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Backyard with pea gravel, shrubs, grasses and an outdoor gathering area with umbrella

One of the hottest trends in exterior renovation is pairing gravel hardscape with bold paint colors: bright white, blue, and black. It’s the most popular aesthetic on Yardzen’s Instagram! We’re experts in all things plants and hardscape (read our guide to gravel), but selecting a paint is a whole different ball game, so we asked our friends at Paintzen to come up with a couple of gravel and paint pairings to make your yard stand out.

Decomposed Granite + PPG Mother of Pearl

Decomposed granite (DG) is a super fine gravel with a uniform appearance of beige or gray. Because the color of the gravel is flat and one-dimensional, Paintzen’s senior color consultant, Meghan Stewart, recommends choosing a shade of white for your exterior because it reflects light, which gives your home “life” and creates “varying shades.” Stewart recommends PPG’s Mother of Pearl, a rich hue of “sunny white” that shines in the sun, like a pearl. The contrast of the muted DG with the multi-dimensional Mother of Pearl paint is a match made in exterior heaven!


 We love the look of dramatic, architectural plants against this soft palette. Think: cactus, succulents, artichoke, and sages.

Pea Gravel + 2020 Color of the Year: PPG Chinese Porcelain

The smooth, gray pebbles of pea gravel remind us of stately mediterranean homes. To play up this oceanside, old-world feel, Stewart recommends using PPG’s 2020 Color of the Year, Chinese Porcelain. “The darker shades of indigo with their subdued navy and cobalt undertones calls to mind the sea,” she says. Blue paint is also a great option for those on the fence of staying neutral or going bold with their exterior color. “Blue holds a lot of the qualities of neutral paint colors because it can blend so well into surroundings, while still managing to make an impression.”


To complement this old-world look, we recommend mediterranean plants, like lemons, olives, and rosemary, all of which are low-water, low-maintenance plants, once established.

Black Basalt + PPG Onyx

For those homeowners who are willing to take a risk, we love the idea of doubling down on black with black basalt, a charcoal-colored stone, and PPG Onyx. According to Stewart, this pairing is “in line with the monochromatic trend we’ve been seeing lately with darker colors.” “By matching similar shades you create varying textures that create a complete look,” says Stewart.


To bring out some of the warmth of the basalt and the paint, we love the look of purple and blue plants, like salvia, lavender, and African Blue Basil.

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