After being in the landscaping business for over 20 years, Whitehouse Landscaping has transformed and maintained thousands of landscapes and turned the impossible into possible for many clients.  But to stay on the cutting edge of what is evolving in the landscaping world, we constantly seek out new and educational opportunities to grow… which led us to Philadelphia Horticultural Society’s program on Gravel Gardening that we recently attended via zoom.

What is Gravel Gardening?

A gravel garden is an area with a crushed stone surface and often includes perennials, ornamental grasses, herbs and sometimes even shrubs and trees.  Once plants grow and fill in, your garden will look similar to a traditional perennial garden but with far less work.

Benefits of Gravel Gardening

Easy Maintenance.    Until the plants root deeply into the soil, it’s essential to water but once established, plants will look after themselves.  It eventually becomes less labor intensive.   No mowing, fertilizing and very little weeding.   

Cost Effective.   Less expensive than hardscaping and/or turf.  Maybe some initial outlay for gravel, but rarely needs replacement.

Sustainable, Environmentally Friendly.   Using native, drought-tolerant pevaporation.lants, gravel gardening allows rainwater to penetrate through to the soil reducing water use and the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.   Super low water use!  Reduces water

Easy to Install.

Gravel Can Blend into Any Setting.

Installation

You can design any shape or size of a gravel garden and there are lots of gravel options to choose from.    Remove the topsoil and dig to a depth of around 4” and ensure the base of the trench is even.    A 6” border or edging will help keep the gravel neatly contained.  Medium size stone, pavers or large boulders all work as edging.  Even a sidewalk or curb can work as an edge.     Spread 4” of gravel (standard pea gravel or similar hard rock) and distribute with a rake.         

Plant Selection for a Gravel Garden

Gravel garden plants should reflect your location and personal preference.   Consider leaf shapes and textures and lean towards native, drought resistant plants for your vegetation.  If you want to add plenty of plants and flowers to your garden, choose an area in your garden that gets full sun and intersperse some perennial flower colors to bloom at different times.  You can also create gravel gardens in a shady area, but your plant selection will be more limited.   An eye catching water feature would look lovely mixed in with your shady plants.   Perennial flower colors blooming at different times refresh your garden

Jeff Epping, director of horticulture at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin is an expert at gravel gardening and shares his plant list in an article he wrote on How to Create a Gravel Garden.

Maintaining a Gravel Garden

 Early spring is the ideal time to cut back plants, pull a few weeds and rake up any debris.  Keep your gravel garden plants well-watered until they are established.

Ready to Install a Water Wise and Low Maintenance Garden?

Gravel is a great way to add beauty and sustainability to your landscape and a great substitute for homeowners who want to replace a portion of their lawn. 

If you’re thinking about some new landscaping in 2022, Whitehouse Landscaping is a full service landscaping company.  We have been designing, installing and maintaining beautiful custom landscaping in Montgomery, Chester, and Berks counties since 2000.    We offer a wide range of landscaping services, pretty much anything your landscape requires and you desire.  We are capable of creating an outdoor space that is beautiful, distinctive and truly sustainable.

Contact Whitehouse Landscaping for a free consultation, or call 484-300-4290 to learn more about our services.