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Top 4 Tips to Make Sure You Select the Right Decorative Stone

Are you ready to upgrade the look and feel of your garden? Then it’s time to select the right decorative stone. However, as any gardener will tell you, there is a dizzying array of decorative stone options.

Are you interested in using lava rock, pea gravel or river rock? Do you need large decorative stones to form the centrepiece of a feature or small stones to replace mulch? Maybe you already have a firm grasp of what you need or maybe the content of the last few sentences didn’t make any sense to you. Fear not, as we’re going to make selecting the right decorative stone easy.

The Different Types of Decorative Stone

Before we begin providing tips on how to select the right decorative stone, it's best to have a working understanding of the different types available.



-Pea Gravel or Pebbles

Pea gravel or pebbles is what most people associate with decorative stone. You’ve likely seen this stone in thousands of gardens and homes. Individual pebbles are anywhere from 2 to 1/2 an inch wide and are extremely smooth. Peddles are available in a variety of colours and textures and are used in everything from pathways to flowerbeds.


- River Rocks

These beautiful smooth rocks are – as the name so elegantly suggests – stones harvested from a river bed. These stones are usually only a few inches wide and are smooth with an attractive matte finished.


- Lava Rock

Looking for something that little bit different? Then choose lava rocks. These grey rough stones are great as cobbles and oftentimes become a statement feature of any garden or patio.


- Gravel

Although often thought of as an aggregate, gravel is available in a variety of textures and colours making it renowned as a decorative feature. Relatively cheap and suitable for just about anything, gravel remains a popular choice in Irish gardens.


- Slate Chips

Sometimes referred to as shale, slate chips are exactly as the name suggests – broken slate pieces. Often used instead of bark mulch, slate chips are an excellent choice when you want to prevent weed growth.


Now we have touched upon the various stone options let’s get on to the decorative stone selecting tips.


#1 Keep your home’s exterior aesthetic in mind?

To ensure exterior design cohesion, a garden must represent the overall style of your home. For example, a modernist garden will clash with a Victoria style building. While a traditional garden will likely look out of place next to a modern building façade. Therefore, one of the most important points to keep in mind when selecting garden stone is the style of the home.

As a quick cheat sheet, we recommend choosing slate chips or lava rock for homes with a modern aesthetic. These sleek decorative selections help to enhance the overall design of the property.

On the other hand, older properties may be enhanced with the addition of pebbles or gravel.


#2 Think of stones in terms of shape

This may seem a little abstract, but by combining well thought out landscaping choices with decorative stones you can create a sense of order in gardens. Kerbstones can create shapes that are then filled with decorative stone. Therefore you can create flower beds, raised areas or even pathways using decorative stones. These shapes can be rectangles at the base of fences, our even ornate cycles in the centre of a patio.


#3 Design for function

Before purchasing stone, it’s important to think about what you’ll be using the various parts of your garden for. Are you going to use the garden for entertainment e.g. a defined sitting area, as a walkway e.g. a pathway or will you be planting flowers or even vegetables? These choices have an impact on the type of stone required.


#4 Work around features

The features in your garden will have an impact on the type of stone required. If you opt for a water feature, river stones are a natural choice. Maybe you’re planning on installing a fire pit? Peddles can look great surrounding a sitting area. If you plan to grow plants in flower beds, slate chips can help prevent weeds.

Whatever the feature make sure to select the right decorative stone.


The above should help get you thinking about what type of stone is right for your garden. However, if you still need a bit of expert advice please visit the patio centre for some one-to-one expert advice or visit or decorative stone page. 


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