Landscaping With Decomposed Granite

Published on: May 08, 2023

Do You Yearn for a Trouble-Free Yard?

The days of yard work every weekend are over. Homeowners want to spend time with their family and friends, not mowing the lawn or weeding. That’s why today’s dream landscape is a beautiful, useful, and low-maintenance hardscape. It lends itself to effortless entertaining and outrageous curb appeal without all the trouble caused by lawns and fussy gardens. If you are a DIY home enthusiast interested in a low-maintenance yard, decomposed granite is a fantastic choice for your next landscaping project. Read more to discover the best ways to landscape with decomposed granite.

What is Decomposed Granite?

Decomposed granite, or DG for short, is a highly versatile landscape rock that is available in many colors. It’s often used for patios, garden pathways, flowerbeds, parks, driveways, and other high-traffic areas. It’s sturdy enough to last for years – especially if mixed with a soil stabilizer. DG is a very attractive groundcover for those who are looking for a one-and-done landscaping solution.

What is decomposed granite?

The Differences Between DG & Other Landscape Rock

Traditionally, DG has been one of the least expensive pathway materials. In addition to having the right price, it can be used on hilly paths with less erosion potential than other landscape rock products.

Its permeability allows water to drain down into the soil, and when mixed with a stabilizer, DG keeps its hold better. Even so, a dry climate with occasional rain is its preferred environment, since it will keep the top layer from breaking down.

The Differences Between DG & Other Landscape Rock

Popular Decomposed Granite Projects

Here are a few of the most popular applications for decomposed granite in your landscape design.

Use DG for Your Patio Ground Cover or Flower Bed Base Mulch

In a xeriscaped garden, DG can be used as a ground covering the same way you would use gravel, sand, or crushed rock. Using DG for patios is also great because the material drains well and prevents weeds from breaking through. You can also use different colors to create a checkerboard – or any – design.

DG also makes a great mulch material. Most people think of mulch as a dressing of bark chips, sawdust, or other wood material, but DG not only fills that role, it lasts longer than wood mulch since it won’t decompose. It may last many seasons, making it a wise investment.

Use DG for Your Patio Ground Cover or Flower Bed Base Mulch


Build a Decomposed Granite Pathway or Garden Trail

Build a Decomposed Granite Pathway or Garden Trail

Paths made with DG are easier on the feet than gravel or crushed rocks. DG’s edges are tiny and not particularly sharp. It’s almost like walking on sand, – although, when stabilized and compacted, it can feel much harder than sand. If interested in creating this project, take a look at our blog post, What You’ll Need for Your Decomposed Granite Pathway.

Because of its small-to-particle-like composition, DG can handle a certain amount of incline when mixed with soil stabilizers that will keep it holding its own. You can even buy DG that is pre-mixed with a stabilizer.

Create a DG Play Area or Sports Surface

DG creates an attractive play area for homeowners who are also looking to upgrade their yards for outdoor entertaining. DG has commonly been used in baseball diamonds and running tracks because of its weather resistance and value. For active play, it is often mixed with clay to create a smoother surface.

For you bocce fans out there, check out our blog post, How to Build a Bocce Ball Court. Southwest Boulder & Stone carries a variety of custom-made “Bocce Blends” to make your court as attractive as it is functional. A bocce court also makes a great place to pitch horseshoes!

Create a DG Play Area or Sports Surface

Install a DG Driveway

Install a Decomposed Granite Driveway

Decomposed granite is a fantastic choice for driveway material because it’s an inexpensive solution that’s both hard-wearing and has excellent drainage. Some people like its crunchy sound.

As mentioned before, DG comes in a variety of colors, which makes it a great option for creating an inexpensive driveway that can match or enhance your home. Choose Graphite Gray or Golden White Ice for the traditional driveway tones, or opt for a vibrant color like Brimstone.

Choosing DG Type & Stabilizer

Decomposed granite is a mostly uniform combination of 3/8”- pebble, coarse sand, and dusty particles. Some of the DGs sold by Southwest Boulder & Stone are described as “fines”, meaning its mix has a higher degree of particles among the coarse sand and pebble-sized textures.

DG lasts longer when it’s used with a soil stabilizer, like Marloc-SS. Stabilizers hold decomposed granite in place creating a longer-lasting surface for patios and pathways. It helps to reduce weed growth, dust, and soil erosion associated with weather and high foot traffic. All of our DG varieties are available with and without a stabilizer.

Choosing DG Type & Stabilizer

How to Choose the Right Color of Decomposed Granite

How to Choose the Right Color of Decomposed Granite

Southwest Boulder & Stone’s selection of decomposed granite comes in a wide range of colors. The right color for you depends on whether you’re looking for a neutral or an accent color. A rule of thumb for choosing colors is “curb appeal” in the front and “statement” in the back. Either way, there are plenty of colors to choose from!

How to Install DG

Installing decomposed granite can be easy, especially when used for mulch and as a flower bed base. The following directions apply to more complicated projects. Feel free to ask your Southwest Boulder & Gravel representative if you have any questions.


Design & Layout

After deciding on where you’d like to install your DG, measure, and stake out the lines of your installation area with construction paint.


Perimeter Edging

Set the perimeter of your installation area with bender boards, wood edging, or steel edging, and fasten it with stakes.


Excavate & Compact

Using a spade shovel, remove the top 4” of soil below the top of your edging material and compact the area with a hand tamper or vibratory plate.


Coverage Calculator

Use our helpful coverage calculator to determine how much material you’ll need for the project.


Add Rock Subbase (For Pathway Installation)

Line the area with 2” of DG or construction-grade crushed rock and compact it with a hand tamper.


Lay Down Landscape Fabric

Roll out a layer of weed barrier over the compacted base or soil and fasten with landscape fabric staples.


Fill the Area with Decomposed Granite

Pour out enough material to fill the remaining 2” of space below your edging material and rake out evenly. Add soil stabilizer to the top layer if necessary. Compact again.

If you have any questions or need any guidance with your project, feel free to contact the staff at your nearest Southwest Boulder & Granite Store. We’re here to help!

Tools Needed to Install DG

Tools Needed

  • Steel, wood, or bender board edging material
  • Wooden stakes and twine
  • Level
  • Tape measure (or iPhone app)
  • Garden shears
  • Square shovel
  • Metal rake
  • Hand tamper and/or vibratory plate
  • Weed barrier fabric and staples
  • Utility knife
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Soil stabilizer (Marloc-SS or other) if needed

The Benefits of a Backyard Oasis

Once you complete your DIY decomposed granite project, the advantage of using beautiful, versatile DG becomes instantly apparent. What’s more, it will last for many seasons without needing too much maintenance. Somewhere down the road, you may want to replace the top layer, as DG will gradually fade or erode according to the elements to which it’s exposed.

Having a beautiful property has another benefit. The current home trend of using your outdoor area as an extension of your indoor living space isn’t going away. So if you worked on this project with an eye toward increasing home value, that’s a win-win. Buyers will appreciate the clean, carefree look of an outdoor living area that won’t have them working on it every weekend.

The Benefits of a Backyard Oasis

Share This Article!