The Garden Guide

Gravel aggregate and its use in design - review

Landscape and Garden Product Directory

'Gravel' describes a smaller grade of aggregate than 'cobbles'. Gravel may well be the oldest material for garden paths. And it remains (1) one of the finest (2) one of the cheapest. The advantages are as follows:

  • gravel has the beauty of natural stone and is closer to a matt surface than a reflective surface. It becomes beautifully fresh when it rains
  • gravel requires no energy to manufacture (compared with, for example, concrete which requires a heavy input of energy to make the cement and crush the stone)
  • gravel is easy to lay and easy to move, if required
  • gravel can often be sourced locally, giving the garden a sense of locality (granite in a granite district, flint in a chalk district)
  • gravel is permeable to rain and therefore contrubutes to Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS)

The two disadvantages of gravel can be managed:

  • weeds grow well in gravel: this problem can be diminished by putting a layer of geotextile beneath the gravel layer
  • non-interlocking gravels can be soft to walk on: this problem can be eliminated by placing stepping stones in the gravel surface

See also Sandstone Limestone Limestone

Flint gravel