At first glance, gravel is just gravel, and that is about as much thought as most people put into it. But if you are planning a landscaping project, you may have already realized that gravel can be more complicated than you think. There are many different types of gravels, ranging in both size and material, and they can have a dramatic impact on both the practical and aesthetic success of your landscaping. These are four common uses for gravel in construction, along with which types of gravel would be most appropriate for each project.
Driveways need to be able to stand up to the weight of daily traffic while still providing traction for car tires. This is typically achieved by applying several layers of gravel, starting with baseball-sized, loose gravel at the bottom and gradually decreasing in size towards the surface. The final layer of gravel should be angular instead of rounded, allowing the rock chips to compact under a tire. Materials such as crushed asphalt, dolomite, limestone and basic road gravel are all popular choices.
Walkways don't need to withstand the pressures of a driveway and can focus more on appearance. Choose fine-grained gravels that provide good support underfoot, typically containing no larger than 1/4-inch diameter pieces. Crushed or decomposed granite is an appealing material for paths with its faded red color. Stay away from larger pea gravel varieties when possible; although it is very common and affordable, it is also hard to walk in and gets tracked everywhere.
The edges of your landscaping features hold everything in place and provide a visual transition to your lawn, driveway or a sidewalk. These edges do not necessarily need to be gravel, but many homeowners prefer it for its easy maintenance and simple installation. Since edges are rarely walked upon, you can choose just about any type of gravel for this landscaping. Large river rocks are a solid option, since they are sturdy enough to hold back dirt, plants or other types of gravel while still drawing attention on their own.
Finally, for more eye-catching projects, you might consider less conventional forms of gravel and aggregate. Crushed glass, for example, can be mixed into aggregate to form a smooth, vibrant and reflective driveway or walking path that poses no threat to feet or tires. Colorful gravels like quartzite or lava rock provide brilliant white and red hues, respectively, and a mix of beach or river pebbles can protect your garden from weeds while still looking attractive during winter. By picking your gravels wisely, you can guarantee that your landscaping project will remain both beautiful and durable for years.
For more information, contact a company like McNabb Construction Ltd.