Many people stress over the soil in their landscape. You can use any soil you want and still have great plants. Look around, most plants in natural areas are growing in soils that you would normally think as too wet, too dry, too sandy, too clayey…you get the idea!
You can choose plants that fit your soil instead of spending a lot of time and energy altering the soil to fit your plants. Puerto Rico is a good example of this. Lots of rock, coral and sandy soils make up the land on this island. But the plants still thrive in these conditions. Poor soils may have better texture, water holding capacity and even more nutrients than perfect garden soils.
Do you have rock mulch around your house that has gotten weedy and hard to maintain? You can mulch over with an organic material like shredded bark and put in some permanent plants that fit your landscape. In many cases these gravel beds are too close to the house any way and so you can just leave the stone in place and plant further out too.