How to create a decorative dry river bed using aggregates

decorative river bed

Dry river beds are beautiful landscape features which can add character and charm to gardens of all sizes. In addition to their alluring, rural aesthetic, dry river beds are also extremely low maintenance.

When it comes to creating your own dry river bed, the possibilities really are endless. From functional to solely ornamental, the great thing about dry river beds is that they can be completely tailored to suit their environment, and the taste of their owner.

Consider what you want from your dry river bed: Do you want something beautiful to awe at from your garden lounger, something unique and quirky or, simply something practical?

Once you’ve decided it’s then time to explore material options. Aggregates are a necessity for creating an authentic dry river bed look.

However, if a natural feel is not what you’re after then you may want to experiment with other materials such as crushed glass or wood.

River bed placement and size

Alongside material choice one of the first things you will need to consider is how large your river bed will be and where it is going to go.

For small gardens, ornamental river beds are the most viable option. In contrast, if you have a larger space to play with you may want to allow your river bed to function as a walk way, as well as a decorative piece.

It’s also important to consider whether or not you would like your river bed to be level with the ground or sunken. Of course, if you choose the latter some excavation work will be required.

Functional river beds

If you choose the correct materials, it’s easy to create a marvellous decorative piece that doubles as a practical path.

If you want your river bed to be stable under foot, the key is to choose smaller aggregates; the smaller the aggregate the easier to walk on.

However, if you’re aiming to achieve an authentic look you will still need to incorporate aggregates of various sizes in your overall design.

To do this, keep small aggregates to the centre of the river bed and place larger aggregates towards the outer edge.


Before you lay any aggregates you will want to lay down a ground sheet. Some may welcome wild plants and weeds in their river bed, as they can add to its natural style…
Continue reading the article and learn more about decorative river beds on Mike Gregory’s home improvement blog.

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