Choosing the Right Gravel for Your Driveway

Gravel is one of the most affordable materials for driveways, creating a durable surface that doesn’t require high maintenance. However, it is not as simple as just pouring down a top coat of gravel over a dirt base. For proper strength, drainage and durability, you need a combination of gravel types to build a solid gravel driveway that will last for years to come.

A quality gravel driveway should consist of at least three layers of gravel of different types. You need a base layer with larger stones, a middle layer with medium size rocks and a top layer with the small gravel. Using these three steps while tampering down each layer can create the durability and drainage you need. Here are the three gravel types that are often used for driveways:

  • Base layer. The bottom base layer should be #1 angular gravel with stones about four-inches in diameter, the size of a baseball. The angular gravel is not round, but crushed rock that works well for stabilizing driveways.
  • Middle layer. For the second layer, medium-sized angular #4 gravel should be used in a four-inch layer. This will bind with the bottom layer to create a solid foundation.
  • Top layer. For the last layer, small gravel about the size of a coin should be used in another four-inch coating. Typically, #57 gravel works well for this layer.

Choosing the right type and size of gravel for your driveway can make a big difference in how long it will last. Talk to your local landscape supplier that offers various sizes of gravel for more tips on building your new driveway.

Posted on behalf of:
Green Brothers Earth Works
680 Franklin Rd, SE
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 590-8220

Does Your Driveway Need New Gravel?

As winter approaches, it may be time to inspect your gravel driveway to ensure it’s ready for the wet months ahead. All driveways require some type of maintenance, and gravel driveways are no exception. Over the years, the gravel which makes up your driveway can shift or settle, causing potholes and ruts where water can collect. Now is the perfect time to add some gravel to patch those holes and uneven areas, and to make sure your driveway will be ready for the colder, wetter winter season. 

Repairing Your Gravel Driveway

If you have an existing gravel driveway which just needs a new crown or has a few holes which should be filled, you can do these repairs yourself. The first step is to inspect your driveway to determine what action is needed. During the inspection, ask yourself: 

  • Are there any potholes or ruts that need filling? How many, and what width and depth?
  • Does the entire surface need a new covering of gravel?
  • Does your driveway still crown in the middle? Gravel driveways should peak in the center to allow for drainage. 

Once you determine what needs to be fixed, make sure you take down the dimensions of your driveway, as well as the holes you will be filling. You will need to order gravel from your landscape supplier which you can either have delivered or haul yourself. For filling holes, larger gravel such as #57 will generally work. For the top layer, a smaller gravel like #21 is usually a good choice. 

After you have the gravel, start by filling in holes and ruts with your larger rocks. Then, cover these areas with the smaller gravel. Once you have added gravel to all areas that need enhancing, rake and spread the gravel level, with a peak at the center.

Posted on behalf of Find Local Landscape Supply

Does Your Gravel Driveway Need Maintenance?

The great thing about gravel driveways is that they are the most affordable type of driveway to install. Unfortunately, this low initial cost comes with a price tag: higher maintenance. Gravel driveways require the most work for homeowners, needing consistent upkeep to maintain a level, evenly covered surface. If your gravel driveway is beginning to look uneven, with potholes and areas of sparse gravel rock, it is time to do some maintenance. 

Regular Maintenance Needed For Gravel Driveways

Homeowners with gravel driveways should expect to spend time a few times a year on maintenance. This can be as simple as raking the driveway to even out the gravel rock. It can also involve adding more gravel and either renting equipment for compacting and leveling or hiring a contractor. Here are some of the maintenance items which should be attended regularly to keep your gravel driveway even and level: 

  • Rake, shovel and tamping. For small issues with gravel displacement, you can use a shovel to fill in small holes, then rake over the driveway to even the surface. You will want to tamp the gravel down as tightly as possible.
     
  • Drainage. Water is the gravel driveways natural enemy, washing away your small rocks. You need to have adequate gravel to create a higher surface than the surrounding land, so that water does not pool on your driveway.
     
  • Resurface. There will be times when you need to add more pea gravel to your driveway, basically resurfacing the entire area. You can rent a tractor, grader blade and other equipment to do it yourself or hire a contractor to come level and compact the new rock. 

You landscape supply or gravel outlet should have the gravel you will need to perform regular maintenance on your driveway. It may also be beneficial to keep extra gravel on hand to make small repairs and fills as needed throughout the year.

Posted on behalf of Find Local Landscape Supply

Pros And Cons Of Mulch And Gravel For Ground Cover

Both mulch and gravel are commonly used as ground cover in landscaping. Although one is not necessarily better than the other, there are distinct differences between the two. While mulch decomposes and must be constantly replaced, gravel will last for centuries without changing, making it seem like the best choice. However, there are pros to using mulch, just as there are cons to using gravel. 

Mulch Pros And Cons

Mulch is organic material, like bark, which is used to protect the soil as a ground cover. It’s readily available at almost any landscape supply store, and can be purchased in bags or in bulk. Many people prefer to use mulch for ground cover for a variety of reasons. Some of the pros and cons of mulch include: 

  • Pros. Mulch adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes, making it excellent for ground cover around trees and in garden areas. It also comes in a variety of colors and types, which can create a beautiful landscaping when it is first applied.
  • Cons. Because mulch decomposes, it must constantly be replenished. Also, mulch will lose its bright color and become dull after a few months in the elements. 

Gravel Pros And Cons

Gravel used as ground cover is usually the small, pea gravel variety. Often you will notice many commercial properties will use gravel in their landscaping for the longevity of the product. Some of the other pros and cons of gravel for ground cover: 

  • Pros. Gravel can last a lifetime with a little upkeep and maintenance. Also, landscape suppliers have a wide variety of colors and sizes that are excellent for aesthetic purposes.
  • Cons. While gravel lasts, it also will not enhance the nutrients of your soil, like mulch does as it decomposes. It is also more expensive for the initial application, although it may save money over mulch in the long run. 

Both mulch and gravel can protect your soil, add beauty to your landscape and deter weed growth. Talk to the experts at your local supply store to determine which material is best for your next landscape project.

Posted on behalf of Find Local Landscape Supply

Landscape Materials For Weed Control

There are several landscape materials which can help control the growth of weeds in your gardens and planting areas in your yard. Instead of trying to use chemicals to kill or inhibit the growth of weeds, landscape materials like fabric, mulch and gravel can stop weeds while offering other benefits. However, choosing the right material is important for the health of your plants, as well as for aesthetic appeal. 

Landscape Fabric

While landscape fabric is useful for keeping some weeds at bay, it is usually not used alone. This fabric can be put under soil, mulch or gravel to give additional protection from weeds. It also does not add any aesthetic value beyond keeping weed growth to a minimum. 

Tree Mulch

Mulch is great for gardens, trees, shrubs and planting areas. There are several varieties of tree mulch which offer protection from weed growth while adding an organic element to your planting soil and a naturally beautiful look. Tree mulch will breakdown over time, contributing the top soil in your planting areas. It also is perfect for retaining moisture in the ground, often used to protect tree roots and promote healthy growth. 

Gravel

Gravel can be used as mulch as well, controlling weed growth while adding aesthetically to your landscape design. However, gravel will not enhance the soil like organic mulches, so it is best used in areas other than gardens or planting areas. Gravel is great for pathways, rock gardens and driveways to keep weeds under control. 

If you are not sure which material will be best to control weeds in your landscaping, talk to your local landscape supplier. They can discuss which materials will work best to add beauty to your home while keeping those nasty weeds at bay. 

Posted on behalf of Clayton Hulen, Green Brothers Earth Works

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Adding A Beautiful Garden Path To Your Yard

A garden path can protect your lawn from being trampled while adding dimension and beauty to your yard. Armed with a shovel, rake, edging and some gravel, your landscaping professional can make a pretty garden path in relatively short order that will last for years. A quick conversation with a landscaper, and you can get started on your garden path right away. 

Designing Your Garden Path

Before you head to the store, you need to know how much gravel you will need for your pathway. Map out where your path will start and end, measuring for length. Most pathways should be at least 18 inches wide for a single-person walk. To determine how much area you will need to cover with gravel, multiply the total length by the width of the path. This will give you the area you need. 

Working with your landscaping professional, together you can choose the type of gravel you want to use for the project. Pea gravel is a common choice, and it is fairly inexpensive. You can also use 1/4” minus or decomposed granite as well. You will need enough gravel to cover your total area at least 3 inches deep. Through your landscaper, you’ll also need to purchase edging for your path to keep your gravel in place and possibly some landscape fabric to keep weeds at bay. 

To build your path, the landscaping professional will start by digging down about 3-6 inches for your path. Once complete, then he or she will place your landscape fabric and edging before filling the path with gravel. Last but not least, the gravel will be smoothed and shaped in order to complete your gravel garden path. In just a day, you’ll have a beautiful garden path that will improve your lawn and be used for many years to come!

Posted on behalf of Clayton Hulen, Green Brothers Earth Works

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Do You Know Your Choices In Gravel Types?

Gravel is used in a variety of landscaping and home improvements, from creating a beautiful patio to surfacing a driveway. Depending on what you are trying to achieve, there are going to be gravels that will better suit your needs. The size, aesthetics and price can all come into play when choosing the right gravel type for your project.

Pea Gravel

A great filler gravel for patios and walkways is pea gravel. This gravel comes in small round rock, like a pea, but can come in different sizes. They come in a variety of shades, like tan, gray or white and are fairly inexpensive.

Crushed Or Decomposed Granite Gravel

Both crushed and decomposed granite are great for patios and walkways, though each is a little different. Decomposed granite is a finer gravel and tends to give a rustic look, while crushed is a bigger variety, which gives more texture. Crushed is more expensive and can be harder to locate.

Limestone Gravel

If you want a white and clean looking driveway or walkway, limestone may be an excellent choice for your project. Limestone packs well for both, although it can be a bit dusty in dry conditions and leave white residue on your shoes in wet ones.

River Rock Gravel

River rocks can come in large rocks, great for creek beds and even retaining walls, or in smaller sized gravel. Depending on where it is obtained, it can come in many colors with smooth, round rocks. It’s great for pathways and edging landscaping.

There are so many different choices in gravel that can add both function and beauty to your project. Check with your local landscape supply store to find out which will best fit your needs and budget.

Posted on behalf of Clayton Hulen, Green Brothers Earth Works

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Using Quality Landscaping Materials

Using top quality materials for your landscaping projects can make all the difference between an amateur and professional result. Quality materials will transform the exterior of your home into somewhere that you want to spend as much of your time as possible and will leave friends and family impressed time and time again. Whether you want to update your existing landscape design or give your home a complete transformation, nothing will provide a greater impact than using  high quality stone, gravel, mulch and other landscaping materials to give a great design a great execution. 

Using quality stone and gravel for built up areas such as an outdoor kitchen, to edge a swimming pool or for steps can be visually stunning. Using  top quality for less obvious materials such as soil and mulch can provide you with benefits that go further than the visual effects. These kinds of materials are required to act as a kind of base or foundation for the rest of your landscaping work. Using only the best quality landscaping materials can help to prolong the life of your landcape features and keep everything looking great for years. Going for cheaper versions of these items may be appealing to your wallet at first but you will gradually need to replace things and using cheap, lesser quality materials will cost you in the long run. 

Researching types of landscapng materials that are going to work best in your home has never been easier thanks to the use of the Internet. Most landscape supply companies now have their own websites that not only show you what they have to offer but also provide tips and advice on designing and carrying out your own landscaping project.

Using Gravel For Beautiful Walkways

Walkways through yards often are an afterthought, but really they can tie the whole look of the landscape together. Using gravel is an inexpensive and versatile choice for walkways that can add beauty as well as function. Since gravel can be easily shaped into curves or straight lines, you have many different options when designing your walkways. 

There a few choices to be made before you buy your supplies. You will need to decide the width of your walkways, the design of the path and what type of gravel and edging you will be using. 

–          Width. In general, walkways are between 18” and 48,” going from a very narrow path to a 2-person abreast walkway. Depending on how functional you want your walkway to be and how large your yard is will help you determine the width. 

–          Design. For formal gardens or functional walkways, straight lines are usually used. Informal or casual gardens often lean towards curved paths that beckon guests to meander through the yard. 

–          Gravel and edging. Decorative gravel comes in many colors and types. A nice choice for walkways is a pea or deco pebble that is small and light colored. To keep the gravel in place you will need edging. For straight lines, wood or pavers can work well. For curved paths, shaped cobblestones or even cement curbing can be used. 

Adding gravel walkways through your yard is functionality at its best. The paths seem to bring the landscaping together and give it purpose, while keeping feet off your hard earned grass and plants. Also, by using gravel, you can easily change the design of your walkways in the future as your landscaping changes.

Choosing Between Gravel and Mulch

Gravel and mulch are two popular landscaping materials for covering bare ground, lining gardens and flower beds, and protecting plants.  Each has advantages and disadvantages, and the best one for you project depends on your needs and the look you are trying to achieve.

Mulch is chopped or ground up woody material such as pine bark or cypress while gravel consists of either small, naturally smooth pebbles or crushed rock.  Both gravel and mulch are available in a wide variety of sizes, colors and textures to achieve whatever look you desire.

Gravel and mulch are both excellent choices for ground cover.  They help control erosion, conserve moisture, inhibit weed growth, enhance the visual appeal of your landscaping, protect your shoes and clothes from mud and dirt, and help insulate the ground.

One of the primary advantages of mulch is that it decomposes and adds nutrients and increases the depth of the topsoil.  This makes mulch particularly suited for flowerbeds or any area where a rich layer of topsoil is important.

However, because it decomposes, Mulch often starts to look tired after six months and new mulch must be put down every year to replace the decomposed mulch.  After the first few years, the annual layer of mulch does not have to be as thick as the original layer.

If you do not want to have to mulch every year, gravel may be an excellent alternative.  Gravel does not decompose so it does not add to the topsoil, but it also does not have to be replaced every year.  Gravel has an almost indefinite lifespan and always looks grea