so I’ve decided to push on with my coastal garden idea. I’m planning to uproot or cover most of the grass in the immediate area close to our decking and replace with gravel, paving slabs and coastal/mediterranean plants. In fact I’m in two minds as to whether I can get away with just covering the existing grass with heavy weed suppressing fabric and cover with gravel. I know it will be harder to plant into the ground through the fabric and grass underneath, and if it is to truly be a coastal garden, I probably need to add gravel to the soil to suit the plants. Ho hum, no short cuts then!




I’ve made many designs of this idea, many of the former were very geometric, with different ‘rooms’ and some even with different levels. After much thought I think the are needed more fluidity to break up the straight lines in the garden. At the end there of the garden will be four square vegetable beds in a grid, so I have decided to mark out a circle to counteract this visually.


First of all I had to realign my Magnolia Stellata, which was slightly off centre, so I replanted it to be directly in the centre of this circle, to act as a focal point. I have dug a small trench all the way around, into which I will lay some weathered brick to form the edge.



Tomorrow I’m hoping to lift some turf, prepare the soil, then cover with the weed membrane. Then I can begin the planting!

I’ve started off buying a few plants, but I’m also growing a lot to fill this new space (well when they decide to germinate!) So far I have bought: Spindle bush, two acers (one miniature, which I may keep in a pot) Stipa Gigantia, Nepeta or catmint, Crocosmia (two unmarked pots from the garden centre) Lavender, Verbena, Eryngium or Sea Holly, three varieties of Euphorbia, Nicotiana Sylvestris, a low growing Hebe and some sedums. I also have some plants in my borders which I can divide and replant. That should start me off.


I have also bought some sandstone slabs to act as stepping stones through the gravel. I want to achieve and interesting space which draws the eye in different directions. The central circle will form the main focus, but spreading out from this, paths will disappear into the broken yew hedge beyond. The hedge will be staggered to break up the line (I may even make a wavy hedge). Behind the hedge will be a soft edge leading the the lawn, hopefully planted with meadow flowers.

This is what I’m hoping to achieve





beth chattoBeth Chatto’s Gravel Garden


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