Does Your Yard Have a Landscaping Theme?

Gravel Or Flagstone For A Less Slippery Garden Path?

by Dan Mckinney

A garden path is a lovely type of hardscaping that benefits any yard. When it rains, though, that path can become too slippery to safely walk on. Unless you like walking through wet grass and soggy mud, you should try to find a material for the path that offers a little more traction. Some materials stand out, such as gravel or, in many cases, flagstone. If you're not making your decision based on how they look (which is admittedly a big issue for many homeowners), they both offer some advantages that, with the right care, can help you stay upright when walking along the path.

Getting Specific About the Type

Gravel can offer built-in traction if the base isn't completely muddy. Flagstone can be slip-resistant, but it depends on the variety. You have to choose a flagstone type that is specifically called out as being slip-resistant. Some flagstone types can be very slippery when it rains, and you don't want to confuse one type for the other. It's not hard to find the slip-resistant types, but you do need to be careful to avoid mistakes.

What's the Base Like?

Flagstones have to be set in a stable base that allows for good drainage. Gravel can be simply spread along the ground. That makes gravel easier to add in many areas if the ground itself is stable. But if the ground consists of soil that easily turns into a muddy mess in rain, for example, gravel can become a mess itself and easily move when you step on it, creating a slippery situation; it would require a base layer just like flagstones would.

Keeping Them Clean

Whichever you choose, you'll need to keep them clean because algae can make even rough stones rather slippery. If you're in a region where algae and moss growth on structures are common, you face more of a falling risk. If you have flagstones, you can pressure-wash them to remove the algae. Removing algae from gravel (such as Nostoc algae, which appears after rain) can take longer as you first need to kill off the algae and then repair the area to ensure better drainage. This includes periodically cleaning the stones, so flagstones are a great choice for those who like pressure washing or who want a one-and-done type of solution. For those who don't want to resort to machinery and who don't mind follow-up maintenance, gravel could work very well.

There's Always Sealant

If there's a particular type of landscaping stone that you really want but that also has a reputation for being very slippery when wet, you can always resort to using a sealant that gives surfaces a grippy texture. These don't necessarily make the stone feel rough to the touch; some are unobtrusive. But they make the surface a little easier for shoes and feet to grab onto. That doesn't mean you can run around in the rain without a care, but you can be a little more confident in your steps.

For more information, contact a local company, like Shippensburg Stone & Supply.