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Maintaining A Gravel Landscape

Maintaining A Gravel Landscape

After a few years, it was time to replenish the gravel landscaping in my front yard.

Gravel landscaping is easy maintenance but it definitely requiring a little attention every now and then.  The fallen leaves and blossoms don’t bother me too much, but after my Jacaranda does its yearly post-flowering dump, I do sweep up all the debris.  The dirt was showing through in some spots so it was time for a little topping off.  And that’s basically all I do to maintain my gravel ground cover.

Maintaining A Gravel Landscape

I love all the various rock materials but the plantings on 3 sides really soften the hardscaping. 

When I moved into this house, the front yard was Bermuda grass, lavender, agapanthus and valerian.  Definitely not something that appealed to a garden hound like me so I tore most of it out and did a makeover in 2007.  I kept the planting along side the house and added raised beds along the street.  I love gravel but I love me some plants even more!

See what we did to give the gravel landscaping a facelift:

Besides the fact that this replenishing was long overdue, my house is for sale and I just wanted it to look better.  First impressions do count for something after all and it’s amazing what an inch of 2 of fresh rock can do aesthetic wise.

Maintaining A Gravel Landscape

Here’s where the rock borders the driveway.  1/4″ California Gold covers most of the yard & I used 3/4″ in the small strip in between.

Here’s what I did:

* Ordered 1/4 ton (1/2 of a scoop) of 1/4″ California Gold to use as the ground cover.  I ordered 3 bags of the 3/4″ California Gold to top off the driveway strip.

*  Moved the table & chair set to the driveway.

*  Removed the bulk of the plant debris from the area to be covered.

*  Carried the rock in by the bucket full & distributed it all around.

*   Raked out the rock to spread it evenly.

*  In the areas that needed to be built up more, additional rock was spread.  Overall, the rock was built up by 2″.

*   The stepping stones were raised up as needed by putting gravel under them.  They sit about 1/4″ – 1/2″ above the gravel now to allow for sinkage.

*  The dust (be prepared, landscape rock comes with a lot of dust!) was removed from the area by giving it a strong hosing down.  We only hosed for a few minutes because of our drought here in California.

*  The 3/4″ rock was laid in the driveway strip.  I used the larger size here because it doesn’t track in on your shoes.  And, visually, the contrast in size is appealing to me.

*  The table & chair set was put back.   Time to enjoy the outdoor life here in coastal Southern California!

In the ideal world, I would do this maintenance every 3 years. My front yard doesn’t get heavy foot traffic nor have we had a lot of  rain here in Santa Barbara in the last 3 years.  If your climate is harsher or your gravel landscaping (whether it be a path, driveway, seating area, etc) gets more wear and tear, then you’ll probably have to do the replenishing more often.

By the way, my back yard is a whole lot “weedier” than this front yard so pulling out unwanted plant materials is not an issue.  I love everything about the rock ground cover in my front yard.  The look, lack of maintenance, zero water usage and sound underfoot all make my heart sing!

Maintaining A Gravel Landscape

On the side that borders the street, I did raised beds.  Yes, more plants!

C’mon, take a virtual tour of my garden.

Happy gardening,


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