If you’ve got leftover gravel from a previous project or if you’re just tired of looking at the same yard everyday, there are a couple ways you can incorporate gravel and river rock into your landscape design. With different sizes, types, and colors of gravel, your options are broad. When you get down to what you want to do, your selection of gravel and river rock becomes more specific.
The two most common and most practical uses for gravel and river rock are for walkways and drainage solutions.
How many yards have you seen with rock walkways? They vary from being made up entirely of tiny rocks to having tiny rocks between pavers or flagstone. Those rocks come in many different options, like pea gravel, river rock, or decomposed granite. Each looks different from the other and each have different attributes.
Before you rush out and get crushed granite, ask yourself if anyone is frequently barefoot outside. Angular gravel and decomposed granite are not the smoothest nor the most comfortable options for your bare foot to touch. For walkways, we recommend you stick with pea gravel or river rock, for their smooth texture and comfort under your feet. Choose a smaller rock size for your walkway and whichever color your heart desires.
Drainage & Erosion Control
How often do we talk about dry creek beds? Every chance we get. In Georgia, there’s no time to wonder if you need one. With our frequent rain, you’re not deciding if you need a creek bed– you’re deciding where you need one. The most common stone to use for this purpose is river rock, but unlike the walkway, you’re going to want to make sure these stones are closer to the size of a tennis ball.
You can also use river rock and pea gravel for stone gardens and mulch replacements. Again, sticking with a size larger than the walkway, you’ll want stones larger than ¼” but less than ½” in diameter as a mulch replacement and about 1 ½” in diameter for a rock garden. The benefits of using gravel instead of mulch is that the wind can’t blow it away, and it helps prevent evaporation in your soil. Rocks can help keep your plants alive and happy.
If potted plants are part of your landscaping design, you can even put river rock in the bottom of the flower pot to create a drainage foundation.
Gravel and river rock sound more complicated than they are. Once you pick your hardscape, the stone picks you. Check out the images below for a guide to each type of stone mentioned above.
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Standard Pea Gravel
Ideal for mulch replacements and fillers between stepping stones.
Bulk River Rock
Ideal for water features and dry creek beds.
Ideal for walkways, driveways, and layer underneath a fire pit.
Large River Gravel
Ideal for a mulch substitute.
Medium River Rock
Ideal for mulch substitute.