Using Gravel to Beautify a Garden

Utilizing gravel in a garden landscape can produce multiple benefits. It can create pathways, adorn flowering perennials or annuals, and reduce maintenance when added as a weed and grass barrier. Readily available and easy to install, gravel is a good choice to bring interest to a garden.

When considering pea gravel for a garden, the gardener will find a wide range of choices. Gravel is available in many shapes and sizes, and a large variety of colors and natural tones. Medium sized white gravel can create pristine and inviting walkways, while soft hued green or rose pastels can provide nice edgings and contrast for shrubs and flowers. A birdbath or water fountain can be enhanced by the addition of natural river rock, while a bed of gravel can draw the eye to a garden’s point of interest.

It can be purchased through a variety of sources including gravel pits, landscaping retailers, and at some home improvement centers. Landscaping gravel is marketed under several names; pea gravel, stone aggregate, decorative gravel, all designate gravel used for landscaping. With its many forms and sizes, gravel is suited for a wide variety of applications.

Determining how the gravel will be applied in the garden can help in the decision process of what type of gravel to purchase. What is used for walkways, or areas of frequent access, should be medium in size, with a rounded shape. Gravel that is too large is difficult to walk on, while gravel that is too small will not remain in place, resulting in bare spots. When using gravel to enhance or border a flower bed the stones can be larger, and a mixture of large and small stones will add interest to the area. That which is not suited for steep or sloping areas, especially when used as a walkway.

Prior to laying the pea gravel driveway, the ground should be prepared by removing the topmost layer of soil and covering the exposed ground with a weed barrier. The weed barrier will help prevent weeds and grass from growing through the gravel. Once the ground is prepared, the gravel can be poured and leveled with a metal rake or shovel. When creating walkways, installing a firm border edging will help keep the gravel in place.

While it is not suitable for all landscaping projects, it can be used in many unique ways throughout a garden. When used in different focal points of the garden, it can act as a connecting point and bring the garden together. Whatever application the gardener chooses for gravel, it is sure to add variety and interest while reducing maintenance.

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