With increased concerns over water conservation and chemical use in yards, many people are exploring lower maintenance options for their properties. Gravel and stone are smart alternatives to grass, especially where frequent drought and heat make turf grass impractical. But regardless of where you live, inorganic materials like river rock, pea gravel, and crushed granite can be a beautiful compliment to the rest of your landscaping—with a lot less effort.
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- Pass on Grass: 7 Reasons to Landscape with Gravel
Pass on Grass: 7 Reasons to Landscape with Gravel
Gravel Instead of Grass
Lava rock (also called scoria) is either red or black, and has a porous texture, which makes it stand out visually from other inorganic mulching materials. It’s lightweight in comparison to other gravels, so it’s easier to install. A popular choice for landscaping in desert areas, as it mimics the natural terrain, it’s also perfect for highlighting features like an island bed or walkway.
Most often found in gray tones, crushed granite also comes in earthy brown and tan shades like this. It’s budget and DIY friendly, so it’s a great choice for covering large areas like driveways, patios, and stone gardens. Crushed granite will add a rustic, natural look to any landscape.
Pea gravel has long been favored for its smooth texture and wonderful, natural color variation. At $35 – $55 a ton, it’s an affordable and attractive choice for almost any application: side yards, driveways, patios, walkways, and planting beds. And it can be mixed and matched with other landscaping features to add visual interest to any outdoor space.
The rich, natural, and varied color of river rock makes it a popular landscaping stone. Because it comes in a variety of river sizes and colors, it can be used in almost any style of planting bed and edging, or mixed with other materials in pathways and patios. For something off the beaten path, create a meandering dry stream bed like this one in your own backyard.
The unlimited versatility of slate chips makes them an increasingly popular landscaping option. They come in a variety of colors, including red, blue, purple, and gray and can be used in pathways, edging, or even driveways. They also make a great mulch to suppress the growth of weeds and unlike some organic mulches, it will not attract bugs.
If you're interested in more landscaping ideas, consider: