Gravel Basics: An Introduction to Types of Gravel for Your Landscaping Project

Types of Gravel

Gravel is a versatile and widely used material in construction, landscaping, and various other applications. It comes in a range of sizes, shapes, and colors, each with its own unique characteristics and uses. Here are some common types of gravel:

1. Crushed Stone

Crushed stone is a popular type of gravel that is mechanically crushed and broken into smaller fragments. It is available in various sizes, ranging from fine particles to larger stones. Crushed stone is commonly used in construction projects, such as road base, driveways, and drainage systems. It provides excellent compaction and stability.

2. Pea Gravel

Pea gravel consists of small, rounded stones that are roughly the size of peas. It is smooth and has a natural appearance. Pea gravel is commonly used in landscaping projects, such as pathways, flower beds, and around water features. It provides good drainage and is comfortable to walk on.

3. River Rock

River rock is naturally rounded stones that have been smoothed by water. They come in various sizes and colors, ranging from small pebbles to larger rocks. River rock is often used in decorative landscaping, such as creating dry creek beds, garden borders, or as a ground cover. It provides an aesthetically pleasing look and excellent drainage.

4. Decomposed Granite

Decomposed granite (DG) is finely crushed granite rock that has weathered and broken down into small particles. It has a sandy texture and is available in different colors, typically shades of brown, gray, or tan. DG is commonly used in pathways, patios, and as a ground cover. It compacts well and provides good drainage.

5. Coral or Shell Gravel

Coral or shell gravel is made from crushed seashells, coral, or other marine materials. It often has a light color and a distinctive appearance. Coral or shell gravel is commonly used in coastal landscaping, walkways, and driveways to create a beach-like or tropical aesthetic. It may require periodic replenishment due to the shells breaking down over time.

6. Limestone Gravel

Limestone gravel is made from crushed limestone, a sedimentary rock. It comes in various sizes and colors, including shades of gray, beige, and tan. Limestone gravel is commonly used in landscaping, driveways, and as a base material for construction projects. It is durable, provides good drainage, and compacts well.

7. Slag

Slag gravel is a byproduct of metal smelting processes, typically obtained from iron or steel production. It is angular in shape and ranges in color from dark gray to black. Slag gravel is used in road construction, driveways, and as a base material. It provides good drainage and is resistant to weathering.


Gravel offers a wide range of options to suit various needs and projects. Whether you’re looking for crushed stone for construction purposes, pea gravel for landscaping, river rock for decorative purposes, or decomposed granite for pathways, understanding the characteristics and uses of different gravel types will help you make informed decisions. Consider the specific requirements of your project, such as drainage, compaction, and aesthetic appeal, to select the most suitable gravel type for your needs.