Looking for a new way to spruce up your flower beds? While traditional, organic mulch like wood chips are popular in these types of applications, gravel is becoming the “go-to” option for upgrading flower boxes, gardens and other growing areas throughout NJ properties.

Could gravel be the right choice for your landscape? We think yes! If you’ve been giving any thought to sprucing things up, this guide will walk you through the decision-making process.

Read on to learn more about why gravel is a great choice for flower beds, and which types of decorative gravel are best suited for planting projects.

Benefits of Decorative Gravel in Planting Areas

To start off, why would you choose to work with decorative gravel? For years, people have relied on wood-chip and bark to highlight their flowers and plants while also serving as mulch – so why change things now?

Many people are now discovering that crushed stone aggregate is actually a perfect fit for planting and gardening. Here are a few of the perks:

Beauty

There’s no doubt that natural stone is stunningly beautiful. Decorative gravel comes in a variety of different shapes, sizes and colors, all of which contrast beautifully against the different hues and textures associated with flowers, vegetables and other plants. The stone won’t fade or become discolored over time, making for long-lasting and timeless elegance.

Drainage

Another great thing about decorative gravel is that it allows for healthy drainage. After periods of rain or watering your plants, you need the moisture to percolate at a good speed in order to make sure that the plants don’t either dry out or become inundated with too much moisture all at once. Gravel regulates the drainage and moisture levels for optimum growing conditions.

Temperature Control

In addition to controlling the flow of moisture into the plant’s root system, decorative stone aggregate is also able to regulate soil temperatures.

The gravel acts as a barrier between the earth and the sun, ensuring that the ground doesn’t overheat. At the same time, the barrier prevents too much water from evaporating and causing the plants to dry up.

Permanence

Unlike organic mulching materials, gravel will not decay or deteriorate over time. This is advantageous because it means that you won’t need to regularly replace the stone year after year. As an added bonus, the lack of decay will keep critters and pests like insects and rodents at bay.

5 Best Types of Decorative Gravel for Flower Beds

Now that we understand the benefits associated with working with decorative gravel, we’re ready to explore the best types of stone aggregate to pair up with flower beds. Our top 5 favorites are:

1. Pea Gravel

Pea gravel is, by far, the most popular choice for gardening applications in NJ. Pea gravel is characterized by its small, round, “pea-like” shape and texturing. The surface of the stones are equally smooth, creating a soft and inviting appearance.

Pea gravel is also well known for its rich and beautiful coloring, featuring an array of different shades and hues. You’ll notice colors from gray, black and white, to tan, brown and even red and green. These shades all look fabulous next to the array of bright and bold flowers in your garden.

Pea gravel is very common throughout the greater NJ area, and is therefore very easy to find and extremely affordable. This makes it possible to work with pea gravel on any budget.

You might even consider using pea gravel in other nearby landscaping applications in order to bring a sense of uniformity to the entire property. Many property owners enjoy creating pea gravel patios, paths and walkways adjacent to their pea gravel flower beds.

2. Mexican Beach Pebbles

Next, we will explore Mexican Beach Pebbles. As the name suggests, these magnificent, decorative stones come from the sandy shores of the Mexican coast.

Although Mexican Beach Pebbles tend to be blue or gray in color, you’ll quickly notice that the stones turn a deep black or onyx color when exposed to water. This creates exciting visuals whenever it rains or you visit your garden with your watering can in hand.

After years of exposure to the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, Mexican Beach Pebbles are very smooth and round, which creates a fantastic juxtaposition to any pointed flower petals or plant leaves.

While Mexican Beach Pebbles are available in a wide range of different sizes, you’ll find that the smaller stones, typically those that are 1/2″ in diameter, are the best suited for use in and around garden planters and flower beds.

At this size, the stones create a nice mulching alternative and help to regulate soil temperatures and moisture levels without being so large that they overpower the plantings themselves. Talk to an expert about the right sized decorative gravel for your needs.

3. White Marble Chips

White marble chips are yet another great option for those looking to fill their gardens with decorative gravel. These lovely stones are typically white in color with one or more streaks of gray.

The truly defining quality of white marble chips, though, is that they offer a shimmering, almost glittery surfacing. This is not only beautiful and alluring, but also very practical in terms of keeping excessive heat away from your plants.

4. Yellow “Jersey Shore” Gravel

For NJ residents, the quintessential type of gravel for decorative landscaping has to be round, yellow “Jersey Shore” gravel. You probably see this particular type of stone everywhere you turn your head.

The yellow, tan and golden color quality of the aggregate evokes a sense of being at the beach, or along the Jersey Shore. In addition, the colors work nicely with plants of all shades and styles, making it easy to create a beautiful flower bed that will make your property stand out from others on the block.

You’ll be happy to discover that “Jersey Shore” gravel is one the most affordable types of stone aggregate on the market in our area.

5. River Rock

River rock is the perfect compromise between pea gravel and Mexican Beach Pebbles. While it features the water-washed smoothness of Mexican Beach Pebbles, river rock is known for offering a smattering of lovely, intriguing colors that will add a great deal of character to your flower bed and property as a whole.

As an added bonus, river rock is very easy to obtain, making it possible to introduce the stone not only to your flower bed, but to your entire landscape – for cheap!

Buying Decorative Gravel in NJ

Braen Supply is the #1 place to go for all of your decorative gravel needs. As the leading supplier of decorative, natural stone aggregate in NJ, we’re proud to offer a massive inventory of attractive and functional stones to suit your planting and gardening needs.

Our team of skilled professionals is here to assist you with the process of selecting the right materials for the job, and is more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Our crushed gravel is available at competitive wholesale prices, and can be picked up at your convenience or bulk delivered to locations throughout parts of NJ, NY, NYC and PA.
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