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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Using Rock and Gravel In the Garden

One of the more interesting materials to use in the garden is stone. It comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and forms from small landscape gravel to river stones and large stone pavers. Its uses in the garden are nearly endless. Gravel can be used for patios, pathways, and for mulch. Medium and larger stones can be used for edging or planters. Benches, fire pits, patios, and raised beds can all be made from stone of various sizes. Here are some examples of stone in the landscape.

In the following two pictures you can see the use of gravel as a pathway and as a mulch. When stones are used as a mulch they can collect heat during the day and release it at night which may enable you to cheat your Heat Zone a little, maybe even as much as one zone. In these two pictures I came up with the idea to highlight the yucca plants in mini-beds using the natural sandstone from the area. By segregating them into their own nifty little nooks they are blending well with the pathway and create a small point of interest. I think it's the 'Adam's Needle' Yucca.


In the background of this picture you can see where some paver stones were used to make walking along the pathway a little easier. A few more paver stones could be used to enhance usability.

Stone can be used to create great raised beds. If you have a lot of natural stone lying around, like my wife's parents do, you could easily make a raised bed vegetable garden. This photo was taken this winter when nothing is growing, but during the spring and summer months it is full of plants! With stone you can make your raised bed in any shape you want. There's granddaddy and grandma in the garden!



The next few pictures were sent to me by Skeeter. She lives in Georgia and has some great examples of stone in the landscape.

Here in this photo you can see a hosta bed framed by a stone edging and surrounded by a patio gravel material. The hostas soften the effect of the stone and add color to the area. If you have a shady area hostas are a must!



















They originally began with just the concrete patio but expanded it through pavers and gravel to create this fantastic patio area. A fire pit made from retaining wall blocks is in the foreground just perfect for an evening outdoors. What I like in this picture is the stepping stones embedded into the pea gravel. They lead your eyes down another pathway and add a contrasting color against the gravel.


Here is another perspective of the patio area. Skeeter used an old milk jug for a little bit of whimsy around the patio.



What patio would be complete without the grill!


Here is another use of stone as an edging material around the caladiums.




Here is one more look at Skeeter's patio area! Her use of varying types of stone created a perfect patio oasis for her family!





The first three pictures were taken at my wife's parent's house and the rest of them were taken by Skeeter in Georgia. Thank you Skeeter for letting me use them for this post!

9 comments :

  1. Shiver me timbers, is that an antique washing machine by the tree? Great pics from Skeeter. She has a great patio & room to expand.

    Good idea on the rocks, Dave. I used them a lot in N.C. Lined the whole driveway with river rocks, a fire pit, & also flower beds. Hauled them my self.

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  2. nice pictures-my faithful commenter does SUCH a good job landscaping. she really does.

    i love rock in the garden, but the small kinds tend to migrate to the lawns-yuck! had to get rid of all the rock paths here. still fighting with them!

    hi lola!

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  3. Dave, Stone, rock and gravel are all wonderful in the garden. I love the natural feeling I get from them, but I wish the prices around here were a bit more realistic. We pay through the nose for products to be brought from far away.

    Now if only I could find a few big boulders...

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  4. Dave,
    I love stone, it's a good thing, like your inlaws we have plenty.
    I took out all the monkey grass in my yard and use stones to line the beds; I like the natural quality. Stones are expensive especially if you want larger ones...Do you haul them from your in-laws to your garden?

    Gail

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  5. What a surprise to see my backyard through your eyes Dave! This area is in the middle of a natural rain water run-off so it was a challenge for me. Grass was out of the question due to the canopy of trees above. Could have just burn the money spent on going the grass route in the fire pit as it was a total waste. I came up with this gravel idea after pondering my dilemma for two years. It works great for drainage and the stepping stones keep the feet dry on soggy days to the patio, grill and shed… I now need to work on the area in front of this as it continues to be a soggy mess for me…

    Yes, Lola, that is an antique washing machine. Compliments of my parents. As a child I would help my grandmother wash clothes in the thing, and then we would hang them out on the line to dry. Nothing like the smell of wind dried clothes but oh those stiff jeans! Arggg… When mom and dad offered me the washer, I thought they had lost their minds. What am I going do with a Washing machine in the backyard? Use it for cold drink storage when we have cook-outs, and a plant holder other times! What a great idea, so she is mine. One of my little spots of whimsy in the garden! Our house was featured in a newspaper article and of course they snapped a picture of the washing machine. A woman called me the next day chewing me out for not donating it to the local museum! Maybe one day I will but for now, I like it where it sits. The squirrels don’t allow potted plants to sit on it anymore. So now a little owl statue rest on top…

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  6. What a beautiful spot! I could spend hours there. And your next BBQ is when? ;)

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  7. Thanks Nancy, come on down any time. The Welcome mat is always out!

    My hubby the Saint just lost Saint Status with me! We were checking out a new housing development near by. They had tons of unearthed rocks (border size) that will no doubt end up in a land field or someone else’s garden. He would not stop to let me pick any up and we were in the truck too! Argggg, he is on my poop list tonight!

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  8. I would keep the washing machine too. It has more meaning to you than in a museum. I wish I had the one my mother had. I've helped her many times to wash clothes. Did your mom ever boil her clothes?

    Yeh Dave, do you haul them from your in-laws? You are so lucky to have them at your disposal. There are so many things you can use rock for. Just let your imagination go.

    Skeeter, how do you keep all those rocks & that gravel so clean? It looks as though you just put it down. Mine always looked dirty.

    Hi Tina

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  9. Thanks for commenting everyone! I do haul a few at a time from their house to add to our landscape. Most of the good raised bed type rocks have already been claimed by them. It is their property after all! I can get some of the limestone ones and many of the smaller sized rocks.

    I wish I had a little more stone here in our yard to utilize. Most of is probably beneath the subsoil. But to think positively my ground is relatively easy to dig!

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