Crushed oyster shell is natural, beautiful, and functional. Oyster shell is an alternative to decorative mulches or stone, creating a striking contrast to the landscape that surrounds it. It can also be used to make functional courtyards, walkways, and driveways with its bleached white color, it is significantly different than standard asphalt, gravel, or concrete.
If you want your path or driveway to compliment your garden and remain as weed-free as possible, and if you want the path to be inviting to walk on, crushed oyster shell is an excellent solution. The shell disperses evenly and compacts well, creating a hard stable surface that’s not prone to the ruts and holes you get with crushed stone aggregates. And unlike gravel, crushed shell hardscaping rarely encounters issues with weeds or pests. Lastly, the porous quality of the crushed shell also provides good drainage.
Weeds and garden pests are an omnipresent threat to the health and appearance of gardens. The high density of the crushed shell means that weeds are restricted by access to sunlight and therefore don’t grow. Crushed shell ground covering also helps prevent new weeds from growing on top of it. In addition, if your garden suffers from acidic soil, the minerals from the shell can help neutralize it and maintain the PH level.
Our sustainably harvested oyster shell provides excellent drainage, its porous quality allows rainwater to permeate into the ground. Crushed oyster shell is a natural fertilizer and can be used as an alternative liming material to restore the soil chemical and microbial properties to improve plant productivity and growth. Oyster shells organic properties also helps keep away garden pests including moles and slugs, as well as minimize weed growth.
Oyster farming is iconic to the Pacific Northwest. Native Americans harvested oysters for thousands of years. They used shells on paths to provide permeable and sturdy passageways Commercial oyster farming in the Puget Sound began in the mid1800s; it is now one of the largest producing areas in the U.S.
Crushed oyster shell can be mixed with other aggregates such as pea gravel to create alternative hues and textures to your hardscape designs. Crushed oyster shell can also be used without concrete or a setting agent since the shell flour itself acts as a stabilizer.
With the recent demand of restaurants serving oysters in the half shell, many farms are moving away from filling mesh bags with their discarded shell. Historically, the discarded shell was placed back in plastic based mesh bags in the bays where oyster larvae could grow. Recent farming technology is evolving, and farms are beginning to raise oysters in hatcheries to cater for the live market. This prevents the oysters from cementing to each other and allows them to grow individually. Many of these farms are now looking to reduce, recycle and reuse their discarded shells.
Shell paths and driveways are virtually maintenance free. Surfaces won’t develop ruts and holes like gravel as it will fill in on itself as the shell breaks down. With proper installation and compaction, it will only require periodic replenishment. Shellscapes offer a variety of services including delivery, installation and maintenance.
The shells are washed thoroughly and dried out over several seasons so there is no smell. Oyster shell’s shale like quality means it flakes. After proper installation and compaction the path, courtyard or driveway becomes a solid flat surface and is not only safe, but comfortable for bare feet.
Right after installation, there may be some residue that easily washes away with a garden hose and rain. A couple of weeks after installation when the shell has settled, there is verty little residue or dust and it becomes unnoticeable when you walk or drive on it.