What Is Best in the Garden: Sand or Gravel?

Written by beverley burgess bell
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What Is Best in the Garden: Sand or Gravel?
Gravel has many possibilities. (sleeper on gravel image by Hao Wang from Fotolia.com)

Sand or gravel both have their place in the garden. What works best depends on the purpose of the sand or gravel. You can use both items a number of ways in the garden. Sand and gravel are used in Japanese Zen gardens as well as in other projects such as a base for stepping stones. Choose fine sand in sandpits for little children. Incorporate gravel as part of a landscaped dry riverbed.

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Sand Garden

Sand is often used in Japanese Zen gardens as a specific type of garden. A light wooden frame is built, varnished and sealed. A plastic weed guard is then set down before the sand is deposited. You can fill the garden with bonsais or sculptures and rake the sand to show various designs.

What Is Best in the Garden: Sand or Gravel?
Zen gardens are often made from sand. (zen garden image by Rido from Fotolia.com)

Other Possibilities

In the garden sand also is used to lighten heavy clay soil so water can drain more easily through the mud particles. Sand is useful for children's sandboxes or establishing a base for laying down flagstone or other patio materials.

Gravel Gardens

Gravel gardens are easy to create and simple to maintain. Decide what shape and where the garden path will be and plot it out on paper along with other elements such as plants and garden benches. The garden path is usually one type and colour of granite so it is well defined, while other parts of the gravel garden may contain other colours of gravel to complement the path.

What Is Best in the Garden: Sand or Gravel?
Gravel is often used as a base. (garden bench image by Artyom Yefimov from Fotolia.com)

Maintenance

Installing black plastic beneath the gravel will virtually eleminate weeds. The gravel itself is cleaned each time it rains, and you can use a leaf blower to remove leaves from the garden site. Rake the gravel occasionally to keep it looking smooth.

What Is Best in the Garden: Sand or Gravel?
Eliminate leaves with a leaf blower. (leaf blower image by Horticulture from Fotolia.com)

Edging and Other Uses

Edge your gravel garden to prevent the gravel from travelling. Edging possibilities include large rocks or stones and cement blocks. Use pea gravel as a base for laying flagstones or as part of a dry riverbed.

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