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What is Decomposed Granite and How Do I Install It?

What is Decomposed Granite and How Do I Install It? Description

Decomposed granite (DG) is trending in the DIY landscape community, and for good reason. 

A finer, crushed-stone form of granite, DG is a highly versatile material that you’ll probably want to get your hands on for your spring and summer projects. Let’s break down what it is and what it can do for your landscape.

What is decomposed granite? 

DG is a classification of rock and is the result of a larger piece of granite eroding and crumbling down into fine particles. DG is similar to sand but maintains a more stable structure, thus giving it a leg up in a variety of projects. 

DG is similar to crushed stone granite, but has a finer, more consistent texture and won’t have larger chunks of rock mixed in. 

What are the benefits of decomposed granite? 

While it may mimic the look of sand, DG offers powerful benefits that give it more use cases than regular sand. 


One of the most notable features of DG is its miraculous permeability, meaning it’s ability to let a substance like water seep through it.

A material with high permeability will reduce wasteful runoff and allow water to sink into the ground below, keeping more water on your landscape. Maintaining groundwater is good for both the plants on your landscape and the environment, too. 

Firmness & durability 

When compacted, DG becomes a remarkably hard, durable surface that can withstand the weight of people and even vehicles. 

Expect DG to harden naturally when you compact it, without needing to mix in liquid hardeners or other additions. 

How to use decomposed granite

DG is much cheaper than concrete making it an appealing choice for thoughtful DIYers who want to achieve a functional landscape without going over budget on materials.

DG is an excellent choice for any type of pathway, patio, or accent to a hardscape or functional outdoor space like a fire pit or seating area. 

DG lays flat and smooth, creating an even surface that can be walked on and can even be used as an unpaved driveway for cars. 

Use DG in place of dirt and pavement to elevate pathways without creating a hassle or added cost. 

Pick up quality DG, and all your other raw landscaping materials, from trusted local vendors on the ADIY website. 

Find DG near me 

Installing decomposed granite

Installing DG is not difficult, but requires a bit of planning and preparation work. 

1. Measure and mark off the space where DG will be installed and insert edging such as steel or bender board.

2. Remove a layer of soil where the DG will be installed, taking out enough that the soil level is 2.5 inches below the top of your edging or neighboring hardscape. 

3. Compact the soil so you have a flat, even surface. You may be able to do this manually, or you might need to rent a vibratory plate to better pack down loose soil. 

4. Install standard weed fabric over the flat soil to prevent weeds from growing up through the DG. 

5. Pour the DG over the area, smooth it out until it’s level, and compact it down as desired. 

To see how DG is professionally installed step-by-step and to learn how to calculate how much DG you’ll need, watch this video. 

DG is a cheap, effective material that allows water to permeate through it and is hard enough to be used in walkways, driveways, and accenting areas. 

Start building pathways, walkways, lounge areas, and even driveways, by incorporating DG into your spring and summer projects!