Landscaping with Gravel: Great Ideas for you

Gravel is durable enough to cover terraces, paths, and driveways. It helps create a softer mood and a feel more organic than those of pavers or bricks do. Gravel works very well in every climate. In regions that are arid, it makes a great ground cover for garden areas that resist irrigation and planting.

3 Ways you can use gravel

To blur the boundaries

You can let your plants spill onto the gravel to soften the edges of the path. A perfect plant to use is 'Tom Thumb.' It spreads its delicate branches on the path. The branches turn red during fall.

To combine with larger stones

Mix rocks with gravel to add an interesting look. This technique may also solve the drainage problem. Gravel path, bordered on the right with maidenhair ferns and 'Libelle' hydrangea, and straddled with a bunch of flat, large stones creates a bridge over a runoff channel.

To add a rock border

When the adjacent planting beds and the gravel path are new, the transformation from plain soil to gravel can make a garden look unfinished. A good solution is to define the edges of the path with bigger stones. As plants begin to grow, they will automatically tumble on and hide the bigger stones.

Basics of gravel

Gravel comes in a range of different sizes from ⅛- to 1½-inch. They are available in two forms: natural river rocks (also called natural pebbles) or man made crushed rock with irregular edges.

Choosing the right kind

It is best to consult a landscaping expert or visit a local landscape supply yard for experiencing the feel and look of different kinds of gravel. Consider the ideas given below for choosing the right kind for your garden.

  • For areas that are high in traffic, such as patios and paths, use manmade crushed rock. The pieces bind together and create a more stable walking surface. One of the most popular sizes is ⅜ inch. It is all-purpose gravel, serving indeed any purpose you can imagine. To create a softer surface under feet, make use of finer natural pebbles.
  • For areas that are low in traffic, an attractive choice is river rock. Its smoother, larger pieces are less stable underfoot in comparison to crushed rock. However, they have a better presence.

Laying the groundwork

Several people suggest excavating six to eight inches for creating a gravel path and layering sand, crushed rock, and gravel; however, most landscaping designers do not recommend this method. This is because the smaller pieces start to make their way up, spoiling the look of the gravel. It is best to lay a two- to three-inch thick gravel layer right on the weed-free, bare soil that has been compacted with a roller or tamper.

Make sure to rare the gravel regularly and keep it tidy. This will ensure that the path remains beautiful all year long.  Several people may suggest several landscaping ideas, besides your own. You would do well to consult an experienced landscaping expert before you launch your project.