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Five Types Of Gravel And What They Are Typically Used For

by Tara Pena

When you hear the word gravel, what do you typically think of? Large jagged chunks of rock? Pea gravel? Actually, if you ask enough people on the street, you might be surprised by the varying answers. Why is that? Probably because there are at least five types of gravel, and each type has a very different use. Here are five types and their typical uses, in case you have need of gravel in your yard or driveway very soon.

Riverbed Gravel

Riverbed gravel is rock that is harvested from riverbeds. This stuff is varying sizes, colors, and shapes, but what often attracts people to it is that it is a natural rally-sourced product that has been smoothed by running water over time. That makes every piece of gravel in this mix smooth, and cut-free. Oddly enough, people transplant riverbed gravel into backyard ponds and water gardens to make these areas look as natural as possible, but you could use riverbed gravel as a landscaping material as well.

Quarried and Crushed Gravel

Quarries are constantly digging down and pulling up tons of rock. Much of this rock is then crushed and sold as gravel. Sometimes it is comprised solely of limestone, and other times it may be granite, quartz, or a mix of any of the above. It often has jagged edges, which is due to the crushing process. Due to unique regional coloration, people are attracted to it as flowerbed material.

Super-Fine Gravel

Super-fine gravel is almost sand, given the very tiny bits of rock that make up this gravel mix. When you want a ground cover material under your children's swing set, but you do not want pea gravel or sand, you can use the super-fine gravel. Each bit of rock is between two and four millimeters in size.

Pea Gravel

Almost everyone is familiar with pea gravel. It is the stuff frequently used on children's school playgrounds. The particles are between five and seven millimeters in size, and each stone has been tumbled in a commercial rock tumbler so that it is smooth and not jagged. Most of it is gray in color, although you might find the occasional reddish stone or black stone. Pea gravel is also used as a substrate for concrete projects, such as that new concrete driveway you want.

Bank Gravel

This type of gravel is the stone that rolls down a bank into a stream or river. It is still rough stone as it has not had time to be smoothed by the nearest body of water. It is also mixed with bank dirt and clay. If you buy it wet, you can use it to pack down into forms to create walkways, which then dry into a hardened surface. If you use a concrete sealant over the bank gravel and clay, you get a very unique-looking walkway up to your house. This is generally a lot cheaper than installing a concrete walkway, such as the ones most of your neighbors have.

Many Other Types of Gravel, but the above Are Best for Homeowners' Needs

​Whilethere are many other types of gravel, the above options are best for homeowners' needs. The others are best suited for construction purposes. If you are interested in knowing more about the remaining types of gravel and what you might be able to use them for, talk to a stone and brick expert. He or she can describe these other types of gravel to you and how they might be used to "stone-scape" your yard. Many of the remaining types are not "bare foot friendly," but if you are not concerned about that, you can use them.

For more information, contact companies like Purdy Topsoil & Gravel.