Melbourne, Derbyshire front garden/driveway


This busy working family wanted a more useable space that could accommodate their two vehicles. They wanted a space that was more contemporary looking, rather than a more traditional look, and as they aren’t keen gardeners themselves they desired a planting scheme that was not too complex to maintain.


Conversion of front gardens to driveways is an ever increasing scenario in the UK, but it has been demonstrated that there is a link between the paving of drives and flash flooding.  Over recent years planning rules have become more restrictive in light of this phenomenon and require that all hard surfaces with a surface area of 5 metres squared or more must be made permeable to avoid water run off to the street and drainage systems beyond.

Gravel surfaces offer the ideal solution, as rainwater permeates in situ. However, over time, vehicles running across gravel do have a tendency to cause ‘beaching’ or ‘waves’ in the gravel, which is unsightly. Gravel does also have a tendency to disperse. I therefore specified the use of locally-sourced Derbyshire angled limestone gravel, and hidden beneath a recycled plastic grid system to support the vehicles’ weight, and combat gravel dispersal and beaching. Large gaps and a slight fall to the paving also allowed rainwater to soak away in situ. Large contemporary paving slabs were utilised to correspond with the dark lower few courses of house brickwork.

A bespoke cedar bin screen was erected to hide the recycling bins, yet allow for easy access.

Long flowering, hardy and easy-to-maintain perennials were specified in several areas of the front garden, together with a sprinkling of low-growing sempervivums and thymes randomly dotted throughout the driveway area. At the start of their second year the plants already seem to be settling in just fine.