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A Guide to Decorative Gravel

Published Monday 13th August 2018

Gravel can suit any setting. There are various types and it can be laid in very different ways. 


Self-binding gravels are fine textured and move differently to ordinary loose gravel. Clay particles are mixed with the gravel and they’re spread to roughly 50mm depth over a hardcore base. To compact it, they are then rolled with a heavy roller (whilst hosing water over the roller). The clay particles are brought to the top by the water and the top is sealed. A benefit is that you can ride bikes and wheelchairs over it. However, not everybody is a fan! 


There is a product on the market called Colas. This is used when trying to disguise tarmac or concrete. You spray Colas and then a thin layer of gravel is rolled in. This is then repeated. 1-3 layers are able to be applied. It has a similar appearance to loose gravel. However, it’s firm. The type of gravel and colour is down to you. If it gets heavy use, it will need redoing every few years. 


Another popular gravel option is resin bonded gravel. It cannot be moved and it stays looking perfect. This isn’t to everyone’s taste though as some prefer the more relaxed look. It’s also on the pricier side! 


Sand is also an option that is available in different colours. Fine sand is particularly good for children’s play areas and makes a good safety surface. For paths, coarser sands are sometimes used. 


Loose gravel is great. It’s very cheap and can look excellent. However, it cannot be used on slopes. If laid too deep, problems can arise. For a nicely raked look, drag a pallet over it with slightly protruding nails knocked into the bottom.