Landscaping stones, also known as aggregates, are a wonderful way to spruce up any walkway, driveway, or relaxation area. Not only do they provide a clean and stylish appearance, but they can also help with drainage issues and are used for a variety of other applications, as well.
Sometimes aggregates are used in a decorative way, and other times they play a less visible, more supporting role. Aggregates generally serve as key components in concrete mixes, bituminous mixes, landscaping mulch and bed dressing, pervious surface pavements, pavement base courses, drainage courses, and construction backfill because of the stability they provide. They also mitigate the movement caused by freeze and thaw cycles and facilitate drainage beneath the pavement.
Because aggregates are highly durable and relatively inexpensive, they are often used by many homeowners for a variety of different situations and needs. Kurtz Bros in Columbus, OH offers three different types of aggregates: Gravel, limestone, and sand. Here is a brief overview of these three options:
Gravel is a highly versatile aggregate with a variety of different benefits and uses.
Pea gravel is recommended both for walking paths and decorative purposes; cobbles are larger, rounded gravel – 4 to 8” in size – that are great for use in water features and landscaping around flower beds; #9 gravel is small – 1/8” in size – and recommended for use under pavers (paver patio stone); #58 gravel aggregate is round in shape and can be anywhere from ½” to 1”, offering the perfect material for backfill, drainage needs, and decorative landscape applications.
Limestone aggregates are made by crushing sedimentary limestone rocks that consist mainly of calcium carbonate. In natural form, they look slightly gray to white, providing natural beauty and a cozy feel. They provide a range of high-performance, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly attributes for a wide range of applications, including construction and landscaping. Limestone aggregates are extremely versatile and can be applied just about anywhere around the home for both interior and exterior flooring needs.
Sand is probably the finest aggregate material available. It’s composed of silica (or SiO2), a chemical compound that is an oxide of silicon. It is mainly used in concrete mixes, bituminous mixes, mortar mixes, and as a setting bed for unit pavers. Joint sand is also applied in the joints of flexible pavement systems to add stability without sacrificing drainage.
Naturally occurring sand may not be a good choice for driveways or walkways since it is easily displaced by traffic, wind, and weather and it often clings to shoes and tires; however, specially-prepared sand that is well suited for many landscape applications is available.