Understanding Your Decorative Rock Options

26 March 2019
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

While most people may immediately think of flowers and other green, leafy things when it comes to landscaping, rock is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to beautify your home's lawn. Various types of rock can be used for a huge number of landscaping projects, from walkways to rock gardens to fountain beds. Even better, there's almost an endless array of styles that can be combined to express your own creative vision for your home. Rock features also have the advantage of being low or zero maintenance, saving you both money and time on upkeep in the future. Unfortunately, the array of options can be dizzying, so it pays to understand the varieties of rock available for your landscaping needs.

Pebbles vs Gravel

For walkways, fountain beds, rock gardens, and other areas where smaller stones work best, choosing a type of pebble or gravel is usually the way to go. In general, gravel refers to crushed rock while pebbles are small stones that are usually smooth and relatively round. Depending on the type of gravel purchased, you can usually expect an irregular and sometimes jagged appearance. Often, gravel is used as the base for other surfaces, although it can be used as a decorative element as well. Like other types of stone, gravel can usually be purchased in varying sizes according to your needs.

There isn't a technical definition for "pebble," but usually this refers to smaller stones that are naturally formed and less jagged than gravel. Pea pebbles (confusingly referred to as "pea gravel" in some cases) are one very common type, so named because their size is usually pretty similar to a pea. Pea pebbles can be used for basically any fill purpose, and they work well to cover walkways as well. They are also large enough that they won't generally get trapped on the bottom of shoes and tracked inside. River rocks are similar to pea pebbles, but they are larger and thus more suitable for edging purposes or other areas that require larger stones.

Stepping Stones

There's no rule that says your paths have to be limited to simple fill. If you want to add some variety to a stone walkway, flagstones are a great way to go. Flagstones are large, generally thin decorative rocks that come in an almost infinite array of shapes and sizes. Flagstones may be cut to regular shapes or they may be rougher and more natural in appearance. Depending on your goals, flagstones can be used to make a walkway in its entirety, or they can be placed on top of other fill rock with large gaps in between. Regardless of how you choose to use them, flagstones can liven up just about any walkway or patio.

Going Bigger

If you're looking for something bigger and more dramatic than fill rock, boulders are the way to go. Large rocks are available in a variety of sizes, from relatively small to towering and huge. Very large boulders can work well as a centerpiece for a rock garden or even a central focus of your lawn's entire landscaping. The one downside to these huge rocks is that they are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to move on your own. This means that it is important to have a clear idea of your goals when having them delivered so that you can avoid the expense of moving them in the future.

Contact a decorative rock supplier to learn more.