With increasingly busy lifestyles, even keen gardeners
find it hard to devote enough time to their garden.
Here we discuss how you can create a low maintenance
garden that still looks attractive.
Our client had moved to a brand new house, and as usual the
garden was just a bare plot. The builders had already started
laying a lawn but as we all know this means maintenance! The
owners wanted low maintenance. We knew our solution had to include
paving and gravel, yet still be interesting. You don't want
just a sea of gravel.
Before - get rid of that lawn
After - relax at any time of year
Designing the Garden
We decided to create a large patio area outside the conservatory.
This spot was perfect for the main seating area since it was
secluded yet sunny. We positioned wooden pergolas to provide
added privacy and to give the illusion of extra outside rooms.
These in time would be clothed in colourful climbing plants.
A water feature close to the patio gives the sound of running
water, relaxing throughout the year.
As gravel was to be used we wanted an architectural style of
planting. This meant using structural plants, often with spiked
leaves, as these are good for complementing stone.
The water feature was built out of brick. It is crucial that
you pick materials that match the property, so we used the same
bricks that the house was made from. The bricks are grey with
the odd pink one to break up the appearance. A terracotta pot
stands at the top of the feature, with water gurgling out into
the pool below.
As large areas of the garden were dressed in gravel we had it
supplied by a local quarry. When using gravel or stone in landscaping
this is vital, as haulage will be the main cost, not the material
itself. It is also far more economical to buy gravel loose rather
than in bags from garden centres. Find your local quarry and
check out their range.
Tips from the Design Team
- Everybody hates weeding. Always lay a micro-porous membrane
underneath gravel. Water can pass through it but weeds can't.
- When using terracotta pots in a water feature, you can
take steps to prevent frost from cracking them. Simply place
a tennis ball in the water. If ice forms, the ball will
take up the increased pressure by contracting - leaving
your pot crack free.
- If you build a wooden pergola, always use hardwood or
pressure treated softwood. Untreated softwood will only
last for 5 years or so. Pressure treated timbers should
give 20 year protection against rot, insect and fungal attack.
Get the merchant to provide a written guarantee for peace
A Golden Pond