Tracey Cole

Tracey Cole

Create a drought-resistant gravel garden

A gravel garden is the ideal solution. Drought-tolerant plants will thrive in sunny, dry, free-draining soil with a covering of gravel, be low-maintenance and look good whatever the season as well as coping with climate change.

Gardens with gravel provide plenty of choice for flower and foliage colour, and, with careful planting, you can guarantee a display of colour throughout the year. The choice could be a more formal style, or random, informal, maybe a gravel area under trees.

Before setting up a gravel garden dig over the soil and add plenty of compost to feed the plants. Generally, a weed-suppressing membrane is spread over the soil to prevent weeds and restrict plants. However, if you want self-seeding plants to scatter freely and the plants to spread then leave the soil uncovered, but you will have to keep on top of the weeds!


The choice of gravel is entirely personal, whichever suits you and your garden design. Once in position, the plants will need watering until they are established, then they will require very little water.
A combination of plants in groups, including focal points and low-growing spreading plants works really well, and, if planting a large area, water-wise trees such as Olives, will provide height.

Russian sage, indigenous Kniphofia and Verbascum will give height in a smaller area, along with Cordyline, Phorium and Aloes. The Spekboom makes a striking show with its pink flowers, and the perennial ‘vygies’ will add vivid colour to a gravel garden.


Bronze Fennel, Gaura and grasses will bring movement in the wind.Try a gravel garden for colour all year!

More advice and articles :

We at village gardens have a knowledge of all of your local edible plants here in South Africa. We can happily plant up your garden with edibles of all varieties from Mediterranean herbs and local indigenous edibles. We are surrounded by such stunning hardy indigenous plants, let’s get back to nature and have our own garden of local goodness.


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