Do you want to walk on your patio on bare feet? Do you know that you can have a pleasant walk without hurting your budget that much?
With gravel, it is possible. Gravels are pathways and patios’ best buddy. Aside from the fact that gravel is a low-impact material, it is way much affordable as compared to pavers, flagstones, and other solid materials that you have previously made use of. Not only that, gravel is so easy to set up. You will be amazed by the benefits that gravel can give you as compared to other solid materials out there.
Your choice for the type of gravel to use for a landscape project affects your space’s overall aesthetic and functions. In particular, dappled grey gravel can give your boring garden a zen feel. Moreover, you can add some golden decomposed granite to a gloomy space when you want to have a touch of the Tuscan theme on it. How about a couple of dark lava rocks on a patio for a perfect mid-century landscape?
Check out these incredible gravel options that you would love to grab for a patio or a gravel path.
1) Crushed Granite Gravels
First off, crushed granites are aggregate materials that are taken from natural stones. Solid granites are carefully-picked and tediously smashed. After such processes, these materials underwent an in-depth screening to achieve a uniform size- perfect for landscaping.
Unlike other gravel types, crushed granites are so affordable. Therefore, this landscaping material is the right gravel for pavements and other large area projects. In detail, crushed granites make your place casual-looking. The fact that it is so easy to install, go ahead and be excited about laying your eyes on a naturally-looking patio without needing anybody else’s help. Yes, you heard it right. You can do-it-yourself.
Another good thing about crushed granite is its ability to drain water well. This in mind, you don’t have to fear about wet patches in your lawn. Thus, this makes it unique from other granite types that are designed for solid surfaces.
Moreover, if you look forward to adding a flower bed or any feature in your garden, crushed granites can blend pleasantly with these garden pieces.
At this point, I bet that you want to know what options can you have when it comes to color. Crushed granites mostly come in earthy tan, charcoal grey, and brown hues. These colors create a balance and a natural- look in your landscape. You will be amazed to know that this granite option produces a typical chomping sound every time you step on them. This, in turn, sprinkles a touch of rustic feel in your garden.
2) Pea Gravel
Known for its cheap but far-fetched design, pea gravel is worth a pick. You can choose from a wide array of sizes and colors. Be in love with the idea of laying your feet on those rounded yet very comfortable pebbles. You and your pets can walk across them with ease and comfort. Pea gravel is a gravel option that captivated the hearts of many gardening and landscape enthusiasts. It transforms out-dated pavements into sophisticated and comfortable walkways. As the name suggests, a gravel option like this comes in the size of a pea. To estimate, it comes in sizes from a 1/4″, 1/2″ to 5/8″.
Contrary to other gravel types, pea gravel can never be trodden for a smooth finish. This is basically due to its roundness in nature. Similar to those plastic balls in the ball pit, its pebbles naturally move against each other when compressed or flattened. When used in patios, pea gravel can only cause people with nothing but difficult to walk.
Also, it demands a high level of maintenance when used in pathways and pavements. You need to spend extra effort and time in smoothing and cleaning it up every day. You can’t let those stray gravels flung out messily anywhere, can you? This is the reason why pea gravel is not ideal for courtyards or patios.
It is important to create a barrier. This barrier aims to keep these pea gravels steady and intact. As I said earlier, pea gravels can fly out everywhere when there is no blockade in place. Barriers keep these pea gravels in perfect shape. Therefore, pea gravels are not that hard to maintain when you have an idea of what to do.
3) Decomposed Granite
When we speak of a type of granite comprised of tiny silt and weathered rocks, we mean decomposed granite. It has a very fine texture. It holds the structural elegance of a crushed granite and the comfort of a pea gravel. As its ages, it forms tiny particles of rocks and dust-like materials. This happens when granite’s minerals and crystals decompose. It sometimes produces tiny round pebbles, small enough to provide a very comfortable feel whenever you walk on them bare-footed.
Moreover, having a walkway made of decomposed granites is luxurious. Unlike crushed granite, decomposed granites are far more expensive than other granite types introduced earlier in this article. However, with decomposed granite, you can be sure of getting the best value for your money. Since its particles are very small, it can be compressed exceptionally. That being said, you can expect a surface that is steady and hard-wearing. Unlike all its gravel counterparts, decompose granites can promise comfort with less maintenance required.
Here’s another catch.
All the gravel options that I enumerated above offer interesting environmental advantages when used in walkways and patios. Mentioning their affordable cost could make these options more thought-provoking. Though most of them require a high level of maintenance as compared to pavers and concretes, there remain some types that are so easy to maintain- decompose granites, for instance.
Remember that every material has a unique level of maintenance and installation that is unique from others. But generally, more costly materials like decomposed granites need less maintenance than cheaper materials like pea gravels.
4) Mexican Beach Pebbles
Gathered straight from the coasts of Baja California Peninsula, Mexican Beach pebbles make a beautiful landscape masterpiece. This type of gravel has captivated the hearts of thousands of landscape professionals all around the globe. The smoothness of its texture and homogeneousness of its size, not to mention its exceptionally- beautiful shape, are more than enough reasons to have them for a zen garden. Its color ranging from black to grey-blue, can make an incredible reflexology path too.
You can have Mexican Beach pebbles in walkways, tree edges, ponds, and fountains. Additionally, go ahead and place them around your swimming pool or anywhere you want. They are water-resistant. So, you can save yourself from all the worries of damages caused by the water.
In detail, Mexican Beach pebbles have a very smooth, enough to cover the ground. It is perfect for walkways, indoor and outdoor planters, driveways, ponds, and river beds as well. Lastly, it is popularly used in cobblestone in walkways or patios.
5) River Rock
Another worth-a-try option is river rock. This is composed of huge stones of varied sizes, shapes, and hues. Get amazed with a realistic creek bed through river rocks. Besides that, river rocks are perfect for paver patchwork, rocky roads, dapper dry scrapes, and mulch appeal. So, get ready to dress up your gardens and walkways with a beautiful pile of these rocks on them.
Like any other type, river rock has a set of pros and cons. Speaking of cons, allow me to enumerate one. This type of landscape rock requires a high level of maintenance. The heaviness of the river rocks makes it difficult to sustain. You need to keep an eye on the growing weeds just directly above them. Unlike the pea gravels, the river rock is more time-demanding as far as maintenance is concerned. So, save yourself from the nerve-wracking clean-ups by cleaning them often.
How to Select the Right Gravel Type for Your Project?
Choosing a gravel type primarily based on how it looks is a no-no. First, decide where you would like to use it. Before deciding to take a pick from the array of landscaping gravels, you must have already figured out how you would like your gravel to work for you and your beautiful space. As mentioned above, there are types of gravels that are less controllable and require high maintenance. Pea gravels are one of these.
On the other hand, there are other gravel types that a firmer and durable. These types are those that are usually less affordable but can give you the most comfort you can ever dream of a gravel patio. You can’t say no to the idea of rolling a wheelchair or a roller with no trace of difficulty across your patio, can you?
When you are thinking of using a combination of gravel types for your patio, make sure to make a clever decision. River rocks are less ideal if you look forward to achieving a paver that is so comfortable to pass on.
Different types of gravel incur a unique cost. Its cost depends solely on its size and availability in every region. Gravel types that can be collected easily in the locality have way much lower cost than those that are scarcely available. Be wise enough to choose local gravel types to stay on a budget. As much as possible, trim down the cost of your landscaping project. Generally, gravels are made available for sale by tons or by bags. Therefore, there is no way you can’t finish that small landscape project by the poolside.
3) Accommodate wheels
For driveways, be extra careful with your choice for a gravel. You are expecting regular wheel traffic; so, choose something that has a more compact base. You wouldn’t want your guests on wheels to be stuck on those gravels, would you? Consider the comfort of guests on wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers.
A wheel-friendly type of gravel like that of a decomposed granite can serve best this purpose. However, you can also opt for a drain rock or a crushed rock. This type can be locked perfectly in place. Install gravel in a way that its base is well-compacted with base rock and seamlessly compressed with fine stones in-between spaces. Choose well. That’s a rule of thumb.
4) Plans to combine
When you are planning to use gravel with cobblestones, here’s a bonus tip that could help you. First, choose a color that perfectly accentuates the pavers. Make sure that the texture and the size of the gravel you choose do not exaggerate them. Path fines and decomposed granites are worth-a-grab since they compact well. The fineness of these granite types leaves no noticeable traces of grains of sand underfoot those pavers.
On the contrary, large-sized gravels ensure solidity. Along with gravity, its weight enables these gravels to stay firm and steady. Here’s another thing, though. If you keep an eye on gravels at a size between one-eighth and three-eighths inches, pick crushed gravel over rounded pea. The former type is known to stay in place more firmly as compared to the other type.
5) Gravel tracking
Most of us (if not all) don’t feel like bringing those gravels on the hardwood floorings. If you share the same sentiment with me, there is a way to save those floors. How? A shoe test is here to the rescue. First, check the size of the tread by flipping over a shoe. Gravel that is smaller than or has a similar size with the shoe treads is easier to be lodged inside the house. So, choose a type of gravel that is bigger than the size of the shoe treads.
This provides enough reasons to opt for gravels that have large-sized particles. Unlike pea gravel and decomposed granite, including those that are less than half an inch in size, a half-inched gravel type like drain rocks and crushed rocks are not that easy to be carried into the floorings. Its size and gravity make it impossible to be tracked inside. With proper installation, crushed rocks are immovable. But with paver walkways, use a binding product to fasten the stones neatly.
Color is an important element in choosing the best gravel for a landscape project. Let’s say that you are working in a garden. To help you decide on what color to choose, look around your spot. Opt for a gravel color that compliments all the other landscape elements that you can see around your garden project. Be it the stone, wood, or the bricks.
You may add some warmth to your garden by using warm-toned gravels. The warm tone for gravels accentuates the beauty of those blooming purple flowers and the amazing greenery around.
On the contrary, a cool tone for gravels can put those pale flowers and bright green leaves on a beautiful high point. It provides contrast.
7) Preference for garden ground cover
If you wish to use gravel as your garden’s ground cover, make sure to check whether or not it has good drainage capability. Never choose a gravel type that compacts. Crushed rock, pea gravel, path fines, and decomposed granite are perfect for this job. It is so easy to crack a hole on these gravel types. As a bonus, all of them aren’t bristly-looking too.