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Low maintenance replacement for lawn?

I am new to this forum so expect this topic has been covered before? I cannot manage to regularly mow my lawn any more. It is nearly always wet due to high trees (neighbours, don't even go there! ) So am getting quotes from landscapers at the moment. I've had weed membranes laid in the past under gravel and they work fairly well but still need surface weeding now and then. Bending down for a long time is becoming a problem too!

Can anyone tell me what to look out for when contractors say what they are going to do? Pitfalls, skimping on materials?

Also want to keep the costs down. Would like beach shingle or a sunshiney looking gravel but is that the most expensive Dont want the grey council gravel that appears everywhere, too grim on a grey day... bet that is the cheapest?


Any constructive help appreciated.



  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,742

    No idea about pitfalls etc but someone once told me about self-binding gravel. It is normal gravel which has not been washed and the fine dust particles sink to the bottom after laying and bed down to form a sort of crust which is weed resistant.

    For example


    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • Thank you pansyface and Tetley. Just the sort of info I need. Have never heard of self-binding gravel!

    Tetley, I like your garden. Raised beds def on the cards plus nice gravel and some sleepers maybe?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,996

    That's a lovely garden Tetley - talk about making a virtue out of a necessity image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • We also use ordinary shingle from local diy store plus a membrane underneath and haven't had any problems



  • dominomandominoman Posts: 150

    I love those walls.  They look beautiful.

    Shingle looks nice, but you say you have a lot of overhanging trees so you will end up having to sweep up leaves.  If you just leave them then you'll end up with weeds in a couple of years as they start to decompose.


  • WaysideWayside Posts: 845

    I've flirted with the idea of shingle.  But am worried about windfall.  I guess if the area isn't huge you could net it, wait for the wind fall and then bundle it up and compost it all.

    A neighbour got about a ton of slate delivered bagged up for about £100.  Laborious carrying it in, and actually it didn't go as far as I expected but it's quite nice.  I think it's residue from slate mining, so the transportation is the worst part regarding eco-credentials.  Not sure where other shingle comes from?

    My Mum has shingled her garden, and I'm in two minds about it.  @Flowers in the rain and @Tetley's look nice.

  • Shingle is getting the thumbs up so far, don't mind raking leaves, not much bending or heaving lawnmower around....

    I'll probably have lots of broken old slabs once they have finished taking them up, now I know what I can do with them apart from putting them in the skip!

    Thank you all, I enjoyed all your photos.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358

    I used Tuscan Gold gravel last year for my paths Green novice. I think it was about £80 per ton bag. Only problem is that it's softer - like a sandstone - and breaks down, so it's not quite so good for my paths, but could be fine for your purpose.

     I've used another one in the past which is very hard wearing but it's a lot dearer - about £110/£120 per ton. I forget the name of it though. It's flatter and slightly paler so it's ideal for shady areas. I used a small bag of it for round my pond planting


    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358

    I should also have said - use bigger gravel rather then pea gravel if you're plagued by cats, like I am  image  Otherwise you just have a giant litter tray.

    I think the second gravel is called something like Cornish gold but can't remember - most builders' merchants stock it anyway. 

    I like the golden gravel as it's a good contrast to my dark woodwork and harmonises with the planting I chose Jo. Good for the shady areas. 

    Forgot to say - I love Tetley's raised bed walls too. Who'd have thought slabs could look so smart - it's brilliant! I have a load of ugly ones to get rid of , but I don't have the time now to do anything like that - or the room either  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Love the golden gravels! Hope to get a sunny effect on a grey day. Am I wishing for too much, living near the North Sea? Hope not image

    Tetley makes a good point, that little gravel that gets into your sandals (and paws) is a blummin' nuisance so will go for a larger size.

    Fairygirl also makes another good point, don't want a giant litter tray although my terrier makes short work of cats taking a short cut through HIS garden!

    Taking notes here, thanks all!

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