Decorative gravel and decorative chippings are powerful helpers in garden design, which allow you an incredible number of variations. However, if you want to know exactly what material you’re getting, you’ll need to ask for some information when you’re shopping. These rock materials and some ideas for garden design with ornamental gravel and chippings are presented below.

Difference between ornamental gravel and ornamental chippings

Decorative gravel and decorative chippings consist of stone material of various sizes, with a basic distinction being made between:

  • Rundling or round stone: created by circular grinding in flowing waters, machine-made by so-called rolling (processing with rolling elements).
  • Quarry stone is broken from larger rock bodies, this can be done by natural fracture or by human processing in the quarry.
  • Broken minerals are created by artificially crushing rocks

What we colloquially call gravel can be natural or artificial. In the first case, stones were rounded in flowing waters until they became small pebbles. In the second case, stones are worked by people until they are rounded.

Structurally, gravel is defined according to the standards DIN 18196 and DIN EN ISO 14668-1, and here only the grain size is of interest. Gravel in the structural sense does not have to be round, but can also have an angular grain shape, it can have been created by a natural process or it can have been produced artificially in a crushing plant.

In horticulture, ornamental gravel is usually offered in round form, while ornamental chippings can be quarry stone of natural origin or artificially crushed mineral material with grain sizes of 2 to 32 mm.

Use of ornamental gravel in garden design

The use of ornamental gravel in the garden has been one of the most interesting garden trends for a few years, because ornamental gravel has proven to be a material with a number of advantages: ornamental gravel is easy to care for and decorative, it prevents unwanted growth and protects the garden floor from drying out. Ornamental gravel is available in so many types, colors and sizes that you can use it to design countless decorative elements. With ornamental gravel, you can even bring your own individual pattern into your garden.

You can create or embellish the following design components in your garden with ornamental gravel:

  • Gravel bed with ornamental gravel laid out, bed with a special visual effect
  • the opportunity to create real eye-catchers even in a very small garden
    • in a bed covered with light ornamental gravel, even a tiny horned violet becomes an eye-catcher
  • show off particularly beautiful plants better
    • Rose bed with white marble gravel on the ground surface makes rose petals shine
  • Decorative gravel at the edge of beds ensures that the bed merges very harmoniously with the adjacent garden area
  • is ideal for decorating the surface of the soil in a plant trough
    • The planter then looks very clean and tidy
    • the right color creates harmonious color transitions between patio furniture and plants
  • use on the garden paths to harmonize the visual effect or to make it more varied
  • Combine with many other natural stones, field stones, paving stones or floor slabs
  • numerous possible combinations
  • create special attractions in the garden with garden gravel
  • Decorative gravel is very well suited to decorate the bed of a stream in the garden

Decorative gravel can prevent structural damage

  • Gravel is an excellent drainage material because there are always gaps between the small stones through which water can easily flow.
  • If you fill up decorative gravel around your house, you prevent water from building up there, which could eventually find its way into your basement.

At gardening

If you apply weed control around wherever only certain plants are to grow and then put decorative gravel on top of them, you will no longer have to worry about any unwanted growth in that bed. And all this without the use of critical pesticides.

in the front yard can be completely designed with gravel beds, it will then always look well-groomed and still require little work.

On the beds covered with decorative gravel, the gravel acts like a ground cover, so it protects the soil from drying out. This is good for the plants because the soil doesn’t suddenly dry out in the heat. And good for your wallet because less water evaporates and you don’t have to water as often.

Use of decorative chippings in garden design

With ornamental chippings, you can do everything that you can also do with ornamental gravel. The decorative chippings only have a slightly different effect: decorative gravel is round, and a round shape always has a harmonizing, gentle, maybe even a little playful effect. Decorative chippings are angular, unformed, wild, you could say “more serious”. Decorative gravel is the right choice if you want to decorate a playful romantic garden and enhance its effect. If you want to create an impressive area with patterns in front of a home that also serves as a company headquarters, you should rather use decorative chippings.

In any case, some coverings can be better designed with decorative chippings than with decorative gravel: decorative chippings are the better choice for all sloping surfaces on which the stones could move, because due to their irregular shape they “get stuck” so to speak. Decorative gravel is also better suited to form patterns with perfect edges that will “soften” less quickly than when using decorative gravel.

Decorative chippings can even ensure more safety for residents: Poorly lit paths are safer to walk on if the areas away from the path are accentuated with decorative chippings in a clearly different color. This can also help the visually impaired. Such paths are also better covered with decorative chippings than with decorative gravel, which can become slippery when there is a lot of moisture.

Today you can even cover surfaces that you want to drive on with decorative gravel and decorative chippings. There are practical accessories that make such a load possible: so-called honeycomb honeycombs made of polypropylene, which you fill and which ultimately stabilize the floor covering sufficiently.

The different varieties

Decorative gravel and decorative chippings are offered in an unbelievable number of varieties. Depending on the supplier, you will be able to read through lists of 20 to 35 types of ornamental gravel. These designations very often say very little about what you should actually learn from your new garden ornament, namely what stone it is made of. Because it is this stone material that determines the durability of your decorative surface, which is more or less prone to discoloration and growth and which must be considered for surfaces walked on in terms of slip resistance. Here are a few notes about the offers:

  • Alps green
    • it is probably round-tumbled Alpine marble
    • beautiful but acid-sensitive stone
    • e.g. For example, not ideal for areas heavily used by children where spilled fruit juice will eventually cause unsightly rocks
    • maybe it is also diabase, green basalt also found in the Alps
    • has a much higher compressive strength than marble
    • does not absorb water and is much more abrasion resistant than marble
    • less dust on surfaces walked on
    • In trade, diabase is often referred to as “granite” or “black granite”.
  • Alpendolomit
    • is the stone from which the Alps consist to a large extent (also called main dolomite)
    • shows a clear layer structure and strong fissures
    • is very brittle and hard
    • harder than lime and cheap
    • likes to use it as a building material, e.g. B. for substrates in road construction
  • Basalt
    • is pressure and wear resistant, but not too brittle
    • if it is not polished into ornamental pebbles, it is used for the substructure of roads and railway tracks
    • not necessarily the best choice for trails: abrasion makes the surface slippery and slippery when wet
  • Kiesel
    • with the designations Bordeaux and Champagne, smaller rocks
    • ground round in running water and have the corresponding color
    • pure gravel has a large pore volume
    • is very water permeable
    • qualifies him e.g. B. as a filter layer for drainage
    • also sensitive to frost
    • In contrast to humus, it contains no plant nutrients and allows surface water to seep away quickly
    • is covered only little by vegetation
  • Carrara
    • is marble again, see above
    • White Carrara varieties usually turn yellow to brownish at some point when exposed to water or light
  • Granite
    • is one of the hardest natural stones with high resistance, hardness and weather resistance
  • terracotta
    • actually refers to Tuscan ceramics, a “natural stone” made of earth, fire and water, which is open-pored and sensitive to dirt
    • Since such material is only suitable as a garden ornament to a limited extent, it could also be that completely different stones were split for the “terracotta chippings”.
    • the (not protected) term terracotta often only serves as a color designation

The situation is similar with ornamental splitting. Many trade names only indicate the color and not the rock material from which the grit was actually extracted.

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