18th Nov 2022 -

Gravel is used in both construction and landscaping, offering aesthetic and practical benefits. Whether you are looking to make strong concrete, build a garden path, or create a sleek driveway, there will be a gravel option for you. In this guide to gravel from Building Materials Nationwide, we’ll summarise the world of gravel, looking at the different options for sale in the UK, and exploring their varying uses.

What is Gravel?

Gravel is a loose aggregate made up of small rocks of various sizes, ranging from around 2mm to 60mm. There is a range of gravel types and colours available across the UK. Gravel can either be produced naturally or created by crushing a large number of rocks together. Gravel that has been manually produced is sometimes called “Crushed Stone”, though it is a similar product. Alongside a range of uses in landscaping projects, gravel is an important element of construction projects used within the production of concrete. Within gardens gravel is used as a decorative aggregate, offering an alternative to grass. It is used for filling out sections of a garden or for creating various garden elements including driveways.

The Benefits of Gravel

Gravel has become a popular product in commercial and residential properties, boasting a series of benefits:

  • Low Maintenance: Gravel can be simply placed and left as-is within a garden, compared to the maintenance required for something like grass or a bed of flowers.
  • Drains Water: Water can pool on other surfaces such as grass, whereas gravel will not be able to retain water, leaving your space puddle-free.
  • Long Lifespan: Gravel's size and shape make it suitable for long-term use, and it won’t be affected by weather such as rain or snow.
  • Easy Installation: Gravel can be poured into place for an easy installation.
  • Versatility: Gravel is an aesthetic product and a functional one, that can be easily installed in a wide variety of locations, creating unique shapes. The options available come in a range of colours.

Need Quality Gravel?

  1. 10mm Pea Shingle (201/001/1141)

    2 - 3 WORKING DAY DELIVERY

    • Bulk/Small Bags Available
    • Product images are for illustrative purposes only
    Price from: £2.48 £2.98
  2. Price from: £150.94 £181.13
  3. Horticultural Grit (900/006/97561)

    Order by 10:00am for 1-2 Working Day Delivery

    • Bulk/Small Bags Available
    • Grit particles ranging from 1mm to 6mm in size
    Price from: £122.35 £146.82

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What Types of Gravel Are Sold in the UK?

When looking for gravel in the UK, there will be a variety of options for sale, with different rocks bringing unique looks to an outdoor space, or to be used for the production of concrete:

  • Pea Gravel: Pea gravel, sometimes called pea shingles, will resemble the stones on a beach, with smooth rounded surfaces. Pea gravel will have an attractive blend of stones giving a varied look. It can be used throughout the landscaping world.
  • Limestone Gravel: With larger rocks and a more consistent colour, limestone gravel can be an attractive landscaping element when used for paths, or as part of a water feature. Limestone gravel can also be used as part of a concrete mix.
  • White Gravel: A popular choice for modern driveways and gardens, white-coloured gravel, sometimes called polar white, will have a bright, consistent look.
  • Golden Gravel: Another colourful option is golden gravel, which combines several different colours of stone to create a warm golden look within an outdoor space.
  • Cotswold Chippings: Sometimes called “Buff Gravel” these 10-20mm limestone chippings are a popular garden gravel within landscaping due to their consistent look and durability.
  • Slate Gravel: Another choice to bring a fetching look to an outdoor space, slate pieces will be sold as flat slices in a dark colour. These garden stones are perfect for creating a sleek entrance to a property.
  • Type 1 Gravel: Sometimes called MOT Type 1, this aggregate mix will contain gravel, alongside smaller particles. It is made from crushed concrete and used in building projects.

What Are the Uses of Gravel?

gravel
  • Pathways: Using medium-sized gravel will be a solid idea for a pathway, creating solid and attractive lines through a garden. When opting for a gravel pathway there are options for using resin to more firmly hold it in place. Resin bonding will involve a surface of resin onto which gravel will be applied. A resin-bound pathway will mix the resin in with the gravel, which will then create an attractive and solid finish. These are both optional and simply topping up or clearing up gravel can allow you to have a natural path.
  • Compacted Gravel Driveways: Gravel can also be used to create a welcoming driveway in a range of colours. With a compacted gravel driveway, creating a sub-base is an important step, to ensure a secure and level surface underneath your gravel.
  • Within Water Features: As gravel will easily drain water, it can be used as a part of a water feature to ensure a garden is without puddles. Using lighter colours can help to enhance the beauty of outdoor spaces, creating a sense of tranquillity. When looking for a creative garden appearance, you can combine different colours and types of gravel near each other, mixing white and golden, or combining pea gravel with slates.
  • Surrounding Plants: Using gravel around established plants can create a great-looking bed of plants, and bring some practical benefits. An option like pea gravel will absorb heat from the sun, keeping it in the soil, and will help the soil below to retain moisture.
  • Making Concrete: Making strong concrete is vital for construction, and both gravel and sand will be added during the mixing process to help produce strength-rated concrete. Experts recommend around 40% gravel within concrete. Limestone gravel will be a great option.
  • Making a Base Layer Under Tarmac: Gravel can be used to create a base layer for a tarmac road. It can also be combined with asphalt for the production of asphalt roads.

Laying Gravel

While the process of pouring gravel is simple, there are important preparations when installing it in an outdoor space. You’ll need to dig out and compact soil to create a base, bordered to keep all gravel in place. The base will then be covered with a layer of hardcore, a type of crushed stone. This too will need to be compacted. Add a weed-resistant membrane on top of this. You can then distribute your gravel of choice over top, raking it to get an even finish.

Maintenance of Gravel

Gravel must be maintained when installed loosely as weather and use will naturally move the stones, creating lower areas and overspill. Raking your gravel back into an even covering will help, but over time gravel will need to be topped up as it will naturally be lost. Keeping a bag of the same gravel spare can be a good idea.

Quality Gravel For Sale

Whether looking to use gravel within either a landscaping or construction project, you’ll find a full range of aggregates for sale through our website. We offer pea gravelpink-coloured gravelgold-coloured gravellimestone gravel and more. Building Materials Nationwide aims to remove the hassle that professionals find when ordering building supplies, offering a comprehensive product range that can be delivered across the UK. For customers within the industry, we offer trade accounts, giving access to our network of suppliers, our express delivery choices, and the services of a dedicated account manager. Start a trade account through our website today.