What is River Gravel?

G. Wiesen

River gravel consists primarily of stones that have been naturally smoothed and rounded due to the flow of water around and over them over a long period of time. These stones are often found in rivers and similar watery areas, though they can be produced artificially as well. Gravel of this type can range a great deal in size, though it is typically small enough to fit in the palm of a person’s hand and can also vary widely with respect to color. River gravel can be used in decorative ways, often in gardens, ponds, or fountains, and it can be used in paving roads and walkways as well.

River gravel is rocks that have been smoothed over time by constantly flowing water.
River gravel is rocks that have been smoothed over time by constantly flowing water.

As the name may suggest, river gravel is often found in rivers and other bodies of water. The flow and motion of water over, around, and across these stones naturally smooths and rounds the stones through erosion. This produces gravel that tends to have a smooth and pleasant appearance, often making it perfect for use in an area where people may be walking without shoes or purely for decorative purposes. The color, shape, and size of river gravel can vary a great deal, typically depending on the area in which the gravel is found and the types of rock native to the area.

River gravel is often used for decorative purposes due to the naturally smooth and fluid shape the stones have. They can be used in ponds and fountains to provide a natural appearance since many people tend to associate this type of gravel with water. This gravel can also be used in gardens to create focal points of color that contrast the shape and organic appearance of the flowers or plants. The rounded shape of river gravel allows rainwater to flow off of the stones, allowing soil and roots beneath them to receive the water.

There are also a number of applications in which river gravel can be used in paving or making roadways and sidewalks. This is often done by combining the stones with a concrete mixture that hardens and sets the stone to create a strong and durable surface. Since the stones are naturally flat and smooth, this makes for a surface that can be easily driven on without damaging vehicle tires. This type of surface can also be created for a walkway, especially one around a yard or a swimming pool; the river gravel naturally add color and texture to the concrete and can be walked on comfortably with bare feet.

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