If you’re planning to do some hardscaping or landscaping, then you’ve probably heard of decomposed granite. This material is a popular choice for many homeowners and landscapers because it’s affordable, easy to install, and comes in a variety of colors. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about decomposed granite, from what it is and where to use it, to its pros and cons and how to install it properly.
What is Decomposed Granite?
Decomposed granite (often called “DG”) is a type of gravel made from the weathering of granite rocks. The granite is crushed into small pieces and then decomposed over time by natural processes, such as wind and rain. This creates a mixture of small, fine granite particles and larger chunks that range in size from a quarter-inch to three inches in diameter. The color of decomposed granite can vary from gray to pink, yellow, or even reddish-brown, depending on the type of granite used.
Where to Use Decomposed Granite?
Decomposed granite is a versatile material that can be used in a variety of applications, including:
- Patios: Decomposed granite is a great choice for patios because it’s easy to install, has a natural look, and is relatively low-maintenance.
- Pathways: DG is a popular material for garden pathways because it’s permeable, allowing water to drain through easily, and it provides a stable surface for walking.
- Driveways: DG is a durable material that can withstand heavy traffic and is often used as a substitute for concrete or asphalt driveways.
- Landscaping: Decomposed granite is also commonly used for landscaping purposes, such as for filling in garden beds or creating decorative borders around plants.
Pros and Cons of Decomposed Granite
Like any material, decomposed granite has its pros and cons. Here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages of using decomposed granite:
- Affordable: Decomposed granite is one of the most affordable hardscaping materials available, making it a great choice for budget-conscious homeowners.
- Easy to install: DG is easy to install and doesn’t require any special equipment or tools.
- Low maintenance: Once installed, decomposed granite requires very little maintenance.
- Permeable: DG is permeable, which means it allows water to drain through easily. This can help prevent erosion and runoff.
- Dusty: Decomposed granite can be dusty, which can be a problem for people with allergies or asthma.
- Can be slippery: When wet, DG can be slippery, so it’s not a good choice for areas where safety is a concern, such as steep slopes.
- Requires edging: To prevent decomposed granite from spreading, it should be edged with a border material, such as metal or concrete.
- Not suitable for heavy vehicles: DG is not suitable for areas that will be used by heavy vehicles, such as RVs or trucks.
How to Install Decomposed Granite
Prepare the Site
Before you lay the decomposed granite, you need to prepare the site properly. First, mark the area where you want to place the decomposed granite. Next, remove any grass, weeds, or rocks from the area. You can use a garden hoe, a shovel, or a rake to remove these. Make sure the area is level and smooth before laying the decomposed granite.
Once you have prepared the site, you need to install edging. Edging is essential because it prevents the decomposed granite from spilling over onto the surrounding areas. You can use various materials for edging, such as brick, stone, or metal. Make sure the edging is sturdy and firmly in place before installing the decomposed granite.
Lay the Decomposed Granite
Now you are ready to lay the decomposed granite. Start by pouring the granite onto the area you have prepared. Use a rake or a shovel to distribute the granite evenly. You can use a compactor to compact the granite, but be careful not to overdo it, as this can make the surface too hard.
Maintain the Decomposed Granite
Maintaining the decomposed granite is relatively easy. Regularly rake the surface to keep it even and remove any debris. You can also use a leaf blower to remove leaves and other organic material. If you notice any low areas, add more decomposed granite to even them out. If the surface becomes too hard or compacted, you can loosen it with a rake.
Decomposed granite is an excellent choice for hardscaping projects. It is easy to install, affordable, and low-maintenance. Whether you are creating a patio, a walkway, or a driveway, decomposed granite can add beauty and functionality to your outdoor space. By following the steps outlined above, you can create a durable and attractive surface that will last for years to come.