Grass vs. Gravel
Most of my yard is planted with groundcovers and shrubs. I have wide grass paths and a tiny area of lawn in back. I'm considering replacing the grass with gravel (or river rock or pebbles). But I want to make sure it's a good idea.
I read that gravel is lower maintenance than grass, but sometimes I read just the opposite, that gravel is a lot more work. Which is true?
Two things worry me in particular about the gravel. One, there are a lot of trash trees in the neighborhood. They drop limbs and tons of narrow willow-like leaves that blow everywhere. I'm afraid the leaves and twigs would get all mixed up with the gravel, rot, turn to compost, and make a perfect spot for weeds to grow. Several gardeners in the area have warned me against gravel for this reason. They say it gets messy fast.
My other concern is that soil is extremely sandy, like a beach dune. I know it will be necessary to use some kind of barrier to prevent the gravel from disappearing into the sand. I've heard of using landscape fabric, screens, and packed clay. I've also read of using something to bind the gravel. I can't remember the name of the products, but it seems to work like a cement. I'm looking for the best option for the long term.