Beth Chatto Inspired Gravel Garden

About This Project

The Beth Chatto Garden in Essex inspires many of our clients to redesign their gardens and this project is a fine example of her influence.  Our client loves spending time in the garden and finds that being surrounded by plants has a truly positive effect on their wellbeing. However, this garden is a sun trap which tends to be very dry in summer. That means that maintaining a traditional English garden is quite a challenge.  

Beth Chatto’s ethos is to embrace the microclimate within a garden and choose plants that will love living there.  Our client, inspired by Beth’s dry garden, asked us to create a gravel garden where they can enjoy plants and not worry about them being affected by heat or drought.


Katie was asked to design a water conscious and sustainable garden taking Beth Chatto’s gravel garden as inspiration.  The lawn was to be removed and replaced with flowing beds and paths of gravel with planting appropriate for the microclimate.

Existing fruit trees were to be retained – quite rightly!  Our client also asked for a small vegetable growing patch to be incorporated into the design.  Katie suggested installing water butts wherever possible in order to capture rainwater for irrigating edible plants.

A small wildlife pond was added to the wish list.  Using a solar powered fountain this could bring wonderful watery sounds into the garden and may even become a home for the toads that are occasionally seen in the garden.


It’s no secret that Katie loves designing plant based gardens. And so this project was an absolute joy for her to work on.  In order to manage landscaping costs, the existing patios and paths have been retained.  An extra paved area was created at the side of the bungalow in order to create space for a mini greenhouse and a cold frame.

Parts of the garden are overlooked by neighbouring properties. Therefore Katie’s planting plan retained existing trees planted along the boundary.  She also included those magnificent planters in the scheme for a wonderful pop of colour.

The mix of curved planting beds and gravel paths creates lots of interesting views throughout the garden. It also allows visitors to really immerse themselves in nature.  Drought tolerant planting throughout means that once established, the plants will be reasonably self sufficient. Perhaps only needing a tidy up once or twice a year.


There’s more to creating a sustainable gravel garden than just popping the plants in and adding aggregate.  Good drainage and proper soil preparation is key to the success of a design like this and who better to carry out the works that the landscapers and horticulturists at Holland Landscapes.

Our client is delighted with the results. We look forward to sharing more pictures with you as the garden matures.


As our weather patterns alter, the way that gardens are designed and maintained will change too. It’s the only way to manage precious resources such as soil and water.  Plants are crucial in the battle against climate change and they also help to cool an area.  However, it’s important to choose the right plants for the situation – just as Beth Chatto has done in her own garden.

If you need ideas for a sustainable garden that will bring you joy all year round, Katie is on hand to help you with layout plans and planting designs.  Here’s how to contact Katie at Tapestry Design Studios.

Garden Design
Back Garden Design, clacton, Gravel Gardens, New Build Gardens, Planting Design, Town Garden Design, Water Features