Many types of landscaping stones and pebbles are available, and each one has a specific reason for inclusion in your landscape plan. The range of landscaping stones and pebbles runs the gamut from near-BB-size bits of stone to large rocks that weigh hundreds of pounds.
Paths and Walkways
Loose gravel, self-binding gravel, crushed decomposed granite and pea gravel are landscaping materials that make for long-lasting paths and walkways. When used in conjunction with landscape fabric that retards invasive weeds, these materials require little maintenance after installation. They're also unlikely to float away during heavy rain or blow away in gusts of wind. Overall, they're inexpensive and available in colors to match or contrast with natural or architectural surroundings.
Trees and Shrubs
When you mulch trees and shrubs with landscaping stones and pebbles, make sure the mulching materials you use fulfill their intended purpose. For example, you can use one type of mulch or a combination of mulches to increase visual appeal; desirable materials for this purpose include rock-grade gravel, water-worn pebbles, pea gravel, crushed brick and screened gravel (a weed-controlling landscaping fabric is recommended for use with gravel mulches). All of these mulches will withstand water runoff from rain and ice, and can tolerate heavy wind.
Patios and Driveways
Patios and driveways that receive frequent use require a heavy type of rock or stone that's able to support the weight of an automobile or groups of people. Patio designs may include pavers, natural stone or water-smoothed cobbles. Commonly used driveway materials include decomposed granite, road-grade gravel, cobblestone, heavy-duty pavers, and in some instances base rock. When using any of these materials, a proper foundation should be in place to ensure long-lasting results.
Curbs and Swales
Landscaping stones can help direct and control water flow on a property. You should use large types of rock for creating curbs and swales wherever a washout problem exists. They must be heavy enough to withstand periods of water runoff from ice, and gushing streams caused by torrential rain. The majority of these pieces require the use of heavy equipment to transport and set in place. Typical materials used are large field rocks, boulders and granite slabs.