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Creating Garden Art with Bricks and Pea Gravel

A landscape designer creates a leaf-like design with bricks.

Rocks add many natural yet artistic design elements to a yard, including texture and lots of character. Using a dry cobblestone creek bed can add a sense of flow through the yard. Boulders can serve as sculptural focal points in your landscape.

Think outside of the box when it comes to incorporating rock into your garden. Landscape designer Roberta Walker uses gravel, instead of grass, to cut down on water use in her yard. If you think this could be bleak, bland or boring, take a look; this setting is more like bold and beautiful. Rocks can add color and texture unlike a lawn of turfgrass. "Best of all, when it's 100 degrees outside and my neighbors are mowing, I'm not," she says.

Roberta decides to get creative with her front yard, which is mulched with pea gravel. Instead of buying expensive garden art and sculpture, she decides to use brick to make a free-form pattern in the shape of a leaf in the gravel area. She draws the patterns out by dragging her foot through the pea gravel. The central flagstone pathway acts as the midrib, or the central vein of the leaf, and she draws the veins that branch off the midrib. No two leaves are alike so there are no strict rules about how she forms her lines. If she messes up the lines, they're easy to erase and fix.

Once the lines are etched into the pea gravel, Roberta fills them in with bricks. "Bricks come in many colors, so it's important to tie the brick in with the house and the landscape." She lays the brick end to end along the scooped-out lines. She isn't worried about the bends between the bricks leaving gaps. From a distance, they'll blend in seamlessly.

The final outcome of Roberta's garden art project is in the shape of a reticulate leaf.

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