Edge Your Pea Gravel Patio Area
The next step before you start bringing your pea gravel in is to edge the area that you want your pea gravel patio to be.
Remember, pea gravel is small. It’s going to move unless it’s contained.;
I actually used three different types of edging for my pea gravel patio.
The majority of the backyard got no dig plastic edging. It was simple to install and did the trick, especially when using the weed barrier.;
Then of course I used the concrete pavers.;
And finally I used a 12 foot 4 x 4.
This piece of wood, the 4 x 4, was the edging I used to separate the pea gravel from the grass. And also to bring the look of the entire backyard makeover together when I built my DIY cinder block bench, which also contains 4 x 4’s.;
Creating A Pea Gravel Patio For Under $200
- pea gravel
How to Get it Done:
1. Decide your location , measure, and mark with spray paint.
- Initially, we planned for a 12 foot circle for the patio with 2 feet of mulch around it. But once Mike dug out the 14 foot circle, we realized we needed it all for the patio. Then, we freehanded and marked off how we wanted to connect the area to our brick patio.
- To measure our circular area, we put a shepherds hook in the center, added a 7 long rope/string and used our 7th grade math skills to circle around the shepherds hook with a $1 can of spray paint from Lowes.
2. Once marked, dig out grass and level off dirt.
- Since we based our measurements off of the where our play set and rubber mulch previously laid, Mike didnt have too much grass to dig.
- He used a regular ol shovel to dig up the grass and then a garden hoe to tamp down and level off the ground.
3. Use landscape edging to surround your desired area.
- We used plastic easy no-dig edging, but Ive also seen people use stones, metal edging, or wood to enclose the area.
- You definitely need a barrier separating the pea gravel and your grass or mulch.
- The edging we purchased came with plastic stakes/nails that Mike hammered in every few feet with a rubber mallet.
4. Secure and cover entire area with landscape fabric.
5. Order pea gravel and schedule delivery.
The Look & Feel Of A Pea Gravel Patio
Besides a pea gravel patio being easier, more affordable, safer, I just like the look and feel.;
And by feel I do mean texture. I’ve been walking around barefoot on it. Is pea gravel soft like sand? Not exactly. But pea gravel isn’t sharp and jagged like the gravel you’re probably thinking of.
Gardenista.com defines Pea Gravel as: small, fluid stones found near bodies of water have an appealingly smooth texture, the result of natural weathering. Pea gravel comes in sizes from 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch, about the size of a pea, and in a range of natural colors like buff, rust brown, shades of gray, white, and translucent.
The key phrase there I believe is smooth texture.
The smooth texture and smaller size really gave me the look, and feel that I wanted in my tiny backyard. The color and size of pea gravel gives a beachy feel also, in my opinion. That just added to the appeal of using pea gravel to transform my small backyard.
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Add Retaining Wall For Garden Bed
I wanted to create a clear division between the garden bed and the pea gravel patio. A short retaining wall will keep the spaces separate, but doesn’t block the flow between the two areas.
The first layer of retaining wall blocks is even with the paver edging and the concrete walkway. I totally lucked out and got a perfect fit without having to cut any pieces or adjust the edging!
That ridge along the top locks into a corresponding valley in the capstone blocks. Offset the top so each one straddles two of the base blocks.
Now I could fill in the garden bed behind the retaining wall with some of the dirt I dug out of the patio area!
Add Fire Pit And Benches
A pea gravel patio is perfect for a fire pit! I bought a propane fire pit, which doesn’t produce embers that could accidentally catch the nearby trees or deck on fire. It starts up with the push of a button, and doesn’t create obnoxious smoke that stings your eyes and seeps into your clothing!
Curved benches fit perfectly around the circular fire pit, and sink into the gravel for more stability.
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Remove The Grass And Dig Out The Soil
Firstly, you have to decide on the area where you want to have the gravel patio. After deciding this, mark the patio boundary with white paint or spray or anything else so that you can know the exact area.
Now, you have to remove the grass from the area that you have marked for your patio. You can remove it either manually or with a machine. After doing this, dig out the soil with a cultivator. Create about 3-4 inches of depth for the patio. Tamp down the soil to level the surface.;
Simple Diy Backyard Makeover Under $1000
When I got my first house with a yard in the Pacific Northwest I was excited about:
Having a yard for my dog, walking barefoot through the backyard with a cold beer and letting my children play in the lush, green grass.;
It became evident to me after – first, trying to grow grass myself and then hiring a professional to seed the lawn, 50% of the backyard still turned to weed and moss – growing grass where it constantly rains, the sun never shines, and the homes are packed so close together throwing shade over everything… is really, really, really hard.
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One: Determine The Size And Shape Of Your Patio
Your first step is to figure out where you want to place your patio and exactly how large you want it to be. We had this perfect area next to our shed where grass never grew, and we knew if we put a patio there it would make this corner of our yard usable again.
Because of the natural landscape of our yard, we had a pretty good outline already we wanted our patio to run the length of the shed widthwise, and from the shed over to the tree. Of course, the skys the limit when youre sizing out your patio just remember the bigger it is, the more work youll have to do!
Once youve determined the sizing, use your stakes and string to frame out the area where you want the patio to be. Youll use this to determine both the size and the depth of where you need to dig, so you want to take the time to ensure your lines are straight and level. You can use a straight line in your yard to measure off of to be sure the line is completely straight.
Place the stakes at each corner, then tie the string to the stakes to create an outline. Use the line level to make sure the strings are placed evenly.
Once youve framed out all four sides , add a line of string going diagonally across both sets of corners. This will help you level out the middle of the patio .
Once you have the space marked off, youre ready for the hard part: digging.
Get Your Pea Gravel Delivered
You can always go to Home Depot or Lowes or someplace like that to get your pea gravel by the bag.;
I did not want to make several trips to the store and load up 50 – 100 bags of pea gravel.;
I found a local stone and gravel business that delivered the exact amount I needed.;
The cost for the pea gravel is cheaper, but with the delivery cost it’s probably about the same as if you bought at the home improvement store.;
So ultimately this came down to convenience and time savings for me.;
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Level & Compact The Dirt
Little by little, as we added in dirt, we started compacting it with a dirt tamper.
In hindsight, I wish we just rented a compactor, but we didnt know that we were going to have to add as much dirt as we needed to, to make it level!
Another problem we ran into was the weather. In typical Seattle fashion, it kept on raining during our project, which wasnt really a problem until we started compacting the dirt.
The dirt was getting too wet to pack down. It would just get stuck on the bottom of the tamper, collecting more mud with each pound to the ground and ended up a muddy mess.
Slowly but surely, we packed and tampered down thin layers of dirt and then took a 2×4 and slowly screeded the dirt to make sure it was as level as possible
Create A Lounge Area + A Separate Dining Area
This means that people can hang out, have a drink and the dining table is ready when the pizzas are done. As you can see we have a very small backyard, but we created two separate areas or patios. We just added the pea gravel to the dining area and we love it! It feels a little like you are in Italy or France when you hear the crunch of the gravel underfoot. Add in some lanterns with candles, some string lights, and put out some non-toxic bug-off spray for everyone to use, and you have a simple, but magical afternoon and evening. What could be better on a summer night? Easy prep with very little shopping, no mess, and a great meal. Enjoy!
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Lay Down The Weed Barrier
We laid out some landscaping fabric, also known as weed barrier cloth to prevent any pesky weeds coming through.
We bought two different types of weed barrier for this project, an inexpensive one and a higher quality one, and dang just if you were curious, there IS a difference. The professional grade weed barrier that was slightly more experience was so much thicker than the cheap stuff.
Long story short, spend the extra couple of bucks and splurge on the good weed barrier fabric!
S Of Stabilizing Pea Gravel
There are many methods of stabilizing pea gravel. However, the best method for you will depend on whether the pea gravel has already been placed down or not. Additionally, the method of stabilization will depend on what your final product is going to be.
If the pea gravel is used on a walkway or driveway, it can be enough to merely compress it to create stability. On the other hand, if you are using them on a patio, it is best if the pea gravel is completely immoveable. When chairs or tables on are placed on the gravel they are then less likely to be unsteady and fall over.
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How To Stabilize Pea Gravel Walkways
Pea gravel is commonly used for walkways, driveways, and as filler between stone pavers around the home. Pea gravel is made up of small, rounded stones. It is commonly used for high-traffic areas due to its smooth finish.
Pea gravel is highly desirable as it is versatile and cost-effective. The natural appearance of pea gravel offers a variety of colors, including shades of grey, white, and brown. The gravel also allows water to flow easily through the stones, allowing for great permeability.
The best way to stabilize pea gravel is by using a binding agent such as cement, plaster, polyurethane, or epoxy coatings. If the pea gravel has not yet been installed, begin by laying down cement plaster on the area. Next, using pressurized water, remove loose gravel from the area. Finish by applying pea gravel.
When the gravel is loose, it is likely to travel, so an edging material such as bricks, stones, or metal edging is needed. The gravel travels when the pea gravel is not stabilized, allowing it to be displaced when someone walks on it.
Fill The Geocell With Gravel
After the Geocell was in, we filled it with minus and started packing it down with the tamper until it was full.
We had the gravel delivered by a local company, and if you can, have them back up right onto the geocell.; That way you can just start spreading it around, instead of hauling it to the patio area one wheelbarrow at a time like we did.
Once the gravel was in and packed down, it was secure enough in some spots, where the steaks we hammered in were useless. So we ended up re-cooping some of them to use on another project!
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Some Things You Can Benefit From Regarding Your Patio
Instead of using rounded pea gravel, use coarser pea gravel. This will make the gravel hold on to each other in a more compact way.
You should also use different colors of pea gravel to great unique color ways for the pea gravel patio.
You can use yellow, red, beige, white and other colors that are available in your local home improvement store.
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Pea Gravel Patio Ideas
Looking for some pea gravel inspiration? Check out these ideas for the perfect pea gravel patio.
A mixed-material patio using smaller gravel and larger decorative stones, like flagstone or bluestone, is a classic landscape design. The same concept applies to a pea gravel path with stepping stones.
Use a pea gravel patio border to enhance your existing outdoor space.
A pea gravel epoxy patio gives you much better support than loose gravel and means more options for outdoor furniture.
You can use a fire pit area as the centerpiece or an add-on to your pea gravel patio.
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Pea Gravel Patio Ideas For Your Yard
Transform your backyard with one of these amazing pea gravel patio ideas! Turn your space into an outdoor living area with a fire pit, cozy seating, or even a play area!
Pea gravel is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to add a patio to your backyard. But you can’t just dump a truckload of pebbles on the ground and call it good! I’ve rounded up some of the best pea gravel patio ideas I could find, in the hopes that one of them will inspire you to give your yard a makeover!
Select The Patio Space
Confirm that the patio location will work for gravel. Steep places will not do well with this project. Because pea gravel is rounded and smooth, its angle of repose can be as low as 20 degrees; at steeper pitches, it will begin to shift. Heavy foot traffic can disturb gravel and create a mess. If;an unusual amount of water is coursing through the area, the water can easily wash away the gravel.
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Pea Gravel: Things To Consider
Pea gravel is smaller than other types of gravel, making it more economical and easier to work with than stone pavers. There are no special skills or tools needed to make your own pea gravel patio, and there isnt as much prep involved to build one. The diameter of most pea gravel is around of an inch, so it is perfect for walking on for humans and pets alike. It also drains easily, making maintenance and clean up a breeze . Pea gravel is also great in colder climates, as it does not heave or crack due to frost or thaws. There are some drawbacks to pea gravel, as with any material used to build a patio. Some homeowners find it more difficult to walk or roll things on. It would help if you built a border to contain the gravel, which adds to labor time and cost. The gravel may be kicked or strewn to flower beds or other parts of the yard, and some patio furniture may not sit as well on pea gravel as on paved surfaces. Now that you know the pros and cons of using pea gravel for your patio, its time to get started designing and building your patio!
Installing Loose Pea Gravel
Installing loose pea gravel is relatively simple compared to other hardscaping materials. To first install the pea gravel, you will want to work the soil to a depth of approximately 6 inches. You will then want to lay down a two-inch layer of coarse base rock .
You should then place a three-inch layer of pea gravel. The base rock will help to stabilize the pea gravel by offering a firm supporting surface. If there are a lot of weeds present, you may want to add a barrier of landscape fabric between the base rock and the pea gravel. The downside however, is that the landscape fabric can degrade or become visible over time.
If a pea gravel path acts like a pile of marbles and is very slippery, it likely did not have the base rock layer installed. To help with the slipperiness, you can add in stone dust to help stabilize the pea gravel.
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