Choosing the Right Gravel or Landscaping Rock for Your Next Yard Project

Choosing the Right Gravel or Landscaping Rock for Your Next Yard Project

Attractive outdoor spaces require more than lush greenery.  You also need a mix of hardscaping elements to add visual appeal and essential utility.  If you’re looking for ways to upgrade your yard for enhanced use and beauty, gravel and landscaping rock provide the ideal material for adding affordable patios, pathways, and planter beds, as well as increasing drainage, minimizing erosion, and more.  Here are just a few tips for choosing the perfect gravel or landscaping rock for your next exterior project.

Patios and Pathways

There are few easier ways to improve practical use of your yard than by adding pathways to traverse the space and patios for lounging.  While concrete is certainly functional, it’s not very nice to look at, but adding stone pavers may prove too pricy.

Gravel is the ideal alternative; with pricing you can afford and an aesthetic that elevates the appeal of your outdoor living spaces.  These areas are sure to get a lot of traffic, and you can avoid the “roll” factor by selecting angular crushed gravel.  However, if your family and friends spend a lot of time barefoot in the yard, a smooth option like decorative pea gravel may be more suitable.  Either way, you’ll want to choose a smaller size that’s easy to walk on.

Planter Beds

There are a couple of considerations when it comes to adding a layer of gravel to planter beds instead of mulch or ground cover plants, for example.  First, you need to consider the size of plant life you’re surrounding.  If you’re placing gravel around the base of trees or shrubs, a larger size is fine, but if you’re outfitting a smaller flower bed, choose a smaller gravel to match the stature of your flora.

You also need to be careful how much gravel you use.  If you want to minimize evaporation, you can’t spread it too thin, but if you pile it on too heavily, you could end up with slow drainage that leaves your plants thirsty.  Experienced professionals can help you gauge how much material you’ll need for your project and how densely it should be packed.


Regions that experience significant rainfall or runoff can have problems with pooling if a yard isn’t properly graded or doesn’t feature adequate drainage.  The right gravel or landscaping rock could help to alleviate such issues by helping to direct water away from your structures or landscaping and out to larger drainage channels (curbs or drainage ditches, for example).

By digging trenches to create gravel riverbeds, you could not only add an attractive visual element to your landscaping, but also funnel water away from your yard to avoid pooling and potential damage.  Choose coarse gravel for features that work like French drains, slowing saturation into the soil and directing water away.


Hills can add visual appeal to your yard, but they’re also a primary point of erosion that can take your landscaping along for the ride.  If you’re looking to slow erosion around trees and shrubbery on hillsides, consider adding chunky crushed rock to the slope.  It will dig in and resist rolling downhill, even in wet conditions, helping to slow erosion and preserve your landscaping.