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Plant Bases, Beds, and Rings (Borders) made of Natural Stone

Design with Pavers / Cobblestones and Natural Stone  

For an integrated greening project, a plant base, or at least a small planting ring around the trellis, is as important as choosing the right plants and trellis systems. Occasionally, and especially within the public space, some stem or tree guard may also be required. This section gives you some ideas for planning and constructing your designated planting areas ('rings').

Planting ring made of natural stone around a grapevine
Planting ring made of natural stone around a grapevine


Plant bases are delineated areas within a hard landscape surface, which are adapted to the soil requirements of a climbing plant. Basically, the plant is allocated a small area of soil within a rather 'hostile' environment in which to thrive. The challenge is to get a bit of loose soil within the hard soil. If at all possible, the planting area should have a continuous connection with the surrounding natural or imported soil, and not simply be a pot stuck in the ground. The soil of a planting base can be left bare, or can be mulched, graveled, or planted with small ground-covering plants, depending on the requirements of the individual climbing plant.

Plant Rings, Stone Arrangement

The interface between the planting area and the surrounding paved (hard landscaped) surface can be made of cobblestones, paving stones, or shaped (precast) concrete blocks. Not only do they provide an enclosing border around the planting area, but they also protect the surrounding pavement from becoming loose and disintegrating.

Planting base area for a wintercreeper
Planting base area for a wintercreeper
Espalier tree (pear) in an oval-shaped planting area within a traditional limestone pavement
Espalier tree at Dornburger Schlösser (Castle) / Thuringia
Continuous planting strip for grapevines
Wall corner with grapevine
Thicket creeper (P. inserta), plant ring in the shape of a quadrant (quarter circle) and reinforced by a galvanised steel strip along the perimeter.
Thicket Creeper
This planting area for a vine has been cut out of contemporary interlocking pavers and is held in place by a cast-iron tree grate.
Cobblestone paving
Grapevines next to an old cellar window, new pavement of coloured concrete slabs; white pebbles decorate the planting area
Plant base (ring) with concrete paving
Historic plant ring and stem (trunk) protection for a grapevine, border made of (handmade) concrete bricks
Historical plant ring
Very old ('ancient') grapevine with a massive main stem/trunk, in historic cobblestone pavement
Very old house vine in Eisenberg / Thuringia
Plant rings made with limestone paving, integrated into a permeable surface of stone chippings / gravel, possibly hardened with a cementitious (sludgy/elutriated) mortar for a hard-surfaced path.
Limestone plant rings
Wisteria in a plant ring with groundcover and ornamental natural stones; the actual cobblestone border around the plant ring is barely discernible from the cobblestone pavement.
Plant ring of natural stone
Planting pit for a climbing rose, demarcation only from laid natural stones. Many climbing plants, like clematis and honeysuckle, prefer a cool base, which can be achieved by placing natural stones in this manner to provide shade.
Climbing roses
This planting area for a Boston Ivy has been separated from the cobblestone pavement by a special type of old clinker-brick.
Plant pit in small cobblestone pavement
Plant base (ring) for a grapevine in pavement of small paving stones and bordered by a raised ring of natural stones
Natural-stone ring
This planting area for a Boston Ivy has been delineated by a semi-circular ring of small cobblestones and was constructed before the pedestrian area was asphalted.
Plant pit
Plant ring for ivy; pavement and border constructed of historic cobbles (stones, pebbles) collected in the field. Fully circular plant rings are particularly harmonious, as subconsciously they echo the round shapes of the plant shoots and stems emerging from the plant ring. It is best to arrange wedge-shaped stones with the narrow part pointing to the centre. This will keep the ring steady and prevent the stones from moving towards the centre.
Field stones and pebbles as a plant ring
Recess in pavement of small cobblestones for a standard rose; the inner ring has been set on a concrete support (in subsurface/underground) to prevent it from collapsing towards the centre.
Standard rose
Planting area for ivy in historic cobblestone pavement, delineated with a custom cut concrete edge
Small cobble made of "Porphyry"
Graveled plant ring for an old solitary ivy
Plant pit with gravel
Grapevine in a recess within a diagonally patterned cobblestone pavement, with groundcover (plants)
Natural stone pavement
Raised and set cobblestone ring within granite cobblestone pavement, for a grapevine
Pavement ring
Spacious planting pit for an espaliered apple; demanding plants (that is, with high horticultural requirements) need large planting (base) areas, and if necessary, the ground may need to be left free of groundcover and mulch.
Plant ring
Natural-stone ring for a grapevine. "Stone in stone" analogous to the surrounding paving
Paving ring made of natural stone
Granite cobblestone rings within natural field-stone pavement, for standard (stem/tree) roses
Historical cobblestones
Tiny semi-circular plant rings for grapevines with a raised but loose inner cobblestone ring; the tree guard is of an historical, regionally typical construction, nowadays rather used as a decoration-- but in the past, a necessity during cattle drives which led through the streets.
Natural stone paving
A sturdy ivy-veteran in a hardened path environment, without a separated planting area
Planting without a plant ring
How can we teach animal owners that planting areas are not dog toilets?
Dog toilets
Attractive plant ring for a grapevine, constructed with contemporary precast concrete pavers
Interlocking paving
This concrete plant ring was broken open by a wisteria, because it was too small.
Broken-open concrete plant ring
Old espaliered pear tree; planting area separated from the contemporary interlocking concrete pavers with mitre-cut concrete border
Concrete interlocking pavement
Grapevine in graveled planting area; here the stone pavement is not permeable, but instead grouted in order to divert the water.
House vine in a graveled plant ring