Decorative stone gravel is often used to make gardens and hardscapes stand out. Gravel is a natural drain, so it is one of the best ways to water plants with an all natural medium. At the same time, gravel keeps weeds from springing up, so it is a key element in low maintenance garden and landscape designs. Certain ground covers also hold position much better when they are grown in gravel, and virtually any plant looks enhanced when it is surrounded by a gravel bed of some kind.
Ground cover is very important in garden design. It adds dimension and color the garden so that the stereotypical flower bed look can be avoided. It is also important to the health and growth of many ground cover species. The natural drainage it provides helps maintain plant vitality, and its aesthetic covering works to conceal mechanical drains and irrigation systems that sometimes have to be built, but also concealed, with certain garden designs.
Most decorative stone gravel used in gardening is actually river rock. Its smooth surface makes it ideal for letting water flow around it. It also looks both natural and decorative. Smaller river rock is called pea gravel.
It creates distinction and accent wherever it is placed, and it is a key element in French, Italian, English, and Japanese gardens. Pea gravel helps trees, shrubs, and ornamental plants stand out when it is placed around their borders. When it is laid out in geometric patterns, it creates borders and defines zones of interest.
In gardens where hardscapes are integrated into softscapes, decorative stone gravel is used to help divide hardscape clearly from softscape. This is done to prevent plants from growing over stepping stones, brick pathways, and the edges of patios. This also maintains an aesthetic of clean lines, sharp angles, and ordered symmetry that distinguishes a professionally designed garden from a random planting of decorative plants.
When constructing pathways that lead into and out of gardens, we frequently use crushed decorative stone gravel to lay down the foundation of the path. Crushed gravel has sharp edges that grind and interlock together to some degree, so it makes a good solid surface for a small narrow pathway leading through the shrubs and trees. It also can be used as a foundation for stepping stone walkways that provide an even firmer surface on which to walk.
Pea gravel is also an ingredient that is used in certain decorative concrete hardscapes. When mixed with any kind of concrete, it creates an aggregate that is highly distinctive, but also comfortable to stand, sit or walk on. The stones are too small to create an uncomfortable top surface, yet they are large enough to remain clearly visible after the concrete dries.
Such aggregate forms are commonly used to build patios, walkways, and courtyard floors in a variety of Houston landscaping design styles. Many times too, decorative stone gravel is used in driveway design to generate an aesthetic that compliments the home in the front yard while simultaneously introducing themes that are continued throughout the hardscape and garden designs used throughout the property.