Set In Stones: The Pros And Cons Of Choosing Decorative Gravel For Your New Garden Path

Posted on: 24 August 2018

A permanent pathway winding its way through your garden isn't just a handy way to get from A to B. When well designed and constructed, ideally by a professional landscaping service, a garden path can also be an attractive ornamental feature in its own right, especially if it is made from inherently attractive materials.

Garden paths can be made from a wide variety of beautiful materials, from natural stone slabs to red house bricks, but nothing gives you the unique look and feel of a garden path made from decorative gravel. Gravel paths can be both beautiful and highly practical, and gravel has a number of advantages over other potential paving materials; however, there are also some disadvantages to choosing gravel over more solid path-building materials, so if you are considering having a gravel path constructed in your garden, be sure to bear these pros and cons in mind.

What are the advantages of choosing decorative gravel for your new garden path?


Decorative gravel is a very economical choice for most garden paths, and even high-end decorative gravels made from basalt, slate chippings or coloured stones are generally much cheaper than flagstones, bricks or decorative concrete slabs. This makes gravel a particularly practical choice if you have a large garden that requires a long path or if you intend to create a winding path that requires significantly more paving material than a straight one.

Quick to install

Gravel paths can be installed very quickly by any landscaping company worth its salt; they can be dug out, lined with a suitable membrane and filled with the gravel of your choice in a matter of hours. Since you do not have to wait for poured concrete to cure or mortar to harden, your path can also be used almost immediately once it has been laid.

Excellent drainage

Many garden paths made with solid materials have problems with standing water, which can pose a slipping hazard and may require the separate (and expensive) installation of trench drains. Gravel paths allow rainwater to permeate through their surfaces easily and provide excellent traction in the wettest weather.

Easily renewed

All garden paths wear out with time and use, and repairing a worn-down concrete or flagstone path can be expensive and time consuming, as whole sections need to be replaced. By contrast, simply adding a new layer of gravel to an aging gravel path will make it appear brand new, and the path will not require any significant repairs for as long as its base membrane remains intact.

What are the disadvantages of choosing decorative gravel for your new garden path?

Weed problems

Gravel paths may allow water to pass freely between their individual stones, but these gaps also provide space for weeds to grow. As such, you may have to apply weedkilling sprays every so often to prevent your gravel path from becoming overgrown and untidy.

Gravel shifting

The individual pebbles of a gravel path also have a tendency to wander without some kind of barrier keeping them in place, especially in windy locales. If you want your garden path to remain neat for any significant period of time, you will probably have to have your landscapers install edging along the sides of the path to keep the gravel in place.