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How to Create a Gravel Garden

Want incredible beauty and low maintenance? Try one of these in your backyard

Fine Gardening – Issue 178

When you conjure up an image of a gravel garden, it probably isn’t very fun or colorful. Many people picture a sea of hot, dry gravel, some harsh, craggy rocks, and a handful of plain green, sparsely growing plants. This image might be right on the money if we were talking about mountainous alpine rock gardens, but the gravel gardens that I’ve helped create here at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens are different. Why would you want to have a gravel garden? Well, for starters, you get the same beauty as a traditional perennial garden but with 80 percent less maintenance. These sustainable plant communities, once established, thrive on natural rainfall alone and require no fertilizer or other chemicals to grow. If given a little time to grow and fill in, they will look similar to traditional perennial gardens but require far less work.

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