Gravel gardens are perhaps the ultimate low maintenance garden that can still give you greenery, structure and colour. They are especially suitable for small gardens and people who don’t want lawns, large flower beds or go away on holiday a lot and need gardens that are fairly self sufficient.
Its important for any large expanses of gravel to be broken up with a different texture or colour to stop them just looking like a beach. In the example below the planting creates a nice contrast in colour which is accentuated by the larger Atlantic cobbles and pebbles which also create a gradient of size down to the main material of 10mm washed gravel. Depending on your area the same principal can be applied to Cotswold gravel or slate chippings though more greenery is required to offset the two extremes in colour. It is normally better to use stone seen in your region; the example below is near the Suffolk coast so the materials tie in with the area. Stepping stones are also very useful in leading the eye through the garden and of course give a sturdier surface to walk on.
Most plants including shrubs and trees can be planted through gravel (a membrane between the soil and gravel needs to be put in place first) but grasses paired with light airy plants such as Verbena bonariensis and Nepeta are a favourite combination. The soil may need to be improved first depending on the plant going in and the existing soil conditions.
It is also good for driveways however the area where cars will be parking will need to be supported by crushed hardcore or a plastic or metal grating/panels underneath the gravel but you can still leave gaps for planting to soften the look and blend it into the garden.