With the California drought continuing with no end in sight, RCP continues to promote water wise landscaping options as an alternative to high water usage grass landscaping. We’ve already covered rebates offered by state and local agencies to promote water wise landscaping and products that help cut water usage. The State Water Resources Control Board recently encouraged homeowners to let their lawns die as part of their greater plan to conserve water through mandatory water usage restrictions. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for ugly, dusty patches of brown dirt around your property. There are plenty of natural products available at RCP that reduce your water usage while maintaining an attractive landscaped yard.
What is it: Decomposed Granite, or DG as it’s commonly called, is a compactable material formed from the natural weathering and erosion of granitic rock. DG is typically of easily compactable rock particles 3/8” and smaller.
- Benefits: DG is an ideal product for various projects because it is inexpensive, its permeability allows for good drainage, and is more stable than other natural ground cover materials such as gravel. DG can be used for garden pathways, rustic patios, or as a base for stepping stones, pavers, flagstone, and synthetic turf.
- Maintenance: placing a weed blocking landscape fabric underneath the DG helps prevent weeds from growing popping while allowing water to still drain through into the soil below. Adding a pathway stabilizing liquid onto your compacted DG area can help prevent shifting of loose DG and the tracking of DG into the house on the bottoms of shoes. However, over time some DG will break down and shift with exposure to weather and foot traffic. This can be easily remedied by adding a little more DG and compacting it in these areas as needed.
What is it: Gravel is chunks of jagged, crushed up rock, usually crushed to sizes of 3/8” and 3/4” and comes in various colors.
- Benefits: Crushed gravel provides good drainage, causes less dirt to be tracked into the house than with DG, and achieves a contemporary look. Multiple color options give you a variety of choices and the ability to mix different gravels to create unique designs. Gravel can be used to cover large areas of your yard, for smaller walkways, or to break up areas of plants.
- Maintenance: Like with DG, laying down a weed taming fabric will help block weeds from appearing. Foot traffic can cause shifting and thinning of some areas but small quantities of replacement gravel will remedy this.
What is it: River rock is rounded and multicolored. RCP carries two types of river rock: smaller 1”-3” that is sold by the yard and larger sizes of 3”-12” sold by the pound.
- Benefits: there are a variety of sizes and colors available to fit any project. River rocks can be used to create realistic dry river beds and are the perfect way to create an appealing border between paved and landscaped areas.
- Maintenance: Weed taming fabric. Using a blower is a good way to remove debris such as fallen leaves and dirt.
What is it: Beach pebbles are rounded, flat rocks. They range in size from 1/2” to 3” and come in a greyish-black color and a mixed color option. Beach pebbles are only available in bags and not by the yard some they can be an expensive option for larger applications
- Advantages: Beach pebbles provide an elegant and sophisticated style and can be used for a variety of projects such as to topdress container plantings, to puddle around plants or boulders, pathways, or as borders around planters and paved areas.
- Maintenance: Similar to river rocks, you can use weed taming fabric and a blower to keep the area clear of weeds and debris.
What is it: Flagstone refers to large, irregular flat stones used to pave an area. Flagstone comes in a variety of colors, sizes, and textures and is sold by the pound.
- Advantages: Flagstone is easy to install, low maintenance, and an affordable way to pave a patio or walkway. The variety of colors and types of stones like sandstone, quartzite, or slate means there is a flagstone to fit any project. You can use a variety of materials between the stones to achieve different looks such as gravel, river rocks and pebbles, DG, and moss.
- Maintenance: Weed taming fabric. Debris can be removed from the area using a blower or broom. Using a stone sealer can protect the stone over time and enhance the natural color of the stone.