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The New Gravel Backyard: 10 Inspiring Landscape Designs

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The New Gravel Backyard: 10 Inspiring Landscape Designs

May 13, 2019

We’ve pondered over our neglected backyard for years now. Our garden deserves more than a weed-filled lawn and a few patches of dirt. This year we hired a landscape architect to help put our ideas to paper, and now we’re finally ready to fix the landscape.

The design is simple, manicured, and geometric; the 60-by-60-square-foot backyard will be lined in a horizontal cedar fence, following straight planting beds (think lots of boxwood shrubs), geometric gravel paths, and centered with a square lawn in the middle. Look at these 10 geometric backyard gardens with gravel paving, and you’ll see what inspired me.

Quartz Gravel

Above: These garden paths are lined with pearly quartz gravel. The gravel also functions as a transition between the hardscaping of the terrace and the softer garden plantings. For more, see Landscape Architect Visit: A London Terrace Gets a Grownup Update from del Buono Gazerwitz.

Pavers in Gravel

Designer Naomi Sanders edges a gravel hardscape with tightly clipped borders of box to create a dramatic contrast between gray and green. Photograph by Jennifer Roper. For more of this garden, see Before & After: A Grande Dame in LA&#8\2\17;s Hancock Park.
Above: Designer Naomi Sanders edges a gravel hardscape with tightly clipped borders of box to create a dramatic contrast between gray and green. Photograph by Jennifer Roper. For more of this garden, see Before & After: A Grande Dame in LA’s Hancock Park.

Gravel and Boxwood

Paved with gravel, a patio complements adjacent bluestone pavers. Boxwood balls planted in straight rows create symmetry in this Brooklyn garden enclosed by a slatted wood fence. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista. For more of this garden, see our Gardenista Book.
Above: Paved with gravel, a patio complements adjacent bluestone pavers. Boxwood balls planted in straight rows create symmetry in this Brooklyn garden enclosed by a slatted wood fence. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista. For more of this garden, see our Gardenista Book.

Gravel Pit

Photograph by Jack Thompson courtesy of Robertson Design. A gravel pit centered in a wood deck creates a serene symmetry.
Above: Photograph by Jack Thompson courtesy of Robertson Design. A gravel pit centered in a wood deck creates a serene symmetry.

Modern Gravel

In a Brooklyn backyard, garden designer Brook Klausing edged limestone pavers with crushed limestone dust mixed with gravel. “It’s a very modern look, but I tried to soften it with the gravel and plantings, like the ferns in the gravel,” says Klausing. For more of this garden, see Designer Visit: Brook Klausing Elevates a Brooklyn Backyard. Photograph via Brook Landscape.
Above: In a Brooklyn backyard, garden designer Brook Klausing edged limestone pavers with crushed limestone dust mixed with gravel. “It’s a very modern look, but I tried to soften it with the gravel and plantings, like the ferns in the gravel,” says Klausing. For more of this garden, see Designer Visit: Brook Klausing Elevates a Brooklyn Backyard. Photograph via Brook Landscape.

Gravel Lawn

Above: A gravel “lawn” surrounded by graceful ferns looks airy and green. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

Gravel Patio

Landscape architect Christine Ten Eyck&#8\2\17;s gravel patio in her walled garden in Austin, Texas. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.
Above: Landscape architect Christine Ten Eyck’s gravel patio in her walled garden in Austin, Texas. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

Gravel and Grass

A small lawn of turf grass is bordered by straight planting beds; a row of hydrangeas marches alongside a gravel path. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.
Above: A small lawn of turf grass is bordered by straight planting beds; a row of hydrangeas marches alongside a gravel path. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

Gravel Fire Pit

 Photograph by Jim Powell for Gardenista. Surrounded by woodland, a gravel seating circle surrounds a fire pit and provides a buffer between sparks and the garden. For more of this project, see Lessons Learned: From “Neglected” Slope to Charming Garden, in South London.
Above: Photograph by Jim Powell for Gardenista. Surrounded by woodland, a gravel seating circle surrounds a fire pit and provides a buffer between sparks and the garden. For more of this project, see Lessons Learned: From “Neglected” Slope to Charming Garden, in South London.

Gravel Squares

Above: This geometric garden in a Brooklyn backyard, designed by Susan Welti of Foras Studio, features bluestone pavers, pea gravel, and square flower beds.

For more backyard inspiration (and gravel), see:

Finally, learn how to successfully use gravel in a hardscape project with our Hardscaping 101: Gravel Guide.

N.B.: This is an update of a post published on August 10, 2015.

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