What washed gravel is and why you should use it

What washed gravel is and why you should use it

Gravel is gravel, right? Just a collection of small, irregular rocks? Is there really a difference? Consider “regular “gravel versus washed gravel. Is the latter simply gravel left cleaner after a rainstorm or afternoon spray from a garden hose?

The rough and tumble gravel you see on country roads is used for extended, heavy use, large landscaping projects, and other construction efforts. Washed gravel, however, more closely resembles river rock and its shiny appearance is popular in home landscapes, planter gardens, and decorative drainage projects. Let’s look at some common types of washed gravel and how they fit in outdoor landscaping:

River rock

The most popular variety of washed gravel, river rock is a home landscaping go-to for its colorful good looks, mix-and-match sizes, and easy installation. River rock is an excellent choice for creating dry riverbeds, pathways, and flower garden base layers.

Drain rock

Available in inch-and-a-half sizes as well as smaller varieties and true to its name, drain rock is often used for all manner of drainage systems, French drains, and other large landscaping projects. Smaller drain rock is great for everyday gardening jobs.

Pea gravel

Pea gravel is the smallest gravel type and also very popular for home use. It typically comes in roughly a 3/8” size and an array of colors. This small and versatile rock works well for everything from playground bases to fire pit foundations to aquarium layers.

What’s so great about using washed gravel?

Washed gravel is the most widely used gravel type for good reason. After the raw product is crushed and sized, a special machine gives it a thorough scrubbing to remove all traces of dust and debris. From there, the benefits are many:

  • Affordable

Washed gravel is a very affordable option compared to other gravel types and its versatility makes it the perfect choice for a variety of projects.

  • Maintenance made easy

A layer of washed gravel on a backyard path or garden delivers great looks with virtually zero maintenance. If you see a low spot, simply spread on a little more and it’s easy to rake into place too.

  • Weeds be gone

Even concrete and asphalt are no match for determined weeds. A layer of landscape cloth covered with washed gravel seals out weeds and any that do creep up are easily managed.

  • Drainage solved

Water loves to filter through things and washed gravel provides the perfect environment for rainwater to naturally flow, reducing the risk of puddling and oversaturation.