Gravel Garden In Weeley Heath

About This Project

Discover the story behind this climate friendly gravel garden in a quiet Essex village.


Our client is a regular visit to Beth Chatto’s garden near Colchester. She is inspired by Beth’s philosophy of choosing plants to suit the conditions in a garden and then allowing them to thrive unhindered by human intervention. She asked us to create a Beth Chatto style garden with lots of character, plenty of visual impact and a restful atmosphere. 

The patio and paths are in good condition and are to remain in the garden. But the lawn is to be replaced by drought tolerant planting and gravel paths. The wish list also included a small wildlife pond to support frogs and toads.


This home is a neat bungalow on a small housing estate.


Weeley Heath Near Clacton On Sea, Essex


Tapestry Design Studios, Colchester.


The garden consisted mainly of lawn which, although carefully tended, was inclined to suffer in dry conditions. For most of the summer it would be straw coloured and look parched. Our client is environmentally conscious and whilst she loves plants, she wants her home and garden to be as sustainable as possible in terms of water use. She wants to inject more interest into her garden without having to spend her precious leisure time attached to a watering can.


This garden was designed by Katie Moyes of Tapestry Design Studio. Katie has a passion for planting and is also a fan of Beth Chatto’s philosphy. She has designed a space with several islands of drought tolerant plants joined by loosely flowing gravel paths. It looks beautiful on paper and even better in real life.


Creating a gravel garden requires careful attention to soil conditioning. The plant palette in this case generally likes free draining soil and so the Holland Landscapes team went to great pains to prepare the ground properly before planting.

Unwanted vegetation was removed and the plants that our client wanted to keep were carefully protected. Next we relieved the compaction where the old lawn had been and incorporated some aggregate to open up the soil structure. 

The wildlife pond was created with care. It’s not terribly deep but we needed to be sure that any creatures had easy access to the drinking water. With any pool of this nature, it’s also important that any living thing can safely climb out if they should fall in. And so the sides of the pond were carefully sculpted and sloped to create an escape route. 

The pond was surrounded by pebbles and small boulders to give a natural look. Stones also offer hiding places for small creatures and platforms for insects and amphibians to warm themselves on sunny days.

Plants were sourced from a local nursery and carefully placed before being watered in and mulched with a thick layer of gravel.

The result? A delighted client, lots of intrigue from the neighbours and a garden that brings the designer’s vision to life.


Would you like a climate friendly gravel garden? Contact us to discuss your ideas.

Back Garden, Garden Design, Landscaping, Planting, Pond
Back Garden, Back Garden Design, Garden Design Essex, gravel garden, Landscaping Essex