News and Ideas

Decorative aggregates: what’s the difference?

A beautiful garden doesn’t have to mean hours on hands and knees pruning and digging – with decorative aggregates it’s easy to create a low-maintenance space that looks smart and tidies up with ease.  

Using decorative chippings, slate and stones in the garden is an easy and economical way to transform a space – but when it comes to choosing the right decorative aggregate, what should be used where and more importantly, what’s the difference? 

Here, we’re explaining the difference between decorative chippings, slate and pebbles. 

What are chippings? 

Chippings are small slices of stone with each individual piece measuring between 8 and 32mm across depending on the style. They come in a variety of materials colours, all of which are easy to lay in the garden for a considered finish. The most popular uses are to finish driveways, beds and as plant toppers. 

What is slate? 

Slate chips are slightly larger than chippings with an average size of 20 – 40mm, and have a smoother finish than gravel when laid, its sleeker overall texture creating a flatter path underfoot. Slate chippings especially are ideal for enhancing the finish of paths, borders and driveways thanks to its subtle reflective face and fairly uniform colour. They also add flair to rockeries and fish ponds, although please check the slate is fish friendly. Slate is available in a range of colours, most of which are matched by larger rockery for cohesive garden placement. 

What are pebbles? 

Decorative pebbles are used on top of plants to improve water retention and aesthetics. Pebbles bring a coastal feel to the garden with their rounded shape, formed when rock is exposed to running water and tumbled to create smooth edges. Decorative pebbles are available in a wide range of colours and sizes between 6 and 45mm, which makes them ideal for creating patterns and mosaic effects in ponds (please check they’re fish friendly before using), rockeries and waterfalls, or around the garden for borders and edging. It’s easy to get creative with pebbles, especially by combining with rockery and boulders for a mix of height and texture. 


What are cobbles? 

Sometimes referred to as cobblestones or river rocks, cobbles are round and smooth rocks that are larger than pebbles but smaller than boulders, measuring at about 50 – 120mm across. The larger size makes them ideal for decorative use on borders, in rockeries and water features, or in a driveway gabion. You can use cobbles for mulch to protect plants in beds, and They also add style to fish ponds, although please check the cobbles are fish friendly. To use cobbles underfoot, try filling deliberate gaps between the crips lines of pavers to create an interesting contrast. 

What is rockery? 

Using rockery stones in the garden is a great way to display plants and create an attractive feature. Measuring at around 260 – 320mm, they help create a fantastic space to display plants and watch them thrive. With clever design tactics, you can build a rockery that works for both sun-loving plants and shade-happy ones too. Rockery stones can also be used to create a stunning water feature in any sized garden. Available in a varied range of styles, whether you want to complement your natural landscape or create a stylish contrast. 

Which is better? 

Now you know the difference between decorative stones, you might be asking which is best, but the answer is: they’re all a great choice, depending on design and functional needs. By using smaller stones underfoot and larger stones for enhancement, it’s possible to create an outdoor space that’s safe, smart and practical all year round. 

Decorative aggregates can make a stylish impact with very little upkeep since a layer of stones suppresses weeds, allows for drainage and is unaffected by the weather.

If you’re ready to use decorative stones in your garden, browse the range today or find your nearest stockist.

If you’re a retailer looking to stock Kelkay decorative aggregates, get in touch with our team today by registering your interest.

If you’re already a retailer, head to the Kelkay trade portal for more educational and merchandising support. Alternatively, contact your sales manager now.

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