What are aggregates?

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We get calls from people all the time looking for advice on their garden projects. The one question we get more often than not is “I am working on  ____________ and need to order some gravel, what do I need?”

Aggregates are used in almost every backyard or construction project and have a wide variety of different uses. With lots of different options out there, we’ve put together a little cheat sheet to help ensure you get the right product for your job.


What is A-Gravel?

A-Gravel is probably the most common type of gravel. If you’ve ever driven down a dirt road, you’ve seen A-Gravel.  It consists of ¾” stones and stone dust mixed with sand. 

Typically this is used under asphalt or concrete pours or as a platform for sheds or other structures once compacted. 


3/4" Crushed Stone in Waterloo Ontario
3/4" Clear Stone in Kitchener Ontario

¾” stone is crushed to a particular size and screened making it fairly uniform in shape. You will find it used behind stone walls, as part of a French drain or in window sills as it is the best stone for drainage. 

With jagged edges, it’s not something you would want to walk around on in your bare feet, however, it can compact nicely making it a great choice for driveways.


High Performance Bedding in Kitchener Ontario
HPB in Milton
1/4" Chip

With a fancy name, this washed and crushed product has become the “go-to” for professionals when setting patios. High-Performance Bedding has great drainage properties and compacts / settles nicely allowing for a uniform bed. This is ideal for slabs or patio stones. 

When laid on top of landscape fabric, this product avoids heaving, shifting, or sinking of patios which you can experience with other products. 

HPB is also a great product for use around pools or behind small retaining walls because of its drainage properties. 


Pea Stone in Kitchener
Playground Rocks in Waterloo
3/8" Pea Stone in Cambridge

You might know Pea Stone as “playground rocks”. With rounded and smooth edges, this natural product makes for great decorative ground cover or is ideal for creating beautiful pathways. 

It is also a “clear stone” which means it is free of small particles and has good drainage properties. While it is great for helping retain soil moisture and inhibiting weeds, this stone shouldn’t be used as a base layer like other aggregates because it tends to shift under pressure or weight. 


River Rock in Kitchener
1" - 2" River Stone in Waterloo

This natural stone has rounded edges which have been caused by the movement of water and have a wide variety of colours and sizes. 

The most common applications for river rock are used as a ground cover to help prevent the growth of weeds, accent pieces or in ponds and backyard streams. Because of their smooth texture and shape, some of our clients have used them along pathways and around pools also. 


Stone Dust in Kitchener
Limestone Screening in Waterloo, Ontario

Created as a byproduct of crushing stone for other purposes, Stone Dust has widely been used as a foundation for setting pavers for years. It has a great compaction quality to create a very flat surface which can hold lots of weight such as patio stones, etc.

However, stone dust is not very porous. With freezing and thawing of the ground here in Ontario, stone dust can retain moisture and cause patio stones to shift or raise through the seasons. 


Whether you’re leveling a shed, installing a patio or working on a water feature you are going to be working with aggregates. With this handy guide, you now should be able to choose the right product for your project based on the use and drainage needs. 

Homeowners and contractors alike have been trusting Dirt Cheap for all their aggregate needs. We’ll happily deliver your aggregate in bulk or our handy 1 yard totes within our service area. If you’re local to your pick up depot, we are always fully stocked and ready to serve.

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