Pea gravel is used for more do-it-yourself projects this time of year than any other.  It is visually-pleasing, easy to transport and spread and does not cost a lot of money.  There are many color and texture options available, so take advantage of your landscape by adding beauty efficiently through the implementation of pea gravel.

How to Use Pea Gravel in Your Landscape While Avoiding 3 Common Mistakes

If you’re looking to update your home’s landscaping, but aren’t sure where to begin, you may want to consider using pea gravel. From its smooth texture to its natural coloring, pea gravel provides a unique but classic look. Due to its versatility and its high functionality, pea gravel has become a well liked landscaping tool among homeowners. Below we’ve listed some popular uses for pea gravel along with some common mistakes to avoid while integrating the material into your landscaping design.

Get Creative

People often jump to the conclusion that gravel is strictly used in areas like driveways, but the truth is, pea gravel can be applied in a variety of ways when it comes to landscaping. For example, if you want to add a patio to your outdoor space, but don’t want to deal with the more general materials, such as wood or cement, pea gravel is a great substitute. Creating a pathway leading to your front door or a garden path in your backyard is another option. You can also use pea gravel instead of sand in your child’s sandbox, as an alternative to mulch, and as an edging material around flower beds and trees. At the end of the day, pea gravel is an inspirational landscaping tool that has multiple uses.

Common Mistakes

  • Placing pea gravel directly on-top of soil is not a good idea. Whether the gravel is an alternative to mulch or you’re building a patio, a layer of landscaping fabric should first be placed on-top of the soil to discourage the growth of weeds. If you neglect to use the fabric, you will most likely end up with an abundance of unwanted weeds and plants littering and displacing the pea gravel.

  • Installing an edging material to keep the pea gravel in place is a must. If you skip on the border, the pebbles won’t stay in place and your beautifully designed landscape will turn into a huge mess.

  • The depth of the pea gravel is also crucial to the success of your landscape. If you don’t use enough gravel your landscaping feature will suffer and not appear as you may have imagined. It can also become a safety issue, so read the guidelines on the recommended depth before starting a project.

A Perfect Walkway Calls For Pea Gravel & Sand

  • Use less Ingredients than a cookie recipe to get an amazing walkway. Pea Gravel & Sand!! Just follow the Saunders Family Recipe and you’ll be walking tall on your new walkway.

Pea gravel is our Best pick to top your walkway instead of other materials for a few reasons. As much as we love mulch and bark for other uses, (they are soft to walk along) they break down easily over time & busy foot traffic.

You also want to make sure whatever material you use is easy to walk on and that’s why we like Pea Gravel most of all. Named after the tiny veggie because of its size, it’s incredibly easy to work with.

We like to think of sand for a foundation, as flour to a baker. It’s an essential base material but makes the end result great. (It’s also easy to work with.)

While you need to be specific with your own measurements and walkway outline and markings, we have a few DIY tips for laying your walkway materials:

1. Make sure you’ve excavated a six inch trench and make sure it’s evenly dug.

2. Make sure you lay out an underlayment fabric to stop weeds from popping up.

3. Next pile in and evenly smooth out a three inch layer of sand and wet it with a spray from the hose. Remember, wet don’t soak. You want a nice walkway not a beach.

4. Then, rake the sand and make sure it’s packed in there.

5. get out your Pea Gravel, making sure about 3 inches is piled in. Rake along the whole path to even it out.

Oh, the Possibilities of Pea Gravel!

Now’s the perfect time to pull out the pea gravel to add some natural beauty and function to your yard. The options are endless with this small round stone. Smoothed by a body of water, pea gravel measures between approximately 3/8”-3/4” in diameter and is a versatile landscaping material for many reasons:

  • Attractive and varying colors (ranges from whites, creams, and tans to grays and blacks)

  • Different textures available:  Smooth or jagged

  • The smooth variety’s surface makes it ideal for bare summer feet

  • The mix of varying small stones helps it spread and settle well

  • It’s very affordable

  • Provides effective drainage

  • It’s sturdy enough to stand up to heavy foot or vehicle traffic

You can use pea gravel pretty much anywhere, from driveways to rooftops. Here are a few of Don’s favorite places. How about yours?

Driveways:  This is your mud mitigator. Since cars and mud do not generally get along, you can tame a muddy driveway with a coating of traction-ready, larger pea gravel. 4-6 inches should do the trick. Crown the center of the driveway so moisture runs down the sides. Compact the soil and add the stones.

Walkways:  Like beautiful riverbeds, pea gravel winding along a smooth pathway makes a striking natural statement. In fact, it’s our favorite material for walkways [link to “A Perfect Walkway Calls for Pea Gravel and Sand” blog]. Plus the crunching pea gravel makes as you walk on it is a wonderful sound! Plan for 4-6 inches of coverage.

Potted plants:  Spread pea gravel at the bottom of potted plants that have no drainage and cover with potting soil before planting. Or, set pea gravel on top of the dirt too for a more streamlined look.

Flower Beds and Gardens:  Add contrast and a natural feel with no upkeep pea gravel. Start with plastic or weed block and then spread the gravel on top to keep weeds at bay. Level with a tamper or block of wood. You’re shooting for about 6” depth.

Playgrounds:  As an alternative to mulch, smooth pea gravel provides great drainage to keep playgrounds dry and ready for play. And kids dig it! Use 6” and slope the ground away from the play area.

Beaches:  Use pea gravel to edge a small lakefront beach for good drainage and a pretty border.

Decorative fountains:  Generally made of cement, the bottom of these soothing waterfalls can be covered with pea gravel to match the natural scenery—and hide settling mud.

Decks/Patios:  Especially around pool areas, consider paving with pea gravel since it’s easier on feet than other gravels and provides a neat, charming finish.

Aquariums:  For a pretty and natural home for your fish and other aquatic animals, pea gravel does double duty. Just make sure to wash well before pouring into empty tank.

Rooftops:  Spread a thin layer on flat asphalt rooftops for an eco-friendly roof that reflects the heat and UV rays in the summer.

Pipe and concrete slab bedding:  Pea gravel provides a safe, drainage ready home for pipes and a sturdy drainage-ready base for slabs.

General drainage:  Where water accumulates after rainfalls, dig a hole and fill with pea gravel. Downspouts are a perfect spot.

In addition to pea gravel, we offer a large variety of landscaping gravel and stones. In the Northern Virginia and Maryland areas, we can deliver 5 to 100 cubic yards (or even more) direct to your driveway. Delivery is free.

Pour on the pea gravel. It’s going to be a beautiful summer. Use our material calculator at right to see how much pea gravel you’ll need.


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