Gravel Basics

Gravel is a staple of landscaping here in Austin, Texas.  You should learn a few of the basics for using gravel.


Rock N Dirt Yard GravelGravel refers to rocks ranging in size from ⅛ inch to 1½ inches. It comes in two forms: Manmade crushed rock has sharp, irregular edges; nature-made river rock (also known as natural pebbles) is rounded.

Choose the right type

Visit your local landscape supply yard to experience the look and feel of different types of gravel. Consider how it will be used.

For high-traffic areas, such as paths and patios, use manmade crushed rock. Because the pieces bind together well, they create a more stable surface for walking. The most common size is ⅜ inch, an all-purpose gravel that’s also good as a mulch around plantings. For a softer surface under bare feet, use ¼-inch or finer natural pebbles.

For low-traffic areas, river rock is an attractive choice. Its larger, smoother pieces are less stable underfoot than crushed rock, but they have more presence.

Lay the groundwork

Although many references suggest excavating 6 to 8 inches for a gravel path and layering crushed rock, sand, and then gravel, most designers don’t use this method. They say the smaller pieces inevitably workGravel_Road_Texas their way up, spoiling the clean look of the gravel. Landscape fabric also tends to show up at the surface. Instead, lay a 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of gravel directly on bare, weed-free soil that’s been compacted with a tamper or roller.

Keep it tidy

Rake gravel regularly to remove leaves and other debris. Use a rake with round wire tines.

Posted in Gravel, rocks
6 Comments » for Gravel Basics
  1. Greg Reed says:

    So I’m looking for prices. I’m doing a retaining wall and need material. Need around 100 yrds. Need gravel for around the drain pipes, then fill, then top soil. Thank you

    • Rocks says:

      Hi Greg,
      We would love to help you with your project. Please give us a call at 512-461-7607 and we can discuss your retaining wall project in detail to see what you need and how we can save you some money.

      Thanks a bunch,

  2. andy bruchey says:

    Hi, We’re looking to do an expansion of our driveway and a walkway around the house with pea gravel. Do you guys sell it? Do you deliver as well? (78749)



  3. As I’m exploring the options for my new pathways, I’m thinking that river rock may be the way to go because I won’t run too much traffic over it, and it will look really good. I’ll make sure to lay it on a bed of flattened, debris free soil, and I can have my sons dig the path. Now I know to keep it tidy too, thanks for the article!

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