Types of Gravel

Gravel is a loose term that generally refers to small rocks or pebbles smaller than cobblestones. However, there are different types of gravel based on their composition. Each has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks. In this guide, we will discuss the most popular types of gravel and their uses.

So, what is gravel?

Gravel is a type of rock that has been broken down into small pieces. It is a coarse-grained sedimentary rock composed of rounded particles of various materials that are cemented together. It is generally larger than sand and smaller than boulders, although the definition varies by field within geology.

Gravel can be found in rivers, lakes, beaches, and on the seabed. It has a variety of uses. It is a typical surface on roads throughout the world, particularly in rural regions where there isn’t much traffic. Some towns use gravel as filler between the paves in concrete. It is often used as a building material or in landscaping projects.

Gravel comes in a variety of colors and sizes, so it can be used to create a variety of different looks. It is also relatively affordable, making it a popular choice for many homeowners.

Types of gravel


Crushed Stone

Crushed stone is made from pulverized rock or stone that has been heated and cooled to create a textured surface. The texture may be smooth or contain small particles that give it a rougher feel. They’ve been carefully screened and sized so that they’re ideally suited for the construction and surfacing of a residential front drive.

A gravel that consists of small, rounded stones is perfect for concrete surfaces and driveways because it allows water to drain through it with ease. It is the most common type of gravel, and it is often used as a base material for roads and other construction projects.

Angular pieces of crushed stone are ideal for driveways, pathways, or as a base material. It’s also great for constructing driveways and walkways because they won’t get muddy when it rains!

  • Pro: This type of gravel is very durable and can withstand heavy traffic. It is also easy to install because it doesn’t need much work before being used as a base for roads or other construction projects.
  • Con: It can be difficult to remove if you want to change the location where the crushed stone has been laid down.


Pea gravel

Pea gravel is a small round rock that got its name because the rocks are about the size of a pea. In reality, pea gravel comes in different sizes — 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch, and 5/8 inches are common sizes. It typically comes in a range of tan, brown and white color mixes but will sometimes have other colors mixed in.

Pea gravel is relatively smooth but not as smooth as river rock. It provides good drainage around homes and flower beds. It is often used for walkways and driveways because it does not become muddy in wet weather. It can also be used in landscaping projects because its round shape helps to prevent soil erosion.

  • Pro: This type of gravel is fairly easy to maintain and won’t become muddy in wet weather, which makes it perfect for walkways or driveways
  • Con: May not withstand heavy traffic well.


River rock

This type of gravel is made up of smooth, rounded stones that have been smoothed by water flow. It is often used in landscaping to create natural-looking ponds and streams.

  • Pro: This type of gravel requires more maintenance than pea gravel because its smooth surface needs regular cleaning so that water can flow through easily
  • Con: There could be flooding problems. It also tends to be more expensive than other types of gravel.



This is a sedimentary rock that has been compressed over millions of years. It can be used as an aggregate in concrete, but it is more commonly used as a decorative material for walls and floors.

It comes in many colors and sizes, depending on how long the sandstone was under pressure before being exposed to air.

  • Pro: It is easy to maintain and can withstand heavy traffic.
  • Con: It may not work well for walkways or driveways because its smooth surface requires regular cleaning so that water flows through easily and doesn’t get clogged up with dirt from people walking on them (which could lead to flooding problems).



Due to its wide availability and versatility, limestone is the most common rock type used to make crushed stone. It is also easy to crush because it is soft.

The softness of the stone makes it easy to work with and also causes it to hold its shape well. This makes limestone an ideal material for driveways because as vehicles drive over the top layer of crushed rock, they will grind down any rough edges that have formed during the transportation or installation process.

Limestone is available in different sizes, so it is important when choosing a type of gravel for your driveway that you select one that has been graded appropriately according to its intended use.

  • Pro: Limestone is a great choice for driveways because it’s easily accessible, affordable, and durable.
  • Con: It’s susceptible to water damage and must be regularly maintained to prevent mold growth and potholes.


Factors to consider before choosing gravel type



The most common sizes are:

  • Crushed stone: This type of gravel ranges in size from about ¼ inch to about ½ inch.
  • Pea gravel: This type of gravel ranges in size from about ⅛ inch to about ¾ inch.
  • River rock: This type of rock varies in size, but it is typically larger than pea gravel (ranging from about ¾ inch to about several inches).
  • Sandstone: This type of stone ranges in size from tiny particles to rocks that are several inches in diameter.

The size of the gravel varies depending on what type you choose; however, all these types tend to be larger than pea gravel (which is often less than ⅛ inch).


Gravel comes in a variety of shapes. There are those that have more rounded edges and those with jagged, pointy edges.

Flat: One side of this type of stone is flat and smooth, while the other side has an uneven appearance. Flat stones may also be referred to as stepping stones or patio pavers since they provide an even walking surface. They’re great for building paths through your yard or flowerbeds when you want a natural-looking path instead of mulch or wood chips. Types include limestone, granite, and sandstone.

Class V: This type is characterized by its jagged, pointy edges. It’s perfect for filling in areas where you want a more rugged look or when you need something to hold up better under heavy traffic (like a driveway). Types include granite and basalt.


The color of the gravel also varies depending on what type you choose. Crushed stone typically has colors that range from light beige to dark brown. That’s where you can find white gravel. While pea gravel is usually shades of green, blue, or black. A popular name is also black gravel.  River rock can be found in many colors since it comes from alluvial deposits (meaning it was formed from sediments deposited by water).

Colors can vary greatly and may even include reds and oranges. Sandstone types include red, tan, or buff and can have a variety of colors.


The durability of the gravel also varies depending on what type you choose. Crushed stone is relatively durable and can withstand moderate traffic without becoming compacted. Pea gravel is not as durable and may only be suitable for areas with light traffic (such as in a flowerbed). River rock is very durable and can withstand heavy traffic without becoming compacted. Sandstone is also quite durable but may not be suitable for high-traffic areas since it can become scratched or chipped fairly easily.


The cost of the gravel will vary depending on the type you choose and where you live. Crushed stone tends to be the least expensive option, while river rock is generally more expensive than pea gravel.

Tips for choosing the right gravel for your project

  1. When choosing between these types of gravel, consider how much traffic your area will receive and if you want something that looks natural (such as crushed stone) or something with more character like river rock.
  2. You’ll also need to think about what size would work best for your needs – smaller stones are usually less expensive but require more maintenance because they get compacted easily when exposed to heavy foot traffic on top of them; larger ones are better suited for areas where there isn’t much activity because they won’t get compacted as easily.
  3. When it comes to color, crushed stone typically has a more natural look, while river rock can come in many colors.
  4. If you’re looking for something that will last and doesn’t require much maintenance, then consider using river rock or another type of durable gravel. However, if you’re on a budget or don’t mind doing some occasional upkeep, crushed stone is a great option.



Gravel can be both an attractive and functional alternative to stone. Both decorative gravel and non-decorative gravel have a myriad of uses for homeowners as well as contractors.

Gravel is one of the most versatile products available that can be used in many ways, but it’s important for anyone considering using gravel for their project to understand the various types of gravel before making their final decision.