What Makes Gravel Washed?

What Makes Gravel Washed?

There are many applications for which gravel is suitable, ranging from public and commercial use, to adorning residential properties.  In some cases, coarse gravel is preferred.  For example, chunky, heavy-duty gravel is better for roads or long driveways where the surface must remain intact under the pressure of passing cars and the traction of spinning tires.

Then there are cases in which a both function and visual appeal are desirable, such as when gravel is used to complement landscaping as part of planter beds, walkways and patios, property drainage systems, or cosmetic upgrades.  In such instances, washed gravel is the preferred material.  What is washed gravel and what types are available?

What is Washed Gravel?

While regular gravel has a rough texture that works perfectly for heavy-duty applications, washed gravel provides a more pleasing visual aesthetic thanks to smoother, rounded surfaces that look as though they have been “washed”, or tumbled and weathered by the motion of water.  This is not only preferable for patios and walkways, as it feels nicer underfoot, but it also offers a more attractive aesthetic for landscaping and hardscaping projects.  While any type of gravel could provide a functional and affordable alternative to other hardscaping materials, washed gravel is a particularly popular choice for both practical and cosmetic applications.

Pea Gravel

This attractive and functional material is the smallest form of washed gravel, with rocks typically measuring under half an inch in diameter.  It can be used in a variety of ways, such as filling in patios or walkways or providing surfacing around a firepit, in a dog run, or under a children’s play area, for example.

Because of the small size, it’s also an excellent addition to pathways that feature larger rock stepping stones or pavers.  You can even use pea gravel in the home if you have extra.  It’s a common addition to aquariums.

River Rocks

These smooth stones are considerably larger than pea gravel, with sizes generally ranging from about 1-2 inches in diameter.  This size of rock offers greater visibility in your landscaping, which is why it is frequently used for borders, accents, and cosmetic applications like creating a faux river bed, for example.  It also offers greater drainage, and works well in French drains and planter beds.

As a homeowner, you may use gravel in a number of different capacities around your property, but it’s important to choose the right type of material for the job.  If both practical and aesthetic concerns are an issue, different sizes of washed gravel can provide for all of your needs.