How to landscape with crushed shells

Written by jarrett melendez
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How to landscape with crushed shells
Seashells come in many colours. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Crushed seashells have been used in landscaping since colonial times and have proven to be versatile additions to a variety of garden types. Landscaping should reflect your home's surrounding area, so crushed shells typically work well in coastal and tropical landscapes. Although you can use crushed shells for strictly ornamental purposes, they can also be quite useful as mulch for your garden beds. However you choose to use crushed shells in your next landscaping project, select colours that complement your home.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Mulch your garden beds with crushed shells. Pour down a 2-inch layer of crushed shells over your vegetable or flower garden bed. This will actually serve two purposes. As with any mulch, the seashells will conserve moisture, insulate soil and prevent weed growth, but they will also supply your plants with calcium and other minerals as they erode over the years.

  2. 2

    Use crushed shells in garden paths. Depending on how much you are willing to spend, you can use the shells for the actual path, or as the borders for your path. Crushed shell paths are particularly fitting for tropical and coastal gardens. You could also use contrasting shades of crushed seashells to create both the path and its borders. For example, you could use oyster shells for the path and mussel shells for the borders.

  3. 3

    Create edging to demarcate garden beds or divide garden beds into sections to prevent sprawl using crushed seashells. Pick seashells that will complement the plants in each garden bed and other landscape pieces. For example, if you have a lot of lightly coloured flowers, pick dark coloured shells to contrast with the plants and make them stand out more.

  4. 4

    Use crushed shells to create staging for water attractions such as ponds and fountains. You may also choose to line the bottoms of these features with crushed shells to create a beachlike atmosphere and brighten your landscape. Additionally, crushed shells can be used as borders around fountains. Avoid bordering ponds with shells, as they will do little to prevent erosion.

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