Choosing the right gravel for different types of landscaping projects

Despite its rough and tumble appearance and origin, gravel is one of the most versatile landscaping materials out there. Not only is is it affordable and durable; gravel comes in all kinds of colors and sizes, and can be used for gardens, flower beds, drainage projects, pathways, patios, and much more. Gravel is also a highly effective substrate for managing runoff and erosion.

The Gravel Match Game

With so many choices of gravel available, what’s an excited DIYer to do to prepare for their latest landscape adventure? Stone types, colors, sizes, and textures are all elements to consider but the best way to start is to determine what your project is all about and what you need to bring it all together.

  • How will you use the gravel? Decide where you want to use gravel and its purpose. Do you want to have a walkable surface with a material such as pea gravel, or something more stable? Flagstone patios, for example, blend well with crushed granite or river rock.
  • Determine your budget. Gravel cost varies widely by type, size, and availability. Locally sourced material will always be cheaper and whatever type you choose will be sold in bags or in bulk (cubic yards or cubic tons). In addition, gravel common to your region naturally connects your project to the surrounding area.
  • Are you mixing gravel with pavers? If you are installing a flagstone patio, choose a gravel that complements the stone and is made of a texture that will keep it in place. You don’t want chunks of gravel constantly working their way up onto the flagstone for uncomfortable walking and consistent messes. Decomposed granite’s compaction properties make a great choice, or larger gravel that naturally stays in place.
  • Color is another big consideration. Select a gravel that goes well with other elements of your landscape. For example, use lighter tones to brighten a yard or cooler tints to make flowers stand out.

The Final Product

Whether you choose pea gravel, crushed rock, decomposed granite and path fines, drainage rock, or other type; gravel is a go-to choice for flower garden borders, path filler around stepping stones, walkway surfaces, rock garden backgrounds with big boulders, and many other applications.

Take some time to get a visual feel of the many ways to incorporate gravel into your outdoor world, and then get your work gloves ready!

For more information on selecting the ideal gravel type for your landscaping projects, contact the experts at Tigard Sand and Gravel at (503) 692-1800 or