Five Uses for Gravel in the Landscape

Gravel should be in your arsenal for landscaping strategies. This versatile material can serve many purposes in your yard.

1. Simple Pathways

Small walkways and garden paths prevent erosion and landscaping damage while also adding an attractive touch to the garden. Gravel can be used to make simple, low-effort paths. Just remove the sod along the desired walkway. Compact the remaining soil, add a shallow layer of sand and top it off with landscaping fabric. Add 2 to 3 inches of gravel and you will have a simple path to connect your garden sections.

2. Paving Foundations

If you are planning any paving projects using pavers or bricks, you need a strong foundation so that the ground doesn't shift and damage the paving. Gravel is ideal for this base material because it is stable but it still allows moisture to drain through it. Generally, a 6-inch layer of gravel is put down and compacted to create a base. This is then covered with sand to level it so that the pavers can be seated well.

3. Mulching

Gravel mulch is used primarily in unplanted areas of the landscape, or in areas where you have plants like yucca or cacti, which prefer drier soils. Unlike organic mulches like wood chips, gravel won't decompose and require replacement. It also drains exceedingly well. Gravel mulch should only be installed over landscaping fabric or plastic. This barrier is required so the gravel doesn't work its way into the soil.

4. Drainage Improvement

Poor drainage in the landscaping can be a major problem. One way to solve the issue is to install perforated drain pipes in the ground beneath poorly drained areas. These pipes are placed into a bed of gravel and then covered in soil. The moisture percolates through the gravel and into the pipes. The excess moisture is then routed away from the area and dumped out in a storm drain or similar location that won't negatively impact the landscaping.

5. Landscaping Accents

Gravel works well for adding an attractive accent to the landscaping. Dry creek beds, for example, add visual interest as well as drainage in times of heavy rains. These are usually lined with plastic then topped with decorative gravel. Gravel can also be used to give a more natural look to molded plastic ponds and water features.

Contact a gravel delivery service if you are ready to add some gravel into your landscaping plans.