Jalapeno DG for outdoor patio

9 Things to Know About Landscaping with Decomposed Granite or DG

Aug 20, '20

Do you want to spruce up your yard in an affordable way? Are you tired of the look of mulch and don't want to spend multiple times a year replacing it?

Then you may want to consider decomposed granite or D.G. for short.

This natural stone product has a better look and comes in a wide variety of colors to suit any home exterior. Even better, it lasts longer than mulch, so you can spend less time on its upkeep.  

If this piques your interest in your latest yard project, then read on to learn the top seven things you need to know about landscaping with decomposed granite! 

1. What Is Decomposed Granite? 

First, it helps to know a little bit about decomposed granite and why it's such great material for landscaping. Decomposed granite is similar to small gravel; however, it containes more "fines" or rock dust.

Once wet and compacted it is harder and more stable than gravel, so it won't crumble and become finer over time. Decomposed Granite is the term used in landscape industry to describe a granular stone surfacing material (not always granitic in origin) which consists of particle sizs ranging from 3/8" maximum down to very fine rock dust particles. This mixture of sizes allows for the correct blend of large particles "strength, medium sizes "space filler", and fines "binders"

You may hear one or more of the following terms depending on where you are located in the country.  All of them are describing products which have the same behavioral characteristics as decomposed granite: Rock Dust, Crusher Fines, Disintegrated Granite, & Chat.

There are several different types of decomposed granite.  

2. Natural Decomposed Granite

This is a great alternative to mulch that can be placed around plants, shrubs, and trees. It also lasts far longer than mulch.

You'll find that natural decomposed granite offers better drainage and is great for keeping plants warmer during the winter. 

3. Decomposed Granite With Stabilizers 

Decomposed granite with stabilizers is your best option for walkable pathways, outdoor patios, and driveways.

There are many options out there for binding agents to mix with Decomposed Granite.  We use an organic pyllium based binder which is preblended with the D.G. before shipping.  Once it has been wet and compacted, it creates less dust in dry conditions and less mud in wet conditions than the non-stabilized form.  The finished appearance of stabilized D.G. is much more of a natural look compared to asphalt or concrete and is still considered a permeable surface.

4. Costs

The best part about decomposed granite is that it's relatively inexpensive compared with other solutions such as concrete or pavers.

Cost typically statrt at $40 to $50 per cubic yard for locally available options, whereas more exotic colors will be higher. It's also durable and easy to maintain. If cracks start to form on driveways or pathways, these can easily be fixed by adding smaller decomposed granite particles and tamping them down. 

5. Design Choices

Decomposed granite is also available in a number of different shades and over 30 different colors.  All D.G. colors are the natural color of the stone it originated from and no dyes or coloring agents have been added.

You'll be able to find a shade and color that suits your exterior the best. Homeowners also have the option of using multiple shades and colors in order to add depth and interest to their yards. 

Here are just a few of the colors you can choose from: 

  • Brown
  • Gold
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Rose
  • White

Homeowners and business owners can even have two colors mixed, such as green and white, in order to create dynamic colors that are unique for their exterior. 

6. Easy Installation

You'll also find that installing decomposed granite is relatively straightforward. In the areas that you'll want the granite, you'll need to have a flat, weed-free surface. You'll want to dig about eight to 12 inches below where you want the granite to be. 

In order to ensure that weeds won't continue to grow through the granite, it's also recommended to spray weed killer on the areas. A layer of base underneath compacted DG path or driveway may be necessary to increase its stability over time. 

Decomposed granite can be installed next to fences, borders, or walls without damaging the material. However, you'll want to install some kind of edging/retaining material in order to ensure that the granite doesn't scatter across your yard. 

7. Soften Transitions

Although decomposed granite is made from a hard material, using them in your landscaping actually helps soften your exteriors. This is because it's a finer material that looks similar in textural quality to sand. You can use this in conjunction with pavers and plants in your yard to soften harsh lines and create a more natural appearance. 

Since the individual granules are so small, the decomposed granite can also be packed so that its flush with the ground, making for seamless transitions. 

8. Outdoor Rugs

You can also use decomposed granite as if it were an outdoor area rug in entertainment areas.

This helps define a space but also makes it more inviting compared to harsh concrete or pavers. However, you'll need to be sure that you make some space between the DG and any entrances because it tends to stick to shoes and track. 

9. Replacing Lawn

Decomposed granite can also be used to replace the lawn.

The best part about it is that it's still permeable, so rainwater will be able to get through into the soil beneath without running off and collecting near your home. Decomposed Granite doesn't need to be maintained as closely as grass, and because of its soft, natural appearance, you'll still have a beautiful yard that people can walk, entertain, and play on. 

Beautiful Landscaping With Decomposed Granite

If you're ready to make a change to your home's landscaping, decomposed granite may be the right choice for you. This inexpensive material is versatile, affordable, and easy to maintain, meaning that you're not likely to regret your investment. 

The best part is that there are several different types of decomposed granite that are created for specific purposes. If you're looking for a material to surround your plants and trees in an attractive and practical way, then non-stabilized decomposed granite is your best choice. 

On the other hand, if you're looking to create pathways or replace your asphalt driveway, then decomposed granite with added stabilizers is better. With more than 30 colors and shades to choose from, you'll be able to find a color that suits your exterior without standing out. 

Ready to begin your newest yard project? Take a look at our decomposed granite samples so you can decide what suits your yard today!