Best Ideas for Gravel and Rock Landscaping
Gravel rocks are a central material in so called “dry” gardens, that has been very popular since ancient times. Gravel rocks were widely used in England and Japanese gardens along with fine architectural forms and small conifers. Let’s see how to landscape with rocks and gravel?
Gravel and Rocks in Landscaping: Pros and Cons
Today, gravel rocks within “dry” landscaping styles are also very popular because of a number of distinct advantages, such as:
- Ecological friendly material (it doesn’t affect nearby soil and plants, safe for a human).
- High decorative properties.
- Perfect compatibility with plants and other garden structures.
- Able to hide shady garden sections, where lawn and flowers can’t normally grow.
- Ideal for hot climate or for damp places within a garden.
- Resistance to harsh environmental conditions.
- Growth-inhibiting power for weed.
- Gravel is a perfect aerator for clayey soil.
In landscaping with gravel and rocks, one should bear in mind also some disadvantages, such as:
- Difficult to install (heavyweight – learn how to move large rocks for landscaping).
- Difficult to remove since it is installed.
- Difficult to take care of (namely, to take away litter, leaves, dead plants – find out effective ways of killing unnecessary grass).
- Can be washed away during heavy rain.
- Some gravel types can have sharp sides that make it difficult to maintain a structure (flowerbed, rockery, path).
Gravel rocks can be of different shapes, sizes and colors. What concerns size, one can find a gravel dust, small gravel (8 mm in diameter) to big fraction gravel (75 mm). The shape from round stones to stones with sharp sides or flaky thin gravel. Gravel represents in a great variety of colors: all hues of sandy, yellow, green, blue, black, red, purple and white, gray, brown. The color of a gravel depends on its mineral composition.
Gravel equally matches well with huge boulders and wood, glass and metal, moss and concrete, which gives gravel the ability to create unusual and surprising compositions
Gravel rocks don’t enter in any chemical reactions with soil or plant residues. Besides, it retains warmth inside the soil and give the warmth back to the plants at night, protect the soil against erosion, washing-out and weed, stabilize the process of evaporation, protect roots of heat exhaustion.
Be careful! Do not use gravel with sharp sides for decorating paths. It also can be a problem during lawn moving
As for environmental activity, though, gravel rock is steadfast to rain, snow, frost and sun heat, it doesn’t need annual maintenance. In the course of time, gravel rock can slightly crumble and break, so, it needs periodic renewal.
Using as mulch, gravel rock of large fraction can be a perfect companion for adult trees, bushes and well-grown solitaire plants. Gravel rock of smaller fraction will do with perennial herbs, flowers and shrubs. For example, it will be a perfect composition of barberry, saxifrage, primula and euphorbia above red or black gravel rock in form of rockery.
For What Type of Garden Gravel Rocks Are Suitable?
Gravel is a perfect material for “dry” landscaping, for example, Japanese stone gardens. Usually, the center of such garden is gravel yard that represents water surface with a great number of parallel lines and concentric circles.
Recommendation: if you are not a fan of Japanese garden style or have a garden in other style or just have finely cut lawn, you can use gravel for making paths, mulching floor in arbour or pergola, or just make a parking lot for your car near a house.
Rock Gravel Landscaping: Ideas
If you live in mild or hot climate, you can use the following idea: use yellow or golden gravel to imitate desert. Here, you can plant cactuses or other succulents. Also, you can create a sea shore and imitate sea from blue and green gravel.
“Gravel garden”. To make such a garden one need a relatively huge area (from 2 to 5 hundreds square meters). Cover the entire future gravel garden with landscape fabric and with gravel of pastel color on it (gray, yellow, sandy, white). Place flat granite stones to make a path in any direction you need. On sandy gravel you can use gray granite or vice versa. Such garden will be incomplete without plants. Pay attention on: cover-ground phlox, stonecrop, goatsbeard, thyme. Also, plant different low-growing shrubs: prairie weed, feather fern, trailing mahonia.
Make crosswise holes in it and dig holes according to the size of root system. Add some fertile soil and fertilizers of prolonged effect. The layer of gravel is 5 cm. Wash it with water before placing.
Placing gravel is a very hard activity in terms of efforts, because gravel is relatively heavy. It is recommended to place gravel on landscaping fabric, though, it is not necessary.
Below you can see photos of some ideas. Maybe it can help you to create project of your garden (design ideas for your yard).
How to Take Care?
Gravel rocks landscaping don’t need some special maintenance or polishing throughout a year. It should be washed with weak stream of water without any special chemicals. Take away litter, weeds and leaves. Add some rocks if some of them were washed out.
Learn how to clean rocks properly?
To calculate the number of gravel rocks for a rockery one should consider the design of a flowerbed. Usually, a layer should be no more, than 5 cm (approximately 5-7 kilos on one square meter).
Gravel rock is a perfect material to decorate your garden: it is steadfast, doesn’t need annual maintenance, relatively cheap but heavyweight. The color of a rock can be a nice complement to flowers and other plants. Use this nice material to make your garden unique.
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