The aesthetic qualities of a garden have been celebrated for centuries, and British passion for them is still very much evident today in events such as the Chelsea Flower Show which celebrate the exquisiteness of different types of garden.
Cultivating a garden into a beautiful space can be done in all sorts of ways. From tall, statuesque trees, exotic plants, shrubbery, benches, ponds, miniature-streams, garden features, decorative fencing, and more – there really are no end of techniques to creating a stunning garden.
One of the unsung heroes of garden splendour is gravel. Possibly because we often think of it as gritty and grey - generally not the qualities that we associate with beauty – we often forget what stunning effects gravel has on a garden.
There are many advantages to using gravel in your garden. Unlike a lawn or flowerbed it is very low-maintenance as well as extremely easy to lay in the first place. Another advantage is that there are so many different types of gravel which means that you can choose the size, colour, and shape of the pebbles to suit your personal taste. As an alternative to gravel many gardens use sand. The appeal of sand stems from its light colour which looks particularly clean and elegant in the sunlight, as well as its many practical uses.
Here at SJS Building Supplies we specialise in sand and gravel, whether you are a professional gardener who needs a new supplier, or an individual who is passionate about their garden. Here are a few gardens that we have found which we think use sand and gravel beautifully, tell us if you agree:
Blue Country House
The owner of this traditional home has chosen to use gravel to draw attention to the front path. The use of stone with gravel creates a romantic setting whereby a visitor follows the stone path to a beautiful house. Additionally, using gravel around the path is a smart idea because it means that there are no risks of grass or weeds overgrowing and covering the path. The garden’s design combines stone slabs, gravel, and grass with natural shrubbery and trees – a perfect mixture.
Here we have an example of how gravel can be used to create a clear path through thick, colourful shrubbery. The pathway has been carefully cultivated into an inviting meandering shape. The light gravel looks clean and clear in contrast to the soil at its edges; the designer could actually have used sand for the same artistic effect, although this would have had a totally different texture.
This is a more domestic garden which has combined many elements together. The gravel stones are a brilliant contrast with the bright green grass, the plain brick, and the grey stone. Additionally, the wooden staircase brings another colour and texture into the garden. The various muted tones of dark brown, pale brown, grey, and white work well together to create a sophisticated space.
The garden displayed above is another good example of how to successfully blend different materials and textures into one space. The smooth wooden decking looks very modern in contrast to the stones which give the area a traditional touch. Furthermore, the design has created a seating space on the decking which could be enjoyed in the sunshine either as an area to sit and chat with friends or to lie down on a sun bed.
A beautiful water feature is one of the best ways to truly add some magic to a garden. Here gravel has been used as a pathway that leads to the most exciting part of the garden. A pathway always adds that hint of fairytale magic and it is never more suitable than when it leads to a wishing well. A pond is particularly appealing on a summer’s day so that you can dip your fingers in or make a wish.
This garden has incorporated two separate types of gravel to create multi-coloured and intriguing shapes. An Asian-inspired unique combination of the bonsai tree perched on a platform, the water feature on the ground surrounded by people, and the mountains of grass bring an exotic appeal to this garden. The small tuft of grass in the corner makes the stony space consistent with the rest of the garden, and the stone pathway makes it clear where the viewer is intended to stand.
Here sand has been used to great effect. The whiteness of the sand juxtaposes the green of the grass and greys and browns of the stones surrounding it. The different heights - right from the gravel to the thick slabs, to the brick walls, through the trees so tall that the photo has cut them off – add character to the area, making it all the more interesting to view.
Here we have an example of a classic professional garden that has utilised gravel to create a pathway from which viewers can truly admire the garden. The large, green lawn is decorated by beautifully bright flowers that are carefully restricted by thicker stones. The background of tall trees also adds variety and depth to the view.
Gardens are often a place where sand is truly celebrated. Sand and gravel are traditionally used in Japanese Zen gardens. They are raked into a pattern reminiscent of rippling water which looks peaceful and elegant. In the example above this texture is further distinguished because of its contrast with the thick grass, and vivid greenery of the trees around it.