Buying the Perfect Gravel
Buying the right gravel for your project is the difference between your garden being a sideshow or a show-stopper.
Here are the 5 most important things to consider when buying gravel for your garden.
Gravel is a massively underrated product. Gone are the days when people used to throw any old gravel at a driveway and call it a day.
Nowadays, gravel comes in a variety of different options. This is hugely important because the colour, size, style and texture you choose has an effect on the overall aesthetic of your garden. It can be the difference between it being nice or visually stunning.
Whether you want to create a path or driveway, add touches of gravel around the edge of a patio, or design a particular style of garden with gravelled bedding and planters, we’ve put together a guide on buying the perfect gravel for your garden.
1. Position is Key
Where is your gravel going?
Ever walked up a path and felt like you’re walking on razor blades? Or maybe you’ve noticed someone’s tyre treads full of stones? Chances are they don’t have the right gravel.
When it comes to driveways, angular chippings are perfect as they ‘bed together’ to form a flatter surface. Seabed golden gravel is a popular choice. It also looks stunning set against the backdrop of a rural country house or cottage.
Or, if you really want to make a statement, black ice chippings are a particular favourite for modern property owners.
Your driveway gravel will usually need to be between 14-20mm in size. Any smaller and they’ll get caught in your tyre treads/shoes – and no one wants to be tracking tiny bits of gravel throughout their house.
When it comes to paths, similar principles apply.
Angular gravel is generally considered to be the best for walking on. The ideal size? Anything between 10-20mm. Any smaller and it can roll underfoot, get stuck in shoes, or make it difficult to navigate prams, wheelchairs or dustbins.
One of the most sought-after gravels for pathways is the Flamingo. It’s the ideal size, and its warm tones brighten and compliment any property style.
Alternatively, intersperse gravel between traditional stepping stones or modern porcelain paving to provide both stability and an eye-catching look.
2. Made to Last
Durability and longevity are key for high traffic areas
Longevity must be a factor when buying the perfect gravel for your garden. The best gravel should be made from the most durable materials. Granites, basalts, quartz’ and flints are extremely hard-wearing, making them an ideal choice for high traffic areas. For example, sunset red gravel is a mixture of marble and basalt stones and is considered perfect for driveways.
Alternatively, if you need a durable gravel for a pathway, it’s hard to beat this red granite gravel.
Being one of the hardest substances in the world, you can guarantee that a granite stone driveway will endure even the heaviest of traffic.
If footfall or vehicle traffic won’t be a problem and you’re simply looking for gravel to spruce up planters or bedded areas, most good gravels and chippings will last you a lifetime.
3. Set the Mood
Colours do way more than just please the eye
When it comes to buying the perfect gravel for your garden, colour plays a huge part in that.
The colour of your gravel can define particular areas or sections of your garden, highlight a certain plant/shrub, or simply complement the style of your property.
The age or style of your home also has an impact on colour selection. A polar white gravel looks stunning against a modern, new build, whereas cotswold gravel enhances both modern and traditional properties.
You can also mix and match gravels of different colours to create more clearly defined spaces.
For a truly solid all-rounder, blue slate chippings are a top pick. They can enhance the character of a period property / cottage, or provide the finishing touch to a modern home.
Likewise, if it’s a high traffic area, this could also have an impact on your colour selection. Darker colours are better able to hide dirt and mud, so it may be worth factoring that in if you’re choosing gravel for a path which will be walked on regularly.
4. Size Matters
Large or small? Size makes a difference
When it comes to gravel, it really does.
We’ve already touched on the practicalities of having the correct sized gravel when laying a driveway or path (10-20mm for paths, 14-20mm for driveways), but the size of your gravel can also serve another purpose.
A popular trend is to mix and match gravel sizes in individual areas of the garden. Using different sizes and colours can be an unspoken way of defining boundaries.
Using gravel of different sizes and colours can indicate which areas are decorative and which are for walking on. Likewise, buying the perfect gravel for your garden can include using larger and smaller sized gravel in separate areas. Doing this can break up the space and add interest. Placing larger chippings – like 30 - 50mm graphite grey slate chippings – can pack a real visual punch.
On the other hand, smaller gravel like an earthy corn flint (when combined with a weed membrane / fabric underlayer) can be highly decorative and help prevent weed growth.
5. The Finishing Touch
Different textures can enhance and elevate your space
You definitely don’t want to have too many textures or colours when landscaping your garden, but mixing a few different looks and feels can inject life into any space.
Contrasting decking with an onyx gravel can lift your decked space. Or, if you have a water feature or pond, green slate chippings are a perfect complement, and will naturally change their look and feel when wet or dry.
Don’t forget too that, when colours and textures differ, you can really define a space and give it that luxury, ‘designer’ feel. Scattering gravel between larger pathway slabs can add variation whilst also unifying the space.
We hope this has shed some light on what gravel to use for your own project.