7 Creative Ways to Use Concrete and Gravel in Your Garden Design

Gravel is becoming a popular option for garden paths. Ensure the gravel you use is large enough not to stick in shoe soles, and choose a color that complements the surrounding landscape.

Concrete can be an incredible supporting actor, adding gravitas to modern gardens or compelling contrast outside period homes. However, it can also be a focal point in its own right.

Create a Water feature.

One of the best things about gravel garden ideas is that they can be inexpensive and low-maintenance. It also helps to reduce weeds in the planting areas by providing a layer of insulating material.

Whether you’re looking for the drama of a large pond or the serenity of a small fountain, there is an option to suit every garden size. You can even incorporate a water feature into your backyard using an old window pane, livestock trough or planter.

A poured concrete pathway can add gravitas to a modern garden design. However, this path is softened by using gravel and a mix of different sizes of pebbles.

Add a stepping stone path.

Adding a stepping stone path to your garden design is whimsical and provides a way to walk through your yard without harming the grass. This idea is also helpful for people with mobility issues.

Create a simple stepping stone path with square concrete stepping stones and gravel for a low-maintenance walkway that adds interest to your landscaping. Alternate the stones’ sizes and incorporate various colors to add contrast and a natural, random look.

For a fun touch, purchase or improvise a mold to create stepping stone handprints to give your walkway personalization and whimsy. Be sure to wear safety eyewear and gloves when working with concrete dust.

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Create a planter box.

Planter boxes can help liven up a concrete or hard-paved area without extensive landscaping. Fill them with airy blooms and dark-leaved evergreens for an eye-catching display.

Gravel is an excellent material for creating paths because it’s softer and more visually appealing than paving stones or a solid concrete surface. Plus, it allows for a more natural look in gardens while providing traction and preventing muddy footprints.

Attach the long side pieces to the leg boards using pocket screws to make a planter box. Once all of the long sides are attached, position the shorter side pieces so they’re touching and then use pocket screws to connect them.

Add a bench

Gardeners deserve a comfortable seat to enjoy the fruits of their labor between potting petunias and pulling up weeds. Whether a simple silhouette or a structural form, a DIY garden bench is an easy way to add a stylish focal point that lasts years.

A streamlined concrete bench is simple to build and will stand up long after the flowers fade. Alternatively, try an easy-to-make gravel garden that allows you to sit and admire your hard work with low-maintenance drought-resistant plants like yucca, rosemary or helichrysum.

Create a fountain

One of the best ways to make a statement in your garden is with a water feature. A fountain is visually stunning and provides a calming sound that can block out noises from neighbors or traffic.

Consider a simple fountain if you need more space for a backyard pond. This homeowner used an attractive container fountain with a shallow pot sitting inside a taller pot and caulked around the outside for a beautiful look that doesn’t require much setup.

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Gravel is also ideal for creating a hardscape around a fountain to help protect the area and make it easier to maintain. It can even surround a fire pit for an eye-catching outdoor entertainment space.

Create a birdbath

Adding a bird bath to your garden design helps attract wildlife. It also provides water for birds to drink and bathe, vital for their health. Bathing loosens dirt in their feathers and helps spread the oils that keep them waterproof.

Gravel is an inexpensive and easy alternative to paving walkways or driveways. It adds color and texture to yards and is easier to maintain than a traditional concrete project.

Upcycle an old chair or a damaged garden sink into a unique bird bath. Or, use a trash can lid as the base for a hanging birdbath.

Create a fire pit.

A fire pit is a wonderful way to add warmth and ambiance to your garden design. It also makes the area surrounding your fire pit safer, as there is less risk of grass fires from embers.

Gravel helps to soften hard-paved areas and unify spaces that may otherwise feel disconnected. Pair it with airy types of ornamental grasses and soft pillows of perennials to create a naturalistic look.

When using pavers for a fire pit circle, it is important to loosen the soil around the roots of each plant before adding the gravel. This allows for better water absorption and reduces the chance of weeds growing.