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Thoughts on paving slabs

Hello my gardening friends,

I would really like some advice as to how to better manage our raised vegetable/flower beds at the back of our garden.  We have a large space that has large stones put down as a path.  It looked great at the time when we bought the house, however in just 5 years this space is becoming a nightmare to keep clean and tidy from leaves & weeds.  

We were thinking of putting paving slabs down instead as it would be easier to sweep up in the autumn/winter with all the leaves that collect there.  However, it's not cheap or all that sustainable.

In the autumn it is very difficult to keep this area tidy and free from leaves or weeds and wondered if you have any suggestions as to what works well for you?  

Best wishes,


  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 3,294
    Garden vac for the leaves. I have the same problem with four large trees. And spray weed killer around the rocks? Just a thought.
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,488
    I mow over our rock area in fall, with it on the highest setting.. I want those leaves for my compost.  Then it just requires a small amount of raking along edges to collect up the extras.  A certain amount of chopped leaves make it into the rocks, though, creating soil for future problems.  
    Utah, USA.
  • BobFlannigonBobFlannigon Posts: 619
    Slabs sound like a good idea.  Use something like GumTree to find people (practically) giving their old slabs away, that should keep the cost down to a minimum.
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,991
    Perhaps post a pic so we can see the problem. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Peggy7Peggy7 Posts: 34
    Hello gardening friends,

    thanks for the advice - especially gumtree.  Here’s a small portion of what we have to keep weed free!  Sadly my vegetables didn’t work this year much to my disappointment.

  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,991
    I understand now - it was the stones bit that had me puzzled but now I see you mean gravel! I would agree that a garden vac in the autumn would do the trick for the leaves but during the year I think the only thing is to use weedkiller for the weeds. If you use the stuff that stays in the ground, a couple of applications in the year, perhaps April/May when the weeds are starting and then again August time should keep the paths weed free. As time goes on the weeds will get fewer as you are catching them before they set seed. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 3,875
    Is there a weed supressant membrane underneath the shingle?  If you are going to use weed killer, you will have to be very careful if you still want to grwo veg tere, we have a similar set up, raised beds surrounded by shingle, paving as stepping stones so you can get the barrow down to the compost bin, it has the membrane, every 3 years we lay in excess of 1 ton more shingle, it gets picked up with the weeding and collecting cat poo! I weed by hand in spring, we do have a garden vac.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 6,263
    We also have a similar set up, although on a smaller scale.  You could try small, lightweight paving slabs which are relatively cheap and easy to lift, as stepping stones as Nanny Beach suggests, down the middle of each path. This would cut down the area in which weeds could grow. Then spray the remaining gravel carefully with weedkiller.
  • ZeroZero1ZeroZero1 Posts: 564
    edited July 2018
    I have about 16 raised beds and have used both paving stones and concrete. The advantage of paving stones is that they are easy- ish to lay just a bed of shingle as hard core and bang them down job done. The disadvantage for me was the size was set. So, for my bottom beds, i simply laid some gravel, on top of weed suppressent fabric (this only works partially as new weeds land) then mixed some concrete in a tub and laid that on top, not as hard as one might think. The concrete is still there after six years and going strong. Better than just gravel as you can sweep it. Whatever method you use the weeds get in the crevices - I use forget-me-not as my resident weed and it looks stunning in all those corners  :o
  • ZeroZero1ZeroZero1 Posts: 564
    Peggy - looking at your pics, why not mix some concrete and simply lay that on top? The gravel will act as a sub base and you should have a smooth surface to sweep. 
    Sad to hear about your veg - next year watch out for pigeons, slugs, and the rest next year - alas its war out there. 
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