By Jane Milliman
Here in the Northeast we don’t need xeriscaping as much as other parts of the country. But drought-resistant gardening is still low-maintenance gardening, and we could all use more of that.
Visiting gardens in England, I fell in love with a particular type: the scree garden. I found that, like many British techniques, this type of gravel garden also worked well back home.
Scree basically means gravel, and it can be as fine or as coarse as you like. I find pea gravel packs nicely, provides good coverage, and stays in place. But I’ve seen gardens made with everything from sand to large river rock.
The beauty of scree is that it lets rainwater reach the ground but slows evaporation. It helps keep weeds from spreading, but when they do, they are easy to remove. Scree doesn’t need to be mowed and rarely needs refreshing, unlike wood mulch. Done right, it adds a clean, polished vibe.
What to plant? Alpine or rock garden specimens are good places to start. Dianthus, which can’t stand wet feet in winter, thrives in gravel. Other great choices: aromatic herbs such as lavender and rosemary, ornamental grasses, and flowering bulbs.
When making a scree garden, a well-defined edge is key — preferably a physical edge that keeps the gravel in place. While not essential, a water-permeable weed mat beneath the gravel will make weeding easier down the road.
Lowe’s 10 regional gardening contributors show how to create a beautiful — and water savvy — landscape wherever you live.Learn More