Drain rock: what it is and the best uses
Rock—it’s been here since the beginning and makes up a large percentage of the foundation on which we live. Earth’s natural rock evolved into dozens of shapes, sizes and materials and humans have leveraged its tremendous versatility and strength for everything from ancient stone walls to landscaping projects large and small.
One specific type of rock that is especially useful is drain rock. True to its name, drain rock’s main purpose in life is to effectively manage water flow in different drain applications. Drain rock’s porous personality makes it the ideal material to leverage water’s natural inclination to filter efficiently instead of accumulating in puddles or cause other oversaturation issues.
Drain rock is nothing if not versatile, available in rough and raggedy form or smooth and stately. It typically comes in sizes from inch-and-a-half down to pea gravel, with a range of colors as well, including choices like gray-blue, black, dark red, orange, and speckled.
How does it work?
Strategically installed, drain rock is invaluable in managing the flow of water or redirecting it in all manner of construction or landscaping scenarios. Some examples include:
Drain rock is often used as a base layer underneath concrete or asphalt driveways, sidewalks, or similar routes of passage. The reason for this is drain rock is incredibly efficient at collecting and filtering rapid flows of water from impermeable surfaces. In comparison, typical topsoil absorbs rain slowly and too much moisture at once can cause flooding. Drain rock averts this risk from saturated soil.
French drains are popular landscape approaches that leverage a perforated pipe laid into a trench. The trench is then filled with drain rock that expertly filters water into the pipe for its next directional voyage. French drains are highly effective in water management during building construction.
Gardening is a very popular hobby, pastime, and even profession for many people but erosion is a gardener’s arch nemesis. Heavy rains can wash away critical soil layers and endanger plant growth or kill recently rooted flora. To avoid this calamity, drain rock can be applied as a mulch layer that is wildly effective at preventing erosion, while simultaneously acting as a weed barrier.
The right size drain rock can make an ideal backyard pathway and best of all, it’s easy to create any shape path as the small rock is easy to spread and apply to any landscape area. Smaller rock with rounded edges is even comfortable to walk on.