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What Gravel is Best for Drainage?

Garden bed with stones

Gravel is necessary for many landscape projects and not just beautiful rock gardens. Retaining walls and other features that require drainage make great use of large gravel to allow water to drain away faster than soil would. When you’re doing a DIY landscape project, it’s important to choose the right type of gravel. Here is an explanation of your options and their benefits. 

What Size of Gravel is Best for Drainage? 

Gravel intended for drainage projects needs to be large. That way it will not become compacted. Instead, it should stop debris like leaves right at the top layer, and have plenty of room between stones for water to drain down. 

In general, you want to aim for ½ inch to 1-inch gravel for drainage. Areas that will see especially heavy flow may need larger gravel. Or, projects without drainage pipes may also need larger gravel. For example, a French drain without perforated pipe needs 1 ½ inch gravel. 

Options for the Bottom of Drains 

On the bottom layer of your project or drain you need stone that is ideally sized for your project. The beauty and coarseness of the stone don’t matter, because it should be covered by a top layer of gravel. 

One of your best options is our ¾ inch clear drainage stone. This stone is the perfect middle ground between the ½ inch to 1-inch range that is suitable for drainage projects. It is available at all of our locations. 

Retaining wall with drainage stones

Options for Top Layers 

You should have a separate layer of gravel for the top of the feature. If you wish to cover this with sod, you don’t need to worry about how it looks. However, for projects where the top layer of gravel will be visible, you want to choose a stone that will enhance the beauty of your project. Here are some options: 

  • Pink Quartz: This stone has delightful texture as well as several shades of pink. It’s a great option to add some personality to your project. 
  • Northern Granite River Rock: A smoother, more subtly coloured stone, Northern Granite River Rock is a great option for more natural landscapes. It works well with many of our other stones if you’re mixing and matching. 
  • White Dolomite: As it sounds, this is crushed dolomite, a white, crystalline stone. It’s a great option for modern landscapes that want to look eye-catching with less colour. 

Stones You Shouldn’t Use 

For drainage projects, you do not want to use any type of pea stone. While this stone is beautiful and great for other applications it is too small to drain properly. 

Have concerns about your water drainage? Contact the experts at Grand River Natural Stone, and they will recommend the best gravel for your needs. 

Sources: 

https://www.grandriverstone.com/product/granular-gravel/ 

https://www.hunker.com/13424513/size-type-of-gravel-for-a-french-drain