Gravel is a very useful material for gardeners, landscapers and construction workers. Not only can it be aesthetically pleasing but it can also provide practical uses such as creating water barriers around foundations.
The main advantage of gravel is its versatility. It is available in a range of different colours and sizes so it is capable of serving a purpose as well as looking good. Gravel is perfect for both small jobs around the garden and large-scale construction work, it is also fairly cheap.
Gravel is also quite easy to lay and is very low maintenance. Taking all this into consideration it is easy to see how a gravel bed can benefit your home.
Gravel Beds Prevent Weeds – Gravel beds around the foundations of your home is one of the most cost effective ways of preventing overgrown weeds and shrubs, and even soil mounds from infiltrating the building.
When preparing the ground for gravel you should lay a weed membrane which discourages growth. Using gravel beds to stop weed growth not only helps with maintenance but it also keeps the outside of your property looking neat and tidy.
Natural Drainage – gravel has great draining capabilities and it helps towards stopping water accumulating and plants drowning during heavy rainfall.
Water drains quicker through gravel that most soil types so puddles are less likely to form on gravel pathways and borders like they do on soil.
Water will drain through gravel however it is the underlying soil profile that determines the overall drainage.
To achieve the best drainage results the soil must slope away from the foundations, if you create a slope in your gravel bed you essentially have a natural irrigation system that runs all water away from the building.
Stops Excess Moisture – gravel beds do not retain moisture so they are great at preventing many issues that cause foundations to become too moist.
Moist conditions provide the perfect breading grounds for many pests.
There is no guarantee that gravel wont keep the soil below moist, however it is less likely of it absorbing and retaining moisture to provide preferable conditions for pests to develop colonies.
Help Heat The Property – Gravel beds are not only effective in wet conditions but they also work well when there is very little or no rain.
When exposed to sunlight gravel will heat up and the heat is radiated back out when the sun sets, helping towards heating the property.
This process also helps get rid of excess moisture under the property by evaporation, it also melts snow and ice much more quickly.
How To Lay A Gravel Bed Around Your Home
1. Clear the space of all vegetation – this includes regular grass as well as weeds and plants.
2. Dig over the ground once or twice to improve the condition of the top layer of soil.
3. Rake well to even out the surface and break down any lumps and bumps.
4. Dig an outside border (about 4 inches wide and 2 inches deep) to separate the barrier from the surrounding area.
5. Lay a weed membrane or plant liner over the prepared area.
6. Spread the gravel as evenly as possible over the membrane or liner – you will likely need around 40kg of 20mm gravel to cover one square metre using the measurements in step 4.
7. Rake the gravel to smooth out any uneven spots. Keep any excess gravel to fill any future bald patches.