Take Another Look at Gravel: Chic Ways to Use It Outdoors

updated Jun 26, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Giannetti Home)

A manicured lawn is a beautiful sight to behold, but it’s a feature that isn’t without its own problems. There’s the cost and time investment for maintenance, plus the staggering amount of water needed to keep a lawn looking fresh in the summer. And really, does anyone truly love mowing the lawn? (Aside from my father, who likely enjoyed the peace of a weedwacker or lawnmower compared to the general chaos produced by me and my brother growing up.)

While you could fill your lawn with native plants or even a vegetable garden (depending on how laid-back your community is about such things), there’s another option that has the bonus of being low-maintenance: gravel.

This humble material can look surprisingly stylish, like in this gorgeous property above by Giannetti Home. Though gravel may initially cost more than grass seed or sod, you’ll come out ahead when comparing the cost of upkeep. Don’t want to commit to a full yard of gravel yet? You can use a little bit to define a garden border, path or nook, which will reduce some of your lawn “footprint.”

Melissa from The Inspired Room used pea gravel to define a space in her backyard for a seating nook. The gray hues coordinate with the stone firepit, the weathered wood table and the dark woven furniture.

Kristi from I Should Be Mopping The Floor also used pea gravel to create a patio in her backyard. Here, the gravel takes on a rustic look that goes perfectly with Kristi’s down-home aesthetic.

(Image credit: Pink Fortitude)

You don’t need a lot of space to create a conversation nook, as proven by Holly J. Bertone of Pink Fortitude. She filled a corner of her garden (previously a “sad dirt patch,” as she puts it!) with white gravel to coordinate with her vintage Adirondack chairs.

(Image credit: Gardenista)

Pea gravel paths cooly contrast the lush garden of Buell Steelman and Rebecca Sams (who own Mosaic Gardens in Eugene, Oregon), as featured on Gardenista.

(Image credit: Foras Studio)

We love this contemporary design by Foras Studio, which uses gravel much like an artist uses white space. This is an idea that could be adapted brilliantly to a front yard.

(Image credit: Luxe Interiors + Design)

This Bay Area garden uses gravel that complements the cool hues of Siskiyou Blue Idaho, as seen in Luxe Interiors + Design.