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What Size Gravel or Shingle do I Need?

Many garden landscaping projects can be improved with the addition of some shingle or gravel. Madingley Mulch supply 20mm shingle, and many other types of decorative stones to customers in Hertfordshire, Suffolk and across our home county of Cambridgeshire.

Here we look at the differences between the two types of stones, and which of them (and in what size) is most suitable for specific garden projects.

 

Gravel or Shingle?

The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they shouldn’t be. Gravel is defined as ‘small fragments of rock used for laying on roads or as ballast’, whereas shingle is a collection of small stones with one end typically thicker than the other and is found naturally on beaches. Shingle is also sometimes used to refer to small, thin pieces of building material which are used in roofs or the sides of buildings.

Shingle is generally used more decoratively than gravel, but both can be used for various landscape garden projects.

 

For Driveways

Here you are better off with 20mm rather than 10mm gravel or shingle. This is because you don’t want the smaller stones getting stuck in between the grooves of your tyres, potentially causing long-term damage.

You also want a harder surface, given that it has to bear the weight of at least one vehicle on a regular basis, so go for something durable and long-lasting such as granite or flint rather than softer sandstones or limestones.

At Madingley Mulch, we find that our traditional golden gravel and white gravel are popular choices for driveways. However, we also have granite in various shades, including grey, green and red.

 

For Footpaths

Ideally, you want something smaller than 20mm for a footpath. This is because anything this big won’t feel comfortable underfoot. 10mm should be about right if you want a surface that’s relatively comfortable, but not so small that some of the stones are likely to get caught up in the soles of your shoes.

Our Cotswold Buff range (pictured above) has always been a popular choice for footpaths and borders.

 

For Flower Beds

Something smaller still can be effectively used as a mulch in your flower beds, working as a weed suppressant that will also look good. It will also help improve the drainage.

You shouldn’t have to worry about picking up the stones in your shoes either, as flower beds don’t get as much footfall (unless you are planting them out, you shouldn’t be standing in them either). Our 6mm shingle is ideal for edging your beds.

Your choice isn’t restricted to gravel or shingle either. At Madingley Mulch, we also stock 6mm horticultural grit, which can also act as a soil and drainage improver. The grit also helps to break up clay soil, which is good in the East of England as a lot of the soil is of this type and isn’t conducive for growing many different species of plants.

 

For Drainage

Decorative stones can also improve drainage around pipes. 10mm gravel is best if you want a layer for bedding pipes. If you are constructing a soakaway, then you want something larger such as 20mm.

French drains – a trench filled with stones containing a pipe that redirects surface and groundwater away from the area – need even larger stones, up to 40mm. This is because they help with drainage and look good on the surface. Our Peak Pebbles are available in both 20mm and 40mm sizes.

More generally, if drainage is the primary concern, it’s advisable to avoid small rounded stones like pea gravel, as these can compact together over time, not allowing rainfall through, resulting in standing water and flooding.

 

20mm Shingle in Hertfordshire from Madingley Mulch

For a full rundown of all the decorative stones we have in stock, follow this link. If you aren’t sure about which type of gravel or shingle is best for your garden, call us on 01954 212144. Remember we also supply and deliver a wide variety of other gardening products, including fence panels, soil conditioners and paving stones, from our base near Cambridge.

At the moment, we have an offer on all bulk bag orders, which are reduced by a minimum of £10, and there is a further 10% discount when ordering four or more bags. We also have a number of other offers on specific products; for more details, click here.


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Prices slashed!

All Bulk bags reduced by a minimum of £10

Plus 10% off when ordering 4 + Bulk bags

Check out our current offers!