The Best Type of Rock Gravel for Landscaping

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Smooth, rounded river rocks offer a comfortable walking surface on bare feet.

When you think of landscaping, you may think of freshly cut grass and a few flowers and trees planted here and there. If you're looking to upgrade or improve your yard, though, figuring out the best type of rock gravel for landscaping can take your yard to the next level.

Different Types of Decomposed Granite

Decomposed granite, also known as DG, is a natural byproduct of the weathering and erosion of solid granite rocks. DG is popular because it's like gravel but a bit finer. It's a combination of both smaller granite pieces and fine granite. DG is popular with homeowners because not only does it come in a variety of colors but it's pretty inexpensive as well.

Depending on the type of project you're about to start, there are three types of DG you may choose: natural or loose decomposed granite, stabilized decomposed granite and resin-coated decomposed granite.

Natural or Loose Decomposed Granite

Natural or loose decomposed granite is the least expensive type of DG, but that doesn't mean it's not comparable to its counterparts. Natural DG can be used for mulching, garden paths and many other areas. Since natural DG doesn't have any additives, you can use it as a nonorganic mulch because it weathers over time.

If you spread natural DG around trees or other plants in your yard, as it weathers, it will provide nutrients to your soil and plants. Since it's porous, natural DG handles water very well and provides impressive drainage wherever it's placed.

Stabilized Decomposed Granite

Stabilized decomposed granite may cost more than natural DG, but stabilized DG is a perfect choice if you want a more durable gravel option. Although stabilized DG may look like natural DG when compacted, it's less susceptible to erosion since it has a stabilizer. The stabilizer is mixed in with granite aggregates, and that serves as a binder in the DG. If you're looking to create a pathway or an entire patio from DG, stabilized DG will require less maintenance and will last longer than loose DG.

Decomposed Granite With Resin

If you want to use DG to build a driveway or pavement, decomposed granite with resin or poly pavement is the most durable option out of the three. To create this type of DG, the natural resin is mixed in with decomposed granite aggregates, creating a material that looks like asphalt. Compared to asphalt, DG with resin will look more natural and will give your landscape a rustic look. Since decomposed granite with resin is super durable, you don't have to worry about your driveway or pavement wearing down or eroding.

Pea Gravel Option

If you don't want to use DG, you can use pea gravel. Pea gravel gets its name because it looks like a pea and is known for its smooth texture. It's super functional, and if you wish to use smaller gravel for landscaping, pea gravel size ranges from about 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch.

Pea gravel comes in various colors and shades, and homeowners love this gravel because you can use it in many places. You can cover your entire driveway with pea gravel or use it as a weed barrier. If you use pea gravel as a weed barrier, don't put it directly onto your soil. Instead, layer landscaping fabric on the soil first, secure it to the ground and then place the pea gravel on top. Laying landscaping fabric first ensures that weeds and plants don't grow through the gravel.

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Allanah Dykes is a freelance writer and her work has been featured on Elite Daily, Levo League, Popsugar, Complex, Gurl, The Kitchn, HelloGiggles, Revelist, and Food 52.

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