Some kind of decorative gravel is normally used in Houston landscaping design. The size of gravel will vary based on the amount of weight that will need to support. To some extent as well, the size of individual gravel pieces is scaled in proportion to the elements they support.

Gravel comes in many different colors ranging from black to dark gray to earth tones, off whites, and white. These colors either reinforce the form of a landscape element, or they add a striking emphasis to its aesthetic much like a decorative frame draws the viewer into a painting.

Obviously, gravel is a very important element in hardscape design. Many Houston landscaping plans cover up to 80 percent in hardscape. At face value, however, few yards look like they have this much hardscape because different materials are used to build patios, walkways, pathways, and terraces.

By using decorative gravel to build some of these elements, and by using it to accent other elements, professional designers can ultimately create a Houston landscaping plan that appears so varied that inorganic forms take on an organic aesthetic of diversity.

Two very good examples of such hardscape designs are gravel walkways and gravel patios.

Gravel walkways can be exciting transit areas that lead you through many zones of interest in your yard. Larger, courser stone sizes are preferred here because their greater weight averts displacement. You have a much more table surface to walk on that can feel almost flat.

Decorating a walkway like this with rocks add drama and interest. Depending on a particular Houston landscaping plan, the rocks placed in decorative gravel pathways create different states of consciousness.

In modern landscapes, symmetrical black rocks laid over white gravel create the sense of constrained absolutes congruent with the abstract mathematics of modern, contemporary styles. In a tropical landscaping plan, large boulders positioned in mixed shades of gray gravel look like trails leading up to ancient temples on mysterious islands.

Gravel patios are no less dramatic. They can be surrounded by walls made of stone, masonry, tree growth, or they can have no walls at all. Rocks of all kinds can be used to add vertical impact to the patio.

Stepping stones made of flat, decorative rock can provide sure, stable footing for transit. Large flat stones can be used to support outdoor furnishings. Because gravel is a natural drain, micro gardens, and even small trees can be planted inside the patio itself.

Decorative gravel is also frequently used as an essential element of garden design. Vegetation does not stand out that well when it is surrounded by low growth vegetation like grass. To accentuate certain plants and shrubs, Houston landscapers surround them with gravel to better distinguish their form from that of nearby ground covers and ornamental grasses.

Gravel is also essential to concealing mechanical elements of garden design, waterfalls, and fountains. Pumps and drains are easily covered with decorative gravel to create the appearance of simple structures and pristine scenes where technology appears to have removed far away.

Jeff Halper has a passion for landscaping and Houston Landscape Design. For more information visit Houston Landscape Design, and Decorative Gravel.

Slightly colored gravel texture
Top down capture of a slightly colored gravel made of small rocks of various sizes used to pave a path inside a park.
By Horia Varlan on 2010-06-30 18:09:16
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How to Lay Out Gravel Landscaping : Landscaping Basics

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Laying out gravel landscaping is very important for a couple of different reasons. Find out how to lay out gravel landscaping with help from a landscape designer in this free video clip.

Expert: Thomas Lowe
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Bio: Thomas Lowe has created one-of-a-kind, multifunctional designs for the likes of Food Network Star, Alton Brown.
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Series Description: Landscaping is a great way to really embrace the unique identity of your home. Find out about landscaping with help from a landscape designer in this free video series.