13th Feb 2024 -

Gravel is a versatile and affordable material used for many outdoor projects. However, not all types are created equal when it comes to standing up to the elements. This guide will explore the best options for weather-resilient gravel that can withstand the test of time. 

We compare various types and discuss which are most suitable for outdoor projects like a gravel patio, driveway or paving. With the right choice, you can create an outdoor area that maintains its structural integrity and visual appeal.

What is weather-resilient gravel?

Weather-resilient gravel is a specially engineered type of aggregate gravel designed to withstand exposure to harsh weather elements. Traditional gravel is prone to erosion and displacement when subjected to heavy rainfalls, freeze-thaw cycles and other environmental conditions. 

It has been carefully crushed and processed to create an optimal blend of stone sizes and shapes that interlock well.

Different weather-resilient gravel types

When it comes to weather-resilient gravel, there are various options available. Each type has advantages and disadvantages that make it better suited for some outdoor space applications than others.

Crushed granite

It creates an attractive, slip-resistant surface. With its earthy blend of grey and white tones, it enhances the aesthetic of pathways and patios. Crushed granite, also known as decomposed granite (DG), is a durable choice for moderately trafficked areas. 

However, it may get slippery when wet. It requires stabilising with a resin gravel binder, which acts as a gravel glue, to bond stones.

Limestone gravel

This gravel features small, smooth limestone chippings that create a clean, contemporary look. The neutral tones complement modern landscaping. However, the smoothness of underfoot needs to be considered. 

Its smoothness requires caution when wet, especially on steps or inclines. Therefore, limit use to flat or gently sloping paths.

Pea gravel

Also referred to as pea shingle gravel, it consists of naturally weathered river rock with a round, pea-sized shape. Available in natural tones, it provides excellent drainage between gravel pavers on patios and walkways. 

Use it with caution on inclined surfaces like ramps since the smooth pebbles can migrate downward over time. 

Slate chippings

For a distinctive look, slate chippings add vibrant tones to pathways, patios, and driveways. The chippings are crushed from Welsh slate for angular edge stones that interlock for superb stability underfoot. 

However, you should be aware that the colours may fade over time when exposed to sun and rain. Use a sealant to enhance longevity.

Crushed stone gravel

Crushed stone offers unparalleled versatility, allowing for creative design possibilities in outdoor projects. Its robust nature can withstand substantial loads and foot traffic. This makes it an ideal choice for a gravel driveway or path. 

Creating compacted gravel from time to time may be required to ensure stability. Without adequate weed barriers, growth through the gravel may become a concern. 

How to apply weather-resilient gravel

Proper installation techniques are important for creating a durable, long-lasting gravel surface. The right process ensures the gravel withstands weather and traffic over time. Here are some useful tips for working with the above options. 

Crushed granite

For crushed granite, preparation is key. Excavate the area to 4-6 inches deep, then fill and compact it with a 3-4 inch layer of crushed limestone as a sub-base. This provides drainage and stability for the granite layer on top.

Add the crushed gravel granite in 2-inch layers, compacting thoroughly between each layer to create a dense, interlocked surface. Compaction to 4-6 inches is recommended for best durability.

Limestone gravel

With limestone gravel, opt for a larger crushed stone size if the area will see high traffic. After excavating 4-6 inches down, fill the space with coarse gravel to level it out. Compact the sub-base before adding a 2-3 inch layer of crushed limestone. 

Use edging on paths to contain the angular stones. Compact each layer fully as you build up to your desired thickness.

Pea gravel

For loose types like pea gravel, take steps to contain the material. Lay weed fabric before adding a 1-2 inch layer to reduce shifting and weed growth. A shallow depth is ideal since it can displace easily underfoot.

Use edging and avoid slopes where the rounded gravel will migrate downhill over time.

Slate chippings

Slate chippings create an eye-catching but stable surface when properly installed. Build a 4-6 inch compacted gravel base to support the slate layer. Compact chippings in 2-inch layers, ensure an interlocked, dense surface. 

For stability on paths and patios, install gravel edging to contain the angular slate chips.

Crushed stone

With crushed stone, preparation is important. Excavate the area, backfill with coarse material and compact before adding the crushed stone. Opt for cuboid crushed stone and compact in layers to form a tight interlock. 

The crushed stone's angular shape and thorough compaction will provide superior waterproof properties for driveways and heavy-use areas.

Can you use gravel grids for weather resilience?

Installing a gravel grid system underneath the material layer can significantly improve the weather resistance and durability of the surface. These durable plastic grids create a cellular structure within the material that delivers key benefits.

  • Stabilises materials: Grids confine loose loads within cells to prevent shifting and scattering from foot traffic or wind. This weatherproofs surfaces using rounded or small stones.
  • Reinforcement: The grid's strong interlocking cells reinforce gravel stones and provide structural retention under load. This reduces rutting on driveways and ensures they remain locked in place when exposed to rain. 
  • Allows drainage: While securing the stones, the grids’ cellular structure still allows proper drainage via the open cells. Rainwater can permeate through while it remains firmly contained.
  • Reduces loss: By structurally stabilising the material, less scatter occurs meaning fewer gravel top-ups over time. The grids prevent the loss of stones
  • Adds durability: Grids extend the lifespan of walkways, patios and driveways. They keep the material locked in place longer through any type of weather.

Which is the best type for you?

As outlined above, selecting a weather-resistant type for your project requires careful consideration. The right choice depends on your site conditions, intended use and desired appearance. Follow this checklist to choose a durable and well-suited option. 

  • Consider the planned use and traffic level. Think about whether the area will see heavy foot traffic, cars or just decorative aggregates like water features and flower beds.
  • For driveways and parking areas, opt for a large crushed stone type which withstands cars.
  • Crushed granite is a suitable option for pathways and patios. Their angular shape interlocks nicely.
  • Pea gravel suits as a decorative feature for gardens or between pavers, not high traffic zones where it can shift.
  • Slate chippings require sealing. Avoid using on steep inclines where a slip-resistant type is safer.
  • Ensure suitable base preparation with proper drainage and compaction before installing it.
  • Consider a grid system for added weather resistance.

Where to buy gravel and landscaping bulk bags

Explore the durability of easy-to-install weather-resilient aggregates at Building Materials Nationwide. Our wide variety includes top-quality 25kg and 850kg bag options like pea gravel and limestone chippings

From upgrading a driveway or embarking on a garden landscape gravel job, our stone and gravel materials withstand the diverse UK weather conditions. With Building Materials Nationwide, you are investing in high-performance materials. 

At Building Materials Nationwide, we understand the unique needs of trade professionals. That is why we offer a seamless process for customers to open trade accounts with us. By opening a trade account, you gain access to exclusive benefits, including speedy delivery service options and bulk discounts. 

Whether you are a landscaper or builder, partnering with Building Materials Nationwide ensures you receive the best for your construction projects. Plus, you receive one-on-one service and cost-effective solutions. Open a trade account today and elevate your outdoor projects. Contact us or use the form below for more information. 

    * These fields are mandatory