Landscaping / Summer

Love your garden: Episode five

By The Secret Gardener

The garden in episode five of Love Your Garden was marvellous. I found working on this particularly delightful because there was so much going on. We put down so many different surfaces in that garden and it was such a large space.

Admittedly, it was quite hard work getting all the product through the narrow alleyway from the front of the house into the back garden. But once that was done, it really paid off.

There are so many different types of area and surface that you can create in a garden. It doesn’t just have to be a lawn and some flower borders.

In this garden we seemed to have everything imaginable. We had plenty of sections for planting with side beds, raised beds and a level of thin beds along the outside of the garden. The latter were perfect filled with climbers so we could cover the fences.

We also had a paved area down by the summerhouse using Bradstone's Liscia in Cream. This was perfect because it gave the family a second seating area. Creating lots of space for outdoor living means you can follow the sun around the use different places throughout the day.

For example, if the sun shines by the back of the house in the morning and at the end of the garden in the evening, there is no reason why you can’t have two patios. Then you can enjoy the garden at any time.

We also created a sizeable decking area with composite decking. It was a massive project and seemed to take forever to build. But it looked great when it was finished! Decking is ideal if you have changes in level in your garden because you can use a timber frame underneath to lift the deck up. This area was ideal for entertaining and we fitted it with an outdoor kitchen too.

But the surfaces didn't finish there! We also put in a walk around path with gravel and aggregate using Bradstone's Mellow Cotswold 20mm stone. This path leads around the garden, linking the different areas and creating a journey through the space.

In the centre, Alan built a raised pond. This made the perfect central focal point.

The aggregate also links the different parts of the garden. I love using aggregate because there are so many types available, from gold colours to slate and red crushed aggregate too.


If you’re putting aggregate down in your garden, it’s best to clear the area as much as possible before you start. Put down a layer of hard core and compact it. Then I put down a weed membrane to stop plants growing through the gravel.

Paths usually benefit from edging to stop the grass growing into the gravel (and to keep the gravel out of the grass!). Wood strip or aluminium edging is ideal.

Then simply put the aggregate down over the top and rake smooth. Never put down a too-thick layer of gravel – there is nothing worse than dragging your feet through piles of stones. I’d recommend 1.5 inches to 2.5 inches deep.

But this garden wasn't just about hard landscaping and flower borders – we also put in a lovely green lawn. It adds a real softness to any garden space. Plus a lawn is good for the environment and drainage, as well as benefiting wildlife and the little micro-organisms in the garden ecosystem.

All of these different surfaces seemed to work particularly well together in this garden. We matched it with a significant amount of planting. And the view from the top of the garden shows what an impact those different surfaces and levels can have. It was great fun to work on another fantastic makeover – I hope you’re enjoying the new series!


Meet the author

The Secret Gardener

The Secret Gardener is an award-winning landscaper, specialising in bringing colour and ambience to any space.

Paving cutter
Making it happen

Bradstone Assured installers

With a Bradstone Assured installer, each professional is carefully assessed and checked to guarantee the work is done to the highest standard using only the best materials.

Making it happen

Find a stockist

Bradstone products are supplied through a nationwide network of builders' merchants and retailers. Our carefully selected partners offer expert advice and at some branches, you will be able to see our products on display.