We recently completed the planting for a front garden for a client in Twyford. This planting needed to be low maintenance and the planting had to vary due to the aspect of each bed within the design.
South Facing Gravel Garden Planting
The planting bed closest to the house had very dry conditions. This, combined with the need for low maintenance, lent itself to creating a beautiful gravel garden that would create kerb appeal around the house with drought tolerant planting and gravel to compliment the paving.
A gravel garden is a great option for areas of the garden that are particularly difficult to maintain. Gravel gardens are typically characterised by their sunny position and are perfect for very dry conditions – although in reality, any area would work for this style of garden.
We planted the gravel garden up with varieties that would tolerate a south facing aspect and drought conditions:
- Lavender was used to frame the paving, giving the entrance a neat look, as well as fragrance and colour
- Structural planting was added in the form of Cistus x purpureus ‘Alan fradd’, Hebe pinguifolia ‘Sutherlandii’ and Festuca glauca – giving year-round interest and texture
- Seasonal colour was added with Sedum ‘Brilliant’ and Nepeta ‘Kit Kat’, both of which have a long flowering period and attract pollinators
All of these plants are low in maintenance and perfect for softening the look of the gravel.
North Facing, Dry Shade Planting
In contrast a long border running along the boundary fence was north facing and almost constantly in shade, as well as being dominated by two mature trees. The planting again had to be low maintenance, and also low growing for easy maintenance of the fence behind. Our aim for this border was to create a less formal look with a woodland feel, incorporating seasonal interest and structure.
The planting varieties were all suitable for dry shade with mostly spring colour and changes in texture:
- Structural shrub planting consisted of Weigela florida variegate, Viburnum ‘Eve price’, Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ and Mahonia ‘Soft caress’. All of these shrubs flower at varying times of year and give solid structure along the border.
- Ferns such as Polystichum setiferum Herrenhausen mixed with the grass Carex ‘Ice dance’ also gave the border low texture.
- Herbaceous plants were then mixed amongst these shrubs such as Japanese Anemones, Hellebores, Aquilegias and Foxgloves for seasonal colour.
- A mix of ground cover plants such as Geranium nodosum, Cyclamen, Vinca, Heuchera and Epimedium would fill in around the base of the trees and amongst the shrubs for low level spring and summer colour as well as to help suppress weeds.
Overall the planting in this garden gives the front of the property a wonderful kerb appeal, without a need for high levels of maintenance, and most importantly with appropriate planting used for each aspect.