Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Consider these pitfalls of gravel

1006 HI gravel1W

Very fine rounded pebbles are easy on bare feet whether or not you add concrete fragment flagstones. SHNS photo

By Maureen Gilmer

Here in the Southwest, gravel has long been a part of our landscapes. Desert gardeners know the benefits and pitfalls of this natural material, which is available in many colors, sizes and pebble shapes. Now gravel has become a national obsession. It’s hot stuff in modern gardens for filling gaps between contemporary concrete pavers. Elsewhere, it’s used in lieu of mortar between flagstones of all shapes and sizes. Still other landscapes have gravel walkways often used as secondary paving in side yards.

What makes gravel so widely appealing is its low cost and the colors and textures available. You need not be limited to typical gray pea gravel. Visit a gravel yard to see firsthand what’s immediately available. Note that some gravels are uniform in color while others are a mixture of hues that may fit better with your project. You’ll also see the difference between sharp crushed gravel and pebbles rounded by water.

This is all rooted in the “green” concept of permeable paving. Unlike poured concrete, gravel walking surfaces allow water to pass through and percolate down into natural soil underneath. The ground acts as a giant filter, catching pollutants so water moving through is cleaner when it reaches the water table. The problem with surface runoff from solid paving is that it carries debris and toxins into storm drains that later deliver a payload of crud into nearby waterways.

If you’re thinking of using gravel for your next landscaping project, beware of the pitfalls that desert landscapers learned to avoid long ago.

* Litter. Organic matter from plants, be it leaves or lawn clippings, settles into the nooks and crannies of gravel surfacing. This is a problem with gravel that’s dark in color; every bit of detritus stands out like a sore thumb. Organic matter also filters down between the stones to gather underneath where decomposition creates fertile ground for weeds.

Use fine-textured gravel that packs tighter and is easily raked or blown clean. Choose a light-hued gravel with variable colors so litter won’t stand out.

* Traveling. Gravel has been known to travel outside its designated area under the pressure of foot traffic. Sloping ground also results in buildup at the bottom of an incline due to gravity. Avoid river-rounded pebbles; they are more likely to travel compared to crushed gravel, which has sharper edges that hold fast.

* Kick and track. Surfaces such as decomposed granite or crushed sandlike gravel are often kicked into other areas or tracked far and wide on shoe soles. This could be a problem if interior floors are wood or tile, which could be easily scratched by the sharp stones picked up in shoe treads. Avoid gravels finer than a quarter-inch for walking surfaces or as filler between pavers or flagstones.

* Soil. Know your soil before selecting gravel. Where the ground is dense, it becomes soft when wet. All gravel will sink into moist clay from the weight of foot or vehicle traffic. Over time, more gravel becomes embedded deeper and deeper as your surface layer grows progressively thinner.

To separate such soils from gravel, lay a sheet of heavy weed-barrier fabric (not plastic) over the designated area before spreading pebbles. It acts like a barrier to keep gravel separated from your soil while remaining permeable so water still moves through. This fabric is essential in areas that were former lawns to prevent perennial grasses from returning to infest your gravel.

Gravel can be a great alternative or a real nightmare, depending on your choices. Don’t let your gravel sink, travel or sprout weeds. Follow these guidelines to help make your project as successful on day one as it will be a decade down the road.

Scripps Howard News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Going green at church, school, everywhere

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Former caretaker convicted of murder, elder abuse

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

Old friend helps Brad and others find kidneys

By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Chuck Rairdan joins school board race

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Ukraine insurgents reject call to quit buildings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 3 Comments

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

UCD to host Global Health Day event

By Cory Golden | From Page: A2

 
Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
‘Hitchhiking’ dog looking for new home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Online K-12 school holds info night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Schwenger lawn signs available

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

Volunteers needed for Grad Night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Davis grad makes rain collection a business

By Jason McAlister | From Page: A4 | Gallery

A few spots left on history tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Chipotle fundraiser boosts Emerson tech upgrade

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Event to provide nature scholarship

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Students have new options on leasing front

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Groups join for a day of service

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
NAMI backers walk in Sacramento

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Food for the hungry

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

.

Forum

Dad makes mom look bad

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Early help is a great investment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

More tax money? Answer the question

By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

 
UCD IS responsible for students

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

In search of great ideas

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Please keep the nursery open

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Sharks double up Kings in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Aggies lose a slugfest in opener at Riverside

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Fox coming to UCD; Riffle heads to Florida

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
DHS’ Golston goes full-bore on the diamond

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devils show more life in loss to Mitty

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
DYSA roundup: Intensity has big week; 10U games dominate schedule

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Sports briefs: Aggies set the academic bar high

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Pro baseball roundup: Susac sends Sacramento to a rare loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Features

.

Arts

‘Transcendence’: A whole new level of tedium

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
‘The Bloom’ paves way for Whole Earth Festival

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

DHS tribute to Tony Fields slated for April 25-26

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
UCD, city team up for Music on the Green

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

.

Business

Ford turns its Focus to domestic market

By Ali Arsham | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, April 18, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A9

 
.

Real Estate Review

Featured Listing

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

Professional Services Directory

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

Lyon Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

Yolo FCU

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Acacia at Huntington Square

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Jamie Madison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Travis Credit Union

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

Kim Eichorn

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Suzanne Kimmel

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Lynne Wegner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Kim Merrel Lamb

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Patricia Echevarria

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Chris Snow

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Andrew Dowling

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Sheryl Patterson

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Don Guthrie

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Julie Partain & Dick Partain

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Heather Barnes

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Malek Baroody

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

Willowbank Park

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Team Traverso

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Julie Leonard

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Tim Harrison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Tracy Harris

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Lori Prizmich

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Raul Zamora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Joe Kaplan

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Open House Map

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

F1rst Street Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20