The use of gravel in garden design has been a popular choice for decades, but as garden landscaping becomes more contemporary, the various uses for gravel increases. Gravel and other decorative aggregates are now used for many more purposes other than as pathways or for other high traffic areas in your outdoor space.
These decorative aggregates are extremely affordable and incredibly versatile – not to mention aesthetically pleasing, too – all of which is what makes them so popular. If you’re thinking about investing in gravel or another type of aggregate for your garden, read on to discover how they can used within your space, to help you create a truly fantastic garden landscape.
What decorative aggregates are available?
There are many different variations of decorative aggregates, each of which serve the primary purpose of boosting your garden’s style and appearance. Deciding between the different types of decorative aggregates available simply boils down to which variety takes your fancy. There are numerous types of decorative aggregates available, however the vast majority consist of:
- Glass chippings
This is, by no means, an exhaustive list, but it provides an overview on the types of decorative aggregates available. Many of these materials also have different options available within them, from the size of each of the stones to the colours available, too.
How to use decorative aggregates within your garden landscaping
Now that you know which types of materials can be used as decorative aggregates, how exactly can you use them within your own landscaping project?
As part of a pathway
Gravel and other aggregates make great components for a pathway through your garden. Not only do they look fantastic as they stretch across the space, they also help with water drainage and make a fantastic sound through the peaceful silence when you walk across them. What’s more, if you choose to create a pathway that bends and curves around the space, you’ll find it much easier to develop with the use of aggregates, compared to flagstones and other types of paving materials.
Paired with paving stones
Another way to use gravel and other decorative aggregates is by pairing them with sturdy paving stones. If you’re creating a pathway with paving stones in a variety of shapes and sizes, these aggregates can help to fill in the gaps between the blocks, to create a fuller and more complete appearance.
Top Tip: Make sure the gravel or aggregate you invest in works well with the paving stones you’re laying down. A well thought out garden landscaping project will avoid any clashes in colour or style to maintain consistency throughout the space.
Create an unusual patio
The majority of homeowners would choose to create a pathway with gravel, and a patio with sturdy stones. However, for a more unique touch to your garden landscape, why not try mixing things up and creating features the other way around?
Some landscapers choose to create a patio using these decorative aggregates, especially when a paved pathway is already in place. Gravel creates a nice texture underfoot when used as the main patio material, as well as working well for water drainage, too.
Top Tip: For a contemporary patio style, opt for darker coloured gravel, whereas for a more traditional feel, warmer tones are best used in the space. This is particularly important when using gravel for a patio, as you’re utilising the material in such a large space.
Add to flower beds
Similarly to how you would use bark as a flower bed surface, gravel and other aggregates can be used in the exact same way. An inch of these decorative aggregates across your flower beds can create a lovely finishing touch to these areas in your garden, all whilst helping to prevent water from evaporating too quickly and weeds from coming up in amongst the plants.
Incorporate into water features
Whether you’re creating a base at the bottom of a fountain or pond, or lining the sides of the space, decorative aggregates can come especially in handy if you’re planning to install a water feature into your garden. Gravel is a popular choice when it comes to using an aggregate with water features, not only because it drains water well, but because it creates a fantastic contrast to nearby plants when the water splashes against it.
Use to surround an allotment or vegetable patch
When you’re looking to grow your own, you need the space to be as practical as possible, all whilst looking attractive too. Larger gravel stones make the perfect material to scatter around the sides of an allotment or vegetable patch, or underneath raised beds where you might be growing some nutritious goods.
As we’ve mentioned before, gravel is extremely permeable, which means that any water you use around your allotment will be quickly soaked up through the gravel and into the soil underneath, ready for your fruit and vegetables to make good use of. Not only that, the larger stones are very easy to navigate a wheelbarrow across, which will make the grow your own project a lot easier and much more accessible.
Surround a fiery focal point
These days, garden layouts designed for entertaining purposes will no doubt have a fire pit incorporated into the space. Fire pits make a fantastic focal point within the garden, as well as helping to keep guests warm as the evening draws in and the temperatures drop a little.
Surround your fire pit with a decorative aggregate, to not only enhance its attractive appearance but to keep the space as safe as possible too. Fire pits are known to emit the odd spark here and there, which will land safely on a good scattering of gravel that surrounds the pit.
Top Tip: For a stone fire pit, invest in a decorative aggregate that complements it rather than contrasts with it. For metal fire pits, you’ll find that the majority of aggregates work perfectly well as its surrounding.
There are so many ways to make use of gravel or another type of decorative aggregate in your garden landscaping project. Here, we’ve mentioned some of the popular ways to use these materials within an outdoor space, but if you have any unique ideas of your own, please do share them with us.