in my garden | gravel garden part 2

Last year I made a start on a new ‘Gravel Garden‘ inspired by Beth Chatto’s garden in East Essex – a very grand name for basically removing half of my lawn in order to plant more flowers. It started well, but then I got bogged down because of my health (May) and then my son’s (July) who came to recuperate in Cornwall for 3 months, plus family visiting from Australia in September. By the time I was on my own again it was too wet and cold to do much in the garden. This spring I completed the final design, laid down cardboard on the areas that I wanted to remove the grass from and finally, last week, finished the project.

I had managed to remove the grass from along the low granite wall on the boundary and from around the large flat granite stone which serves as a bird bath. I planted hardy geraniums, several Carex grasses, a New Zealand shrub ‘Olearia Haastii‘ which has white daisy flowers in late summer (below), a rosemary cutting and ground-covering sedum around the edge of the stone then chucked a packet of mixed annual seeds into the black recycled plastic raised beds which I was using to kill off more lawn.

By the end of August 2017 it was looking like this.

Gravel garden – August 2017

In May / June this year (2018) I finally got around to marking out where I wanted the lawn to be, by tying strings across from one corner to the other. It creates an asymmetrical design which is a bit odd for me as I like things to be symmetrical usually, but it works. More cardboard was laid and some turf removed.

Now, mid August 2018 the area looks like this:

Lawn and Gravel Garden – August 2018
New ‘path’ laid at the end of the raised bed with rocks on the right  in which I will plant Sempervivums. On the left-hand side I have since planted Heuchera, Tiarella and Heucherella and spread bark over the ground.

The gravel path has been widened somewhat so that the lawn now is mostly a grassed path from the shed to the patio. Plus extra width where the rotary drier is situated. The raised beds have been pushed together to create a 1m x 2m bed and planted up with bee and butterfly friendly plants all in the colour scheme of pink, blue and purple. I am hoping that next year this will be quite beautiful and edging plants like geranium and nepeta will hide the black. If not I may try removing the bed altogether once the plants have established themselves. The area under the Kilmarnock Willow tree has been enlarged and edged with rocks and pebbles with Heuchera, Heucherella and Tiarella plants along the edge, hoping these will spread out. They have done well under the Corkscrew Hazel so they should. The fence is still quite bare here, I had planted a couple of climbers last year, one, a Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) appeared to have died in the snowy weather, but I have recently noticed a shoot near the base of the plant so fingers crossed. The other climber is slowly making its way up the fence and I have completely forgotten what it is! Next year I might attempt to grow a few annual climbers here or possibly a white Passion Flower.

So, what’s next I hear you say…


  1. What a transformation! It’s lovely. I’m sure you’re really enjoying it now, but I’m sure it was a lot of hard work. 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      I would be enjoying it if the sun would shine again! Since completion it has been quite cloudy and windy and wet. Not weather for sitting outside with a book! Oh, well, next year perhaps.

      1. Oh no! Maybe you’ll have a few sunny days before fall sets in. 🙂

  2. Jude, your garden looks so beautiful already, you’re obviously a very accomplished gardener! In fact, I’m so inspired and have bookmarked this post to remember some of the names of your plants 😉 At the end of October, we will have been in our new place one year, so we’ve had our first winter, spring and summer and will soon experience early autumn. The previous owners laid gravel paths interspersed with strips of astro turf, and two larger ‘grassed’ areas (astro turf). They also laid three raised flower beds out of old railway planks. Mum bought numerous pots with her, but I had to leave all my roses behind as we had to live in our camper van for 5 weeks, as you know. We’ve put in an archway and trellis and new fencing all around, so like you, I now want to grow climbers and vines and get some height to the place. I used one of the flower beds for my pumpkins and sunflowers. We’re also making our way through the house painting and decorating and are undergoing extensive bathroom works, thanks to bodged plumbing throughout and was not what we expected to find. It’s a good feeling, isn’t it, to finally ‘nest’. I now how long you’ve waited for your gorgeous garden. So glad that this summer has been kinder to you, hope you and your son are both much better. What weather too! Glad for it being cooler, though, and the rain too. But then, we are never happy, are we? 😉

    1. Heyjude says:

      Wow! Sounds like you have been / are doing loads of work on your house! I still have to get ours redecorated as I can’t reach the high ceilings here. It will be costly, but there comes a point when you know you can’t manage physical tasks. I hope at some point you will find time to return to the blog and show us some pictures of your new place. Not sure about the astro turf though. 🙂

      1. Yes, I don’t blame you, painting high ceilings is very difficult. We’ve got a long way to go to get our house finished, but I couldn’t stand the bedroom anylonger as it had dark brown, floral wallpaper on the back wall. We took a chance and painted over it, and it was fine. It’s now a lovely light grey called ‘Morning Haze’ and the other walls Dove Grey. So much better and now I feel as if it’s ours. I did post some updated garden pics earlier in July I think it was, not sure if you saw those, but I will do another soon. I still need to do my Italy post before we’re away in September (going to Norway, which we booked before we knew about the Italy win). I’ll Ha, yes, the astro turf is not what we would have put in. Eddie, our cat, loves it though. He loves to roll around it and use it for his claws as a scratching post. So it has its uses, for now! I’ve thought of you often in your beautiful home by the sea, especially in this gorgeous weather 🙂

  3. March Picker says:

    Jude, what a gorgeous transformation! May you spend many happy months enjoying that beauty.

  4. Sue Slaght says:

    What a project Jude and it had turned out beautifully. So glad that this summer has been much better than last. Sending hugs and best wishes your way.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Well it has had its problems, but not quite as severe as last year. Thanks Sue 🙂

  5. Jude, as usual you fill me with inspiration. I love how your garden is so full of bright colours. I really need to get out into my rose garden again. I’ve been bucketing water to them but there is rain forecast for this weekend so I need to fertilise too.

  6. Sue says:

    Wow, that is stunning, Jude….I’m hoping you get some more sun before our summer is over this year

    1. Heyjude says:

      It would be nice to have more sun Sue, it has been warm but very muggy lately.

      1. Sue says:

        Fingers crossed

  7. Nicole -8skies says:

    Wow, it looks great! Well done. 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Nicole 🙂

  8. pommepal says:

    I am so impressed with your makeover Jude it is stunning, so colourful. I know how much work is involved in these makeovers, but the final result is so worth love to walk round with you

    1. Heyjude says:

      I’d love you to PP. Much of the hard work has been done for now, next year I will sort out the two raised beds at the back of the plot which were for herbs and veggies. At least that won’t require as much effort!

      1. pommepal says:

        Raised beds are good value, easy on the back. We have rain forecast for this weekend, I hope it arrives, so I am going to give the garden it’s spring feed of Dynamic Lifter (chicken poo) or is very smelly so I’m hoping the rain will wash it in

        1. Heyjude says:

          My raised beds need raising! I like the ones that are waist height 🙂

  9. Just lovely. You had a vision and made it work.

  10. Lignum Draco says:

    It looks great. Your makeover and hard work have been rewarded. Now comes the maintenance of this larger garden. 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      Should be easier than keeping the grass short around the stones! Bulbs and perennials – easy!

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