Southern Colonial gardens - surfacing around foundation?
This is not a restoration project, since it is a (very) new garden, but it is a question about historic landscapes. This spring/summer I built a formal, boxwood-edged garden in our front yard, inspired by the formal gardens in Williamsburg. My plan is to eliminate foundation plantings entirely and have small seating areas on either side of the porch, and perhaps container groupings of terra-cotta pots in the summer. I had planned to put down crushed rock here but everything I read says it's very hard to work with and dust tends to track in the house and wreck the floors. What surface would be more in keeping with a Colonial Virginia-inspired landscape? At the moment the garden paths are bark because that's what the budget would allow (and we have an inexhautible supply after having many trees taken down). Crushed oyster shell is popular in eastern Virginia, but we live far from the coast so that doesn't really make sense here. Bear in mind we are trying to evoke a sense of history, not slavishly reproduce it (which we couldn't do anyway with a 1960s bilevel house).
Here are a few photos of the site. Please ignore the concrete sidewalk and crooked front step, they are being removed this weekend and the step replaced with a wooden box step. And the exterior painting will be done some day!
Closer view of areas to either side of porch: