Designing and Creating a Gravel Garden

A gravel garden with a very well coordinated planting and additional decorative elements looks really attractive. When planning it, you should consider some important factors.

Maybe this new plant will fit well near the house? Or in front of a garden wall, which so far looks quite boring and together with the gravel bed would gain in attractiveness? Or would you prefer to place the gravel garden close to your sitting area? There are no limits to your imagination. We show you what you should consider when creating a gravel garden.

Designing gravel paths or gravel areas?

In your garden you should not “seal” too many areas with gravel, so that enough water can seep away. It is better to do without gravel paths.

There is nothing wrong with a perfectly designed gravel garden on a part of the garden where it is green and blooming. Depending on the planting, numerous insects will find their way in and enliven the site. Also, you can expect relatively low maintenance for the gravel garden in the years to come.

Creating a gravel garden – What do I need to consider?

Sunny places, preferably south or south-west facing, are particularly suitable for the location. If you want to plant your gravel garden in front of a wall or the house, this is also an advantage: the plants benefit from the heat radiation of the masonry.

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Excavate & prepare the soil

The gravel garden is created primarily for the heat-loving plant species. They prefer soil that is as low in nutrients as possible.

If you find an already heavily compacted soil, heavily clayey soil or soil with a high clay content at the future site, be sure to replace the top layer of soil. All weeds, especially root weeds, should be carefully removed.

A well-mixed mixture of grit and some compost will replace the missing soil. Then you level the area evenly.
It is important that you lay a water-permeable plastic weed fleece before spreading the gravel and planting. Make sure that the edges of the fleece overlap. Use U-shaped metal pins to hold the fleece in place and prevent it from slipping.

The fleece suppresses the growth of root weeds. It does not, of course, prevent some weed seed from entering your gravel garden now and then via the air or the birds. Rainwater can drain well through the fleece into the soil.

Fill gravel

You have a choice of gravel types, grain sizes, and beautiful color options. A rule of thumb: The larger the planned area for the gravel garden, the larger the gravel size you can choose. You can order gravel from your local hardware store or German building materials retailer. Before spreading the gravel, you can lay honeycomb mats for additional stabilization. This will prevent the stones from slipping.

For the gravel garden, the following types of ornamental gravel are recommended, for example:
Glacial gravel, black basalt, lava pebbles and Danube gravel.

The choice of the type of stone also depends on whether, for example, the effect of the plants in the gravel garden is important to you. In this case, it is better to use only one type of gravel.

It is also important to separate the gravel garden from other garden areas, e.g. the lawn. This way the stones stay in the desired place.

For example, you can use wall stones embedded in the ground, which you lay together on concrete like a band.
However, metal rails, e.g. made of stainless steel, galvanized steel or corten steel with a rust patina, are also suitable for demarcation.

Planting the gravel bed

It is best to make a plan for planting. You should remember that some plants spread faster than other species. You also need to consider the height of growth, flowering time and flower colors. After all, you want the plants to harmonize with each other for a long time.

Before planting, cut the weed mat in a criss-cross pattern with a knife at the intended planting sites.

You can combine various perennials with filigree grasses in the gravel garden, for example, prairie drop grass.

Suitable perennials for the sunny location include coneflower, stonecrop, lavender, catmint and some types of asters.

Allium, the globe leek in many colors, is a real eye-catcher for the gravel bed with its flowers. It is best to plant these bulbs in groups of three. Crocuses and small-growing wild tulips provide the first eye-catcher in spring.

What does a gravel garden cost?

That depends on several things: the size, the type of gravel used, any soil excavation and replacement that may be needed, the planting, and the border materials. You should take all of this into account when calculating the financial outlay for your custom gravel garden.


If you decide to create a gravel garden, you will initially have to do a lot of work and also incur costs that should not be underestimated. But all the effort is worth it in the end:
You will create a beautiful garden paradise.

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