What is decorative gravel and how to use it for a modern style garden? What are the steps in setting up such a garden and how do you keep it in good condition afterwards? These are the questions we will address in this post.
How to build and maintain a decorative gravel garden ?
As you probably know, decorative gravel is a type of garden landscaping material that comes in the form of an aggregate. In practice, gravel comes in the form of small pieces of crushed pebbles. These vary in color and size. There are also gravels formed naturally (for example, in river beds) and those resulting from human activity.
Decorative gravel in modern garden design – what are its possible uses ?
Decorative gravel is a popular solution for landscaping modern style gardens. It is used for the creation of dry gardens or for the creation of different zones in the outdoor space. It is also seen in some alpine exteriors, rock gardens and Japanese gardens.
In other words, gravel can dominate the landscaping of a modern garden; but it is also a solution for the separation of the outdoor space into several zones. For example, gravel can be used as a substitute for exterior patio coverings, such as wood or tiles..
In addition, decorative gravel is also used for the arrangement of garden paths. As such, it is placed in an area that separates two green spaces in order to facilitate movement outside.
Here are some examples of the use of this material in modern outdoor spaces. But what explains its popularity in gardens today? To answer this question, several characteristics of decorative gravel must be taken into account..
Gravel is easy to lay, it is also a solution that simplifies daily garden maintenance. To add to that, this material is perfect for landscaping a small space. It is also suitable for larger gardens. In fact, gravel is not recommended only in the case of a sloping exterior, unless it is contained, for example in the context of earthworks.
How to set up a decorative gravel garden ?
Do you want to create a modern garden using decorative gravel? Large or small, an outdoor space can be transformed into a dry garden or rock garden using a little of this readily available material. There are 6 stages in the establishment of such a garden. Below is a guide which provides a description..
Create a decorative gravel garden – prepare the ground
The first three stages in the development of a modern gravel garden relate to the preparation of the ground. They involve working with the ground and laying a special layer on the chosen outdoor space. Here are these steps.
The first step in the development of a modern garden is to prepare the soil. After you have demarcated the area you are going to work, it is up to you to dig the soil and clean it of the herbs and seeds found there. This step can be done at any time of the year; but it should be noted that spring and autumn will facilitate this step.
During this first step, also take care to clean the area of any kind of compost. You could add a small amount of sand or pebbles to help the water drain. This applies as much to dry gardens as to those that will be decorated with plants..
Provide a layer of ecological spade to be placed between the ground and the decorative gravel
Then comes the second step of creating your modern garden. It consists of covering the worked floor with a special layer. Acting as a shield between the earth and the gravel, it holds the material above the space, while allowing water to penetrate inside the soil. For this, the use of an ecological spade is recommended.
Decide on locations for plants in the garden
The third step of this project is to create openings for your plants. To do this, start by placing the plants where they will be planted. Then, using scissors, create an opening in the spade in the shape of a cross. This opening should be large enough to accommodate your plant..
How to decorate your modern gravel garden with plants
To embellish your outdoor space with decorative gravel, you can use various plants. The choice of species you will favor will depend on the climate in your region but also on the type of garden you would like. For a more informative look, try to make your selection ahead of time. Opt for succulents and succulents, for alpine crops, for fresh herbs… The choice is yours !
Once the plants have been selected, take them one by one and use the openings created in the spade to plant them. Then enclose the opening before watering the space around.
How to pour decorative gravel for landscaping your garden
Once these two steps have been completed, all you have to do is place your decorative gravel. To do this, distribute the material well on the spade, creating a layer 5 to 8 cm thick. Take care to cover the entire space with gravel so that the spade is no longer visible.
Note, to water your plants afterwards, use a watering can or other fine-drop watering system. This is one way to make sure that the small stones will stay in place. Examine the decorative gravel layer from time to time and spread the material again if necessary.
How to take care of your modern decorative gravel garden ?
Modern gardens made of decorative gravel are known for their easy maintenance. The same principle also applies to garden paths and to other outdoor spaces decorated with this material. This is so because gravel is considered a material that removes a good deal of weeds. In addition, very often plants used for the arrangement of dry gardens with this material require less watering and care..
That being said, there are 4 difficulties that are quite common in maintaining such a garden. In the following text, we take a look at them one by one and offer you a solution to overcome them..
How to deal with fallen tree leaves in a decorative gravel garden ?
Decorative gravel gardens that are set near a tree are exposed to fallen leaves like any other classic outdoor space. What is more annoying, tree leaves are often much more visible than in a traditional garden. So how do you cope with this difficulty ?
A simple way to get rid of fallen tree leaves in your garden these days is with the leaf blower. As you already know, it’s a machine that works a bit like a vacuum cleaner. She can push the flowers or suck them into a bag. If you have such a tool, you can use it in your fight with the tree leaves. But use your blower carefully. This will prevent part of your decorative gravel layer from moving..
If you have a small amount of fallen leaves in your garden, a good idea would be to collect them by hand. Otherwise, a classic rake will do just as well. Again, work carefully to preserve the elegant appearance of your garden.
How to fight weeds in your modern decorative gravel garden ?
Certainly, gravel gardens are renowned for having a lot less weeds than conventional exteriors. But that doesn’t mean that these spaces are not fully protected against this type of common problem. Unfortunately, even the protective spade layer does not completely eliminate the risk of weeds appearing. !
The good news is that weeds will be a lot less in a decorative gravel garden. This also applies to other outdoor spaces covered with this material. As a result, you will have to eliminate them more rarely too !
The most favorable times for weeds to appear in a decorative gravel garden are the wetter months. During these times, examine your garden more often to react quickly.
Another tip in this regard: find a way to water the area around your plants only. In other words, avoid supplying water to the entire site; it is an effective way to prevent the emergence of weeds.
How to keep your garden in good condition and preserve the distribution of decorative gravel ?
Over time, part of the decorative gravel layer may deteriorate. Some of the material can be moved by the rains or simply by walking over it. This is particularly the case for garden paths and terraces. Unfortunately, this is a risk to which all outdoor spaces are exposed, even those created according to the principles mentioned above! What to do when you notice that part of its exterior has lost its gravel layer ?
To avoid the appearance of empty areas in your decorative gravel garden, the best solution would be to keep a small amount of this material on hand. This way, you will easily distribute the gravel and add a little more where there is not enough. So here is a simple and effective solution for an exterior in excellent condition all year round !
How to fix health issues with your gravel garden plants ?
Gravel gardens are characterized by the presence of less flora than that in other types of outdoor spaces. This is one of the reasons why this type of garden is so popular in modern outdoor spaces.
The most common plants in this type of outdoors are those that adapt well to relatively dry, well-drained soil. They require less frequent watering and generally tolerate heat well. The very characteristics of these plants make them very easy to grow..
On the watering side, use a system that is centered on the area around the plants. You have understood it, this will save you from too frequent weeding work; it’s also a way to keep decorative gravel in place. In addition, as in all gardens, watering the leaves of plants can cause problems on their foliage..
For healthy plants, leave a large enough opening to plant them in the ground. This principle is particularly important if your plants will have to develop subsequently, both in terms of their root system and their foliage..
Besides, try to stick to the advice relating to each of your plants. Follow the watering and fertilizing instructions for each of them and you will benefit from an exterior full of greenery and easy to maintain !
How to decorate a decorative gravel garden for a modern style exterior ?
To decorate your gravel garden, you can use all kinds of accessories made of natural materials. Wood, terracotta and stone slabs are very popular for decorating one or more parts of the soil in such a garden..
Do you dream of a water basin in your outdoor space? Don’t hesitate to create one! You could even decorate it with various aquatic plants or goldfish. In fact, a water basin will make your gravel garden look similar to Japanese gardens. What could be better for a zen atmosphere in the open air? ?
Want to create a Mediterranean-style gravel garden? So try to favor plants typical of the region! For even more inspiration for the realization of your landscaping project, be sure to consult our garden and terrace files !
Complete this decor with large flowerpots, a fountain and a terrace in appropriate colors. And if you are still wondering what style of decoration to adopt for your garden, consider the alpine style option again. !
Here are some options for designing a modern exterior with decorative gravel. Which one would you choose ?