With so many different colors and sizes of gravel available in the landscaping world today, you may be wondering just what all of that gravel can be used for. And with spring on its way, there’s no better time than now to read up on the many uses it has in landscaping. Here are some of the most common ways gravel can be used to adorn your lawn space.
Between Stepping Stones
A stepping stone walkway is a great way to add an inviting natural element to any yard, and gravel can add stability and beauty to that walkway while preventing unsightly mud puddles from forming around the stepping stones. Creating a stepping stone walkway is one of the easiest landscaping projects you can do at home: Start with a clean area in your yard that has been swept free of rocks, leaves, and debris. Then lay the individual stones where you will want them—a good rule of thumb is to place them about a foot apart from one another. Then use a small shovel to “trace” around each stone, marking the area of dirt that each stone will sit on so that you can remove a thin layer of sod from this outline to set the stones down into properly. Finish by filling in the spaces between these stepping stones with gravel. Pea gravel is especially popular for this step because the individual stones are only about 1/4 inch in diameter, making the gravel a great filler. Some will follow up this step by lining the walkway with a material to keep the gravel from entering into the yard, be it bricks, wooden planks, or flexible metal or plastic edging.
As a side note, gravel is also often used on its own in garden walkways.
A tradition borrowed from Japan, Zen gardens are rock gardens featuring an enclosed space filled with sand or gravel, showcasing larger rocks of unique shapes. The sand or gravel is representative of the sea, while the larger rocks represent the natural earth and rock formations that typically jut out of open water. Zen gardens are trademarked by their lack of living plants. What goes into Zen garden upkeep, then? Raking the sand or gravel creates movement, allowing it to better resemble the moving waters of the sea. The sand or gravel can even be raked into intricate patterns. Zen gardens are meant to be a peaceful place for meditation.
Did you know that there are many plants that can thrive in a gravel garden? Gravel gardens are popular for their minimal upkeep. Plants that do well in gravel gardens generally thrive in warm conditions and relatively drained soil, some examples being irises, lavender, wormwood, and succulents. Gravel gardens work especially well in climates that often face drought.