Gravel is one of the most versatile landscaping materials around, with plenty of different uses and applications. When you start looking into using it, however, you might be surprised at how many types are available.
Far from being a simple task, choosing the right gravel can be confusing and difficult, and getting it wrong can mean it doesn't do what you want it to. Once you've determined how you want to use gravel in your garden landscaping, you can narrow down your choices and get the right one. Here are some of the things you might use it for, and what to look for in a suitable gravel.
Gravel footpaths can look very attractive in a garden, providing a slightly more natural look than paving stones. They can also improve your security by making a sound when people walk on them, which will alert you to intruders.
When you're choosing gravel for a path, look for one that has fairly small stones. The larger types of gravel can be uncomfortable to walk on, so they're best avoided. Another way to improve comfort underfoot is to avoid rounded stones, opting instead for more rough-cut gravel, though nothing too sharp.
Lining a pond
Using gravel to line a pond makes it look more like a natural, wild feature, and you can use it around the edge as well. You'll still need a pond liner to keep the water in, however.
Don't use sharp gravel that could damage your pond liner. Rounded stones are better, and they look more like natural river stones, adding to the effect. A mix of large and small stones gives fish places to forage if you have them in your pond. It's also pleasing to the eye when combined with water.
Using as mulch
Applying mulch to the ground around plants causes water to evaporate more slowly, keeping it in the soil where the roots can make use of it. It also helps to suppress weed growth, which means less maintenance for you.
Pea gravel, as you may have guessed from its name, consists of small, rounded stones. It's popular for use as a mulch due to its size and appearance. Whichever gravel you use, make sure it doesn't contain overly porous stones that will absorb too much water.
Improving drainage in pots
Putting some gravel into a pot before you fill it with soil for planting helps reduce the chance of waterlogging, improving drainage for picky plants.
The main thing to consider here is that the stones need to be big enough that they won't fall through or block the pot's drainage holes, but still small enough that you can fit plenty of gravel in a single layer. As they're out of sight, though, the appearance won't matter to your garden's appearance.
For more information, contact local landscaping supplies professionals.