my Old Workshop

Gravel types and uses

Gravel, crushed stone, or aggregate – to use a few of the words for those little rocks – is a versatile material for a variety of projects. Here’s an idea.

Drainage. If you’re building a flagstone patio or walkway, or if you’re laying down a concrete driveway, adequate drainage is important to avoid problems such as heaving. A good compacted bed of gravel underneath the concrete or underneath the stonedust you’ll set your pavers in provides drainage and a “floating” bed for the surface material – particularly if the soil is clay. Half-inch to an inch gravel is fine here. The worse the drainage, the thicker the layer.

A gravel path or patio can be a nice organic touch in a garden. For a path, don’t use anything larger than 3/4″, and even that might be hard on your feet. Consider pea-gravel — smaller, rounded stones. It’s not as stable as more rugged crushed stone, and will roll and shift a bit, but it provides a “softer” feel – both aesthetically and on your tootsies.

Mixing concrete. Gravel is one of the four ingredients of concrete, the others being sand, water and cement. Depending on the use of the concrete, you’ll choose larger or smaller gravel. With larger stone, such as 3/4″, you’ll need less cement than you would with pea-gravel, because of the smaller surface area. But the smaller rocks will give you more strength.

Gravel – and other decorative materials – can also add highlights in gardens, around trees, or bordering paths. Have a look at what’s available, and choose the perfect accent for your situation.