Advantages of Decorative Gravel in Gardening and Sustainable Landscaping

Decorative gravels used in attractive landscape design

Landscapers and gardeners have taken advantage of the use of decorative gravels and rock in landscape designs and gardens for years because of its flexibility and simple maintenance requirements. 

More and more people are showing concern regarding water conservation as well as the use of chemicals in their yards and gardens. Landscaping gravel can be a smart replacement for grass, especially where lawn care is unsafe or where drought or extreme temperatures make natural turf impractical.

In this article, we examine the benefits of decorative gravels and how they can be utilized to enhance and bring out the best in your garden or landscape.

Functionality and Versatility of Landscaping Gravel

When most people think of gravels their mind will typically go first to ordinary crushed rock such as they see in parking lots or on gravel roads. Or for others, they think first of using mulch, so gravel is just not something they really consider for their gardens. Nevertheless, decorative garden stones can be an adaptable and appealing part of your design, with a variety of choices in a nice assortment of colors and sizes available. You can choose from such popular landscaping gravel types as river rock, pea gravel, white gravel, or even cobblestones for larger applications such as small dry creek beds and water features.

Gravels provide opportunities for fascinating design combinations of patterns and styles which can be used to effectively complement your flowers and plants. They work well as ground cover, in raised beds, or to create nice borders for a natural look and feel. And in addition, the use of gravel gives landscape designers some really interesting options for mixing up both texture and color. 

Easy Installation and Maintenance

One of the more appreciated benefits of decorative garden rock is the ease with which it can be put down and the very limited upkeep needed for it. The area where the rock will be installed only requires approximately 5 centimeters to be excavated beforehand. And if you install a semi-permeable weed fabric barrier you won’t need to worry about weeds growing up through your rocks. So your graveled areas will have plenty of longevity and should require little to no maintenance for years.

Impervious to Extreme Weather Conditions and Temperatures

Use of decorative gravel displayed in a Mediterranean style gardenAnother advantage decorative gravel offers homeowners is its viability in extreme heat or cold, as well as in either dry or extremely wet conditions. It is also superb for hiding areas of soil that are resistant to plant growth. And it provides an ideal setting for the use of Mediterranean-style plants which tend to require good drainage. 

So if you live in a wet, high rainfall area, or if erosion is an issue, gravel makes sense for your ground cover since it presents exceptional drainage efficiency. Larger amounts of water can safely be leeched away to keep your flowers and plants from drowning during periods of heavy rains. And proper use of gravel can also help control erosion.

And one more practical purpose for gravel ground cover around plants is that it can sometimes act as a replacement for mulch, in that it can also help retain moisture. And an added benefit here is that rock will not easily wash away in heavy rain as mulch can, particularly on hillsides.

Choose Different Colored Rock for Style and Efficiency

Artistic use of white landscaping gravel displayed in a gardenYou can select single or similarly colored rock for some areas while mixing colors in other spaces. For example, some people like to combine rich browns, beige, and white stone for an nice color texture in their residential landscaping. Or, you can go with all cool colors such as grays and whites, or mix in some blue and purple for an interesting look that may more easily stand out or pop in your neighborhood. Another direction is to choose much darker colors if you need more variation or distinctiveness for accents or fillers.

Whatever your need, you can choose from a wide variety of stones, textures, and colors to satisfy your taste in style. Just keep in mind while planning your design that the darker colors will absorb and retain more heat. And likewise, your lighter colors will tend to give you a cooler ambient space. Either of these options may be helpful in planning a more eco-friendly sustainable landscape project.

Economical and Affordable

So when you’re looking for landscape materials that are more cost-efficient, you may want to consider using decorative stone. It’s inexpensive and budget-friendly, making it a favorite for expansive areas where plant growth is sparse or on hills where lawn upkeep is problematic.

Southwest Stone Supply offers a large selection of decorative aggregates and all kinds of natural stone for landscape construction to help you bring life to your residential or commercial landscape design. 


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