Understanding the different types of garden stones

Last Updated: 11th Apr 2023

Garden stones are an essential element in landscaping, adding functionality, texture, and visual interest to outdoor spaces. With a variety of types, sizes, and colors available, garden stones can be used in numerous ways, from constructing pathways and driveways to accentuating flower beds and water features. In this article, we will explore the different types of garden stones and their applications to help you make an informed decision for your next landscaping project.


Gravel consists of small, naturally rounded or semi-rounded stones, varying in size from tiny particles to larger pebbles. This versatile garden stone is a popular choice for driveways, pathways, and landscaping projects, thanks to its affordability and low-maintenance nature. Gravel promotes effective drainage and can be used to prevent soil erosion in areas with heavy rainfall.


  • Affordable and widely available
  • Low-maintenance and easy to install
  • Provides good drainage and erosion control
  • Suitable for various applications, such as driveways, walkways, and landscaping


  • Can be prone to shifting and spreading over time, requiring occasional raking or replenishing
  • Rounded shapes may not interlock as well as angular stones, potentially reducing stability
  • May not be the most visually appealing option compared to other stone types

Check our our range of decorative gravel.

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Chippings, also known as decorative aggregates, are crushed stones with angular, irregular shapes. Produced by mechanically crushing larger rocks or quarry stones, chippings come in various sizes and colors. Their unique shapes provide better interlocking and stability compared to gravel, making them ideal for decorative purposes in landscaping, pathways, and driveways.


  • Angular shapes provide better interlocking and stability
  • Available in a wide range of colors and sizes
  • Suitable for decorative purposes in landscaping, pathways, and driveways
  • Can create a neat, modern appearance


  • May be more expensive than gravel
  • Can be uncomfortable to walk on due to the angular shapes
  • May require a weed control membrane to prevent weed growth between stones


Cobbles are larger, rounded or semi-rounded stones, typically ranging from 2.5 to 10 inches in size. Due to their size and shape, cobbles are often used to create borders, edging, and retaining walls in garden designs. They can also be used to construct pathways or driveways, adding a rustic, charming appeal to your outdoor space.


  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Can be used for a variety of applications, such as borders, edging, and retaining walls
  • Add a rustic, charming appeal to garden designs
  • Available in different sizes and materials, providing options for various styles


  • Can be more expensive than other stone types
  • Installation may be more labor-intensive due to their size and weight
  • Can be difficult to walk on or push wheeled equipment over, making them less suitable for pathways and driveways

Check our our range of decorative cobbles.


Pebbles are small, smooth stones that have been naturally shaped and polished by water, wind, or other environmental factors. Available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and textures, pebbles can be used to create visually appealing garden features, such as borders, ground cover, or accents around water features and plant beds.


  • Smooth, polished appearance adds visual interest and a natural look
  • Available in various colors, sizes, and textures
  • Can be used for a range of decorative purposes, such as borders, ground cover, and water feature accents
  • Generally comfortable to walk on


  • May not provide the same level of stability as angular stones
  • Can be more expensive than gravel
  • May require periodic cleaning or replacement due to algae growth or discoloration

Check our our range of decorative pebbles.


Slate is a metamorphic rock that is prised for its unique texture, color variations, and durability. Slate chippings are available in various sizes and colors, including blue, green, and plum, making them a popular choice for decorative purposes in landscaping. They can be used as ground cover, mulch, or to create striking pathways and patio areas.


  • Unique texture and color variations make it an attractive choice for landscaping
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Can be used for various applications, such as ground cover, mulch, and pathways
  • Available in different sizes and colors, allowing for customization


  • Can be more expensive than other stone types
  • May be prone to chipping or flaking over time
  • Can be slippery when wet, posing a potential safety hazard for walkways and patios

Check our our range of decorative slates.

With so many choices available, how do you choose?

Choosing between different garden stones depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the intended purpose of the stones. Consider the primary function of the stones in your landscaping project. 

For example, if you need stones for a driveway or walkway, prioritize materials that offer stability and durability, such as chippings or gravel. For decorative purposes, such as borders or accents around water features, pebbles or slate chippings might be more suitable.

Think about the overall look you want to achieve in your outdoor space. Choose garden stones that complement the existing design and color scheme of your landscape. Consider the size, shape, and color of the stones and how they will enhance the visual appeal of your garden.

Consider the amount of time and effort you are willing to dedicate to maintaining the appearance and functionality of your chosen stones. Some garden stones may require more maintenance than others. For instance, gravel may need occasional raking or replenishing, while pebbles might require periodic cleaning due to algae growth.

Garden stones can vary significantly in price, so it’s essential to factor in your budget when making a decision. If the garden stones will be used in an area with foot traffic, consider the comfort and safety of those who will walk on them. Pebbles and gravel are generally more comfortable to walk on than chippings or cobbles, and slate can be slippery when wet.

Finally, some garden stones are sourced more sustainably than others. Research the origin and production process of the stones to make a more environmentally friendly choice.

Our friendly team is available to help you make the right choice for you project. Give us a call on 0113 320 0890 and we’ll be more than happy to talk to you today


Garden stones play a crucial role in enhancing the beauty and functionality of outdoor spaces. By understanding the different types of garden stones, including gravel, chippings, cobbles, pebbles, and slate, you can select the ideal material to complement your landscape design and bring your vision to life. With their diverse applications, garden stones can transform any outdoor space into a stunning, inviting haven.

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