Using Gravel Gardens to Create a Peaceful Space in Your Yard

In the fast-paced world we live in today, finding tranquility in our own homes has become increasingly important. One effective way to create a peaceful retreat in your yard is by incorporating a gravel garden. Gravel gardens, which have their roots in the Zen gardens of Japan, offer a minimalist, low-maintenance, and aesthetically pleasing solution to traditional landscaping. In this blog post by Kilgore Landscape Center, we'll explore the benefits of decorative landscaping rock in gravel gardens, how to design one, and the best practices for maintaining this serene space in your Utah home.

Benefits of Gravel Gardens

1. Low Maintenance

One of the most significant advantages of gravel gardens is their low maintenance. Unlike traditional lawns or flower beds that require regular watering, mowing, and fertilizing, gravel gardens are relatively self-sufficient. Once established, they need minimal upkeep, which is perfect for busy homeowners or those looking to reduce their water usage.

2. Drought Resistance

Utah’s climate can be challenging for maintaining lush green lawns due to its arid conditions and water restrictions. Gravel gardens are an excellent alternative as they are highly drought-resistant. They require little to no watering, making them an eco-friendly choice that conserves precious water resources.

3. Weed Control

Gravel acts as a natural weed suppressant. When combined with a weed barrier fabric underneath, it significantly reduces the growth of unwanted plants, saving you time and effort in weeding your garden.

4. Versatility and Aesthetic Appeal

Gravel comes in various colors, sizes, and textures, allowing you to create a unique and visually appealing garden. You can combine different types of gravel to achieve the desired look, whether it's a modern minimalist design or a more natural, rustic appearance.

5. Improved Drainage

Gravel improves drainage in your garden, preventing waterlogging and soil erosion. This is particularly beneficial in areas with heavy rainfall or poor soil drainage.

Designing Your Gravel Garden

Creating a gravel garden with decorative landscaping rock requires thoughtful planning and design. Here are some steps to help you design a peaceful gravel garden in your yard:

1. Assess Your Space

Begin by evaluating the area where you want to create your gravel garden. Consider factors such as the size of the space, sunlight exposure, and existing landscape features. This will help you determine the layout and design elements of your garden.

2. Choose the Right Gravel

Selecting the right type of gravel is crucial for the overall look and functionality of your garden. Some popular options include:

- Pea Gravel: Small, rounded stones that are comfortable to walk on and ideal for pathways and seating areas.

- Crushed Stone: Larger, angular stones that provide excellent drainage and stability for driveways and walkways.

- River Rock: Smooth, larger stones that add a natural and rustic touch to the garden.

- Decomposed Granite: A fine gravel that compacts well and is perfect for creating a firm, stable surface.

3. Plan the Layout

Sketch out a rough plan of your gravel garden. Consider incorporating various elements such as pathways, seating areas, and plant beds. Use curves and organic shapes to create a natural flow and avoid straight lines for a more relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. Decorative landscaping rock can add dimension and color to your layout.

4. Prepare the Ground

Proper ground preparation is essential for a successful gravel garden. Follow these steps:

- Clear the Area: Remove any existing grass, weeds, or debris from the area.

- Level the Ground: Ensure the ground is level to provide a stable base for the gravel.

- Install a Weed Barrier: Lay down a high-quality weed barrier fabric to prevent weed growth.

- Add a Base Layer: Spread a layer of crushed stone or gravel as a base layer to improve drainage and stability.

5. Lay the Gravel

Once the ground is prepared, it’s time to lay the gravel. Spread the gravel evenly over the prepared area, ensuring a consistent depth. Aim for a depth of at least 2-3 inches for pathways and seating areas, and slightly deeper for plant beds.

6. Incorporate Plants and Decorative Elements

To enhance the visual appeal and tranquility of your gravel garden, incorporate a variety of plants and decorative elements. Choose drought-tolerant and low-maintenance plants that thrive in Utah’s climate. Some excellent choices include:

- Succulents: Such as agave, yucca, and sedum, which require minimal water and add unique textures to the garden.

- Perennials: Like lavender, sage, and ornamental grasses, which provide color and interest throughout the year.

- Shrubs: Such as juniper and rosemary, which offer structure and greenery.

Additionally, consider adding decorative elements such as:

- Water Features: A small fountain or pond can add a soothing sound and enhance the peaceful atmosphere.

- Boulders and Rocks: Strategically placed large rocks or boulders can serve as focal points and add a natural element to the garden.

- Garden Ornaments: Items like lanterns, sculptures, or birdbaths can add a personal touch and create a serene ambiance.

Maintaining Your Gravel Garden

While gravel gardens are low maintenance, they do require some care to keep them looking their best. Here are some tips for maintaining your gravel garden:

1. Regular Raking

Rake the gravel regularly to remove debris, leaves, and twigs. This will help maintain a clean and tidy appearance.

2. Weed Control

Although gravel gardens are resistant to weeds, occasional weeds may still appear. Remove them by hand or use a natural weed killer to keep the garden weed-free.

3. Replenish Gravel

Over time, gravel may settle or become compacted. Add more gravel as needed to maintain the desired depth and appearance.

4. Plant Care

While the plants in your gravel garden are low maintenance, they still require some care. Water them during extended dry periods and prune them as needed to maintain their shape and health.

5. Check Drainage

Periodically check the drainage in your gravel garden to ensure there are no waterlogged areas. Adjust the gravel or base layer if necessary to improve drainage.


Creating a gravel garden is an excellent way to transform your yard into a peaceful and low-maintenance retreat. With careful planning, decorative landscape rock, and thoughtful design, you can enjoy a beautiful and serene space that enhances your home and provides a sanctuary from the stresses of daily life. Whether you’re looking to reduce water usage, minimize maintenance, or simply create a unique and tranquil outdoor space, a gravel garden is a perfect choice for your Utah home. At Kilgore Landscape Center, we offer a wide range of landscaping products and services to help you bring your gravel garden vision to life. Contact us today to get started on creating your peaceful outdoor haven.