Home » DIY Pea Gravel Patio, Pros and Cons

DIY Pea Gravel Patio, Pros and Cons

Pee gravel is the most economical and easy to install material for a patio as compared to poured concrete, pavers and natural flagstone. In this guide we delve into pros and cons of a pea gravel patio, installation ideas and how to keep your pea gravel in place.

What is Pea Gravel?

As the name suggest, these are small smooth rounded stones the size of a pea commonly found near bodies of water. Pea gravel is often used in gardening, landscaping and for other outdoor construction needs. While the size may vary, most stones come in sizes ranging from 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch respectively.

As a result of natural weathering, pea gravel have an appealing smooth texture. The stone come in a range of natural colors like rust brown, white, buff, translucent and various shades of gray. This makes them aesthetically ideal for patios, driveway and lawn accents.

How much does pea gravel cost?

Pea gravel is usually available at landscaping firms or you can place an order with your local stone suppliers. The most decorative varieties cost about $50 to $75 per ton. However, you may spend less with bulk rates when you purchase in large quantities.

Generally, pouring pea gravel is a less expensive way of creating a patio than laying pavers on dirt or pouring concrete. You don’t need skilled manpower or special equipment for installation of a pea gravel patio.

Pea Gravel Patio Pros

Installing a pea gravel patio comes with the following benefits

  1. Pea gravel is cheaper than other hardscaping materials like poured or stamped concrete, pavers and natural flagstones.
  2. It takes less time and effort to install the stones with ease. It can take a day or two to have a complete patio in your backyard.
  3. It feels comfortable to walk on it barefoot due to their small and rounded shape.
  4. Pea gravel present a wide range of creativity and use. It can blend well with other landscaping materials to forms a spectacular feature in your backyard.
  5. The stones will prevent weed growth when in a thick layer of about 4 inches. Weeds are usually a problem in pavers and any cracks found in concrete.
  6. Pea gravel allows water to drain through it and it not easy to experience flooding and surface runoff issues commonly associated with other materials.

Pea Gravel Patio cons

While this sounds like the easiest way to own a patio, here are the drawbacks you should know

  1. Pea gravel is likely to spread across the garden and lawns or be carried under the shoe soles to the house. To avoid this, you have to edge your entire patio.
  2. With time, pea gravel tends to shift, spread or sink and you may be forced to keep topping it up or raking it back.
  3. Pea gravel does not provide a firm base for furniture. Your patio chairs and tables are likely to sink into the gravel especially when someone sits.
  4. A foundation may be required for your pea gravel patio if you don’t want it to keep shifting every now and then. Without a firm base, your patio may end up being unusable.
  5. You need a thick layer of pea gravel to prevent the growth of weeds. This means more tons and higher costs as well.
  6. Cleaning debris and clearing snow can be a great challenge when you have a pea gravel patio.

How to Keep Pea Gravel in Place

Pea gravel is likely to keep shifting or spreading allover your gardens and home. You can stabilize the gravel through the following.

  • Edge the gravel to prevent from spreading. Use sturdy edging materials on your patio such as brick, stones or metal.
  • Install a base layer of rock or compact the soil to prevent the gravel from sinking. Pea gravel is likely to sink into the soil when you have not compacted it or created a firm foundation.
  • Raking the gravel back in position can also help in keeping it together. While playing, kids or pets can spread the gravel and the easiest way to position it back is through raking.

Final Though

A patio is a great place to relax and have memorable times with family and friends. While most people find it an expensive affair to build a patio, using pea gravel is a great reprieve. All you need is to select the patio space, excavate, compact the base or install a landscape fabric and pour your pea gravel.

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