Try any of these foolproof path-and-patio combinations to achieve an integrated look in your landscape
Gravel is versatile in design and reasonably priced per square foot. Available in a wide variety of colors, textures and sizes, gravel works well on pathways and patios in gardens ranging from classic to contemporary. For inspiration for your next garden project, we’ve selected 10 combinations of gravel paired with other hardscape materials that really hit the mark in the landscape. Take a look and let us know if you have a combination that works particularly well in your own garden.
Gravel 1: Huettl Landscape Architecture, original photo on Houzz
1. Granite cobblestones. Crushed limestone paths edged with granite cobblestones have a classic, sophisticated feel. To tie this look together even more, use the cobbles in other areas of the landscape, such as the driveway or as landing pads outside doorways.
2. Wood and fieldstone. Gravel has a lighter visual appearance and is easier to install than many other hardscape materials, such as poured concrete or mortared stone. Here, warm-colored crushed gravel, combined with redwood stair treads and edged with fieldstone, forms an understated, naturalistic pathway up a meadow slope.
Gravel 2: Samuel H. Williamson Associates, original photo on Houzz
Tip: To prevent gravel from “rolling” underfoot, fill steps with a few inches of compacted base rock to create a firm base before topping with 1 to 1½ inches of gravel.
3. Steel. Here, a pathway of crushed gravel edged with steel leads a visitor through lush planting borders to an open lawn. The dark color and nearly invisible edging bring all attention to the pastel planting beds of foxglove, geranium and sage for a romantic cottage garden.
4. Flagstone. Irregular flagstones with gravel is a classic pairing for pathways and patios. Here, warm-toned gravel and flagstones combine with the wrought iron gate and colorful low-water plants in the borders to give this informal outdoor dining area a Mediterranean look.
Gravel 3: debora carl landscape design, original photo on Houzz
Tip: To cut down on the amount of gravel that travels up on the pavers, install the gravel on a layer of compacted base rock, keeping the flagstones just above the gravel level. Also, look for types of crushed gravel with jagged edges — they’re better at locking in place than gravels made up of round stones.
5. Corrugated metal. Dark gravel paired with corrugated metal — either steel or aluminum — looks edgy and modern. Surrounding raised beds with gravel cuts down on maintenance by suppressing weeds and preventing walkways from getting muddy.
Gravel 4: Valle de Verde, original photo on Houzz
6. Colorful concrete pavers. Gravels made of mixed stone often come with a wide variety of subtle colors within a given mix. Here, the designer made use of a chunky, multicolored three-quarters-inch gravel mix to pick up the colors of other hardscape materials for an integrated look. The warm stones in the gravel mix relate to the warm decomposed granite patio surrounding the fire pit, while the other stones echo the colors of the precast concrete pavers of light gray, off-white and pale mauve.
7. High-contrast stone. Pairing a light gravel with dark pavers — or vice versa — creates a dramatic statement in the landscape. This combination can work particularly well in contemporary landscapes with minimalistic planting arrangements.
Gravel 5: D-CRAIN Design and Construction, original photo on Houzz
8. Cor-Ten Steel. For an industrial-chic look, pair Cor-Ten steel with warm- or cool-toned gravel. Here, the Cor-Ten both defines the planting beds and forms the steps up the slope. The warm red-brown patina of the steel complements the silvery tones of agave, common sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri) and ‘Silver Falls’ dichondra (Dichondra argentea ‘Silver Falls’) spilling over the edges.
9. Monochromatic stone. Warm-toned gravel and sandy-colored cut stone work well together to form the base of a classic Mediterranean-style courtyard. A simple terra-cotta birdbath and terra-cotta pots filled with billowing ornamental grasses complete the design.
Gravel 6: Zeterre Landscape Architecture, original photo on Houzz
10. Brick and stone. Pea gravel has long been a material of choice for garden pathways, and it complements traditional building materials such as brick and stone.
Tip: Aptly named, pea gravel is made up of round stones that offer a delicious crunch underfoot but also tend to move around a bit. To reduce movement, edge pathways to keep gravel in place and install only 1 to 1½ inches of gravel on top of a compacted layer of base rock.