Forum home Garden design

Gravel Bed out and Clematis in

andy.smithandy.smith Posts: 3
edited August 2019 in Garden design
I have a gravel trap around most of my house, especially at the front. I was thinking of taking out a section of this and some flags to put in a couple of Clematis plants, maybe jingle bell or some other evergreen variety. 
Would anyone know of a problem with doing this?
Thanks in advance.


  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 6,996
    If it's actually a French drain, you don't want to be filling it up with soil... 
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,235
    Not a good site for clematis.  Too close to the wall and not enough room for their thick, feshy roots to seek enough nutrients and moisture.

    Funnily enough, French drains are called Roman drains here and @Liriodendron is right.  They need to be kept clear of plants and weeds or they don't work.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thank you for your replies. I'll dig a bit deeper to find out if there's a pipe; I went down 4" and found sand turning to soil.

    If not a clematic then is there something evergreen I could use that won't damage brick? I had thought of an ivy, but the risk to the structure is off-putting.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 71,933
    As has been explained ... that is a French Drain ... it’s purpose is to drain water away from the base of your house walls to prevent ingress of water causing damp problems in your house. 

    Allowing any plants to root in that gravel is likely to compromise the free flowing of the drain and risk damage to your house. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • I've had a good dig down and found no pipe there. It's 2" of gravel over a foot of sand. 

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,235
    It's still a drainage system intended to keep your house wall and foundation safe and dry.  Don't mess with it.   Your house won't like it and nor will your insurance company.

    Clematis won't like it either.   They like deep, rich, fertile soil and plenty to eat and drink.      They won't find that in sand up against a wall.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
Sign In or Register to comment.