Stony Ground

Yes, we finally did it. Last autumn we raked up all the mulch from the paths in the Flora Glade. I have long wanted to have pea gravel paths, but as we had a ton of wood chips, curtesy of a tree that blew down in a storm, decided to start with that, after all, they were free. So a couple of years ago, we took up all the grass, and put down the bark.

Then last year, it came up, and a base of limestone screening was put down. What a difference, firm underfoot, dry, I loved it.

 The only thing I did not love was the colour, waaay to white.  But Mother Nature took care of that quickly (with a bit of help from some worms), and the colour dulled down.This spring, (during the short time we were back in Canada), we had some pea gravel delivered.  And working as the fabulous team that we are, Ian and I started to spread it. 

We had pea gravel paths when we lived in Kingston (and they were a very handy warning system when a burglar was trying to break in, but that is another story), but we had laid the gravel to thick.

It was very hard to walk on, so we learned our lesson this time. We only put down one or two inches on top of the limestone. And it worked beautifully, instantly firm and lovely to walk on. And it really finished off the Flora Glade,and made it look much more polished.

Now, I am debating what to do about the Kitchen Garden. A couple of years ago, we took up the grass paths and laid the rest of our bark mulch.


I would like to change that was well, but would it be too  much to continue the pea gravel from the Flora Glade? Should there not be a different medium underfoot? What do you think?

28 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Bernieh said,

    It does look fantastic. You’ve both done a great job with these pathways. I think continuing this look into the kitchen garden would work very well, drawing the eye into that area.

  2. 3

    I think the gardens look great they way you have them designed. On my small property, I have four differently constructed paths with differing materials. No need to make them all the same, just separate them with a change of material. I adds visual interest and indicates to the viewer that they are entering a different room or space. The kitchen garden is a different space and I like the mulch path here.

  3. 5

    Barbara H. said,

    No brilliant ideas on my end, but it looks like if you continue it it will tie in nicely with Ian’s fantastic steps back in the corner. Still really love those steps!

  4. 7

    Laurrie said,

    This is very timely, as my next project is to put down pea gravel in some areas in my garden. It really dresses up your paths beautifully, you did such a great job with this.

    Since your woodland paths wander and curve extensively, I would put a contrast in the kitchen garden, either leaving the mulch or using brick (is installing a brick path too hard to do? I always think of kitchen gardens with straight brick paths)

    What a difference the gravel paths make in the whole design!

    • 8

      Oooh, I am looking forward to seeing your pea gravel. I too think of kitchen gardens with brick paths. We actually installed a brick sidewalk at our first house, a lot of work, but looked amazing!

  5. 9

    Donna said,

    They work with either mulch or stone….it comes down to the look you want and the maintenance of the mulch and stone…gorgeous beds that are lovely to look at..,

  6. 11

    ricki said,

    Seems to me that now that you have figured out exactly the best way to do the gravel, it would be prudent to use that expertise on all the paths. It would give you continuity, while the different forms and uses will make the changes obvious.

  7. 13

    Very nice!! I like the idea of a different medium underfoot for the different areas of the garden, I think it helps to define the space. But I’m sure whatever you do will be lovely. 🙂

  8. 15

    debsgarden said,

    You have done a great job, and your paths are lovely! If you decide to do something different with the kitchen garden, I think brick would be wonderful. Flagstone would also work well.

  9. 17

    Jean said,

    Deborah, The problem I always have with woodchip paths is that so much stuff takes root in them as the woodchips decompose. I find the pea gravel much easier to maintain. Maybe you could both connect the kitchen garden paths to the flora glade paths *and* make them different by using some kind of stepping stones or pavers or flagstones with pea gravel around them.

    • 18

      I am finding they need a lot of weeding as well (should be busy when I return in the fall), and I think it lends itself to more of a casual garden, not a formal design like my Kitchen Garden. I like the flagstone and pea gravel idea.

  10. 19

    Andrea said,

    Wow, that was really beautifully made. It looks like so paved and ready for everyone to visit. Thanks.

  11. 21

    One said,

    I like the way your garden looks. Your break in story is funny though I’m not sure if it is meant to be.

  12. 23

    Marguerite said,

    Lots of great ideas here in the comments. I think I would tend to go with continuity and keep pea gravel throughout. You did a great job and it looks beautiful so no reason not to continue. But I can also see how you might want to create a change when coming into a new area to help define it.

  13. 25

    I’d vote to continue on the gravel paths. It will provide continuity, but like Jean, I’m not that fond of bark paths for a number of reasons, one of which is bark can trap plant pathogens more easily than gravel, which tends to dry out more thoroughly. I also love the crunch of pea gravel underfoot, and it always reminds me of some of the gardens in England where pea gravel abounds. My dogs love it too…nothing gets past gravel without them knowing about it…burglars or otherwise!

  14. 27

    You have a lovely garden!

    I imagine gravel paths throughout would tie all the areas together visually. I find weeds can be a problem in gravel too, and if you have lawns adjacent to the paths you spend ages sweeping gravel from grass! They do have a sort of visual calmness though.

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