Building a pea gravel patio is an excellent low-cost alternative to elaborate, high-maintenance wooden decks and expensive stone or interlocking brick.
Best of all, simple pea gravel patios are a DIY project that don’t require a great deal of experience or know-how. All they take is a little careful planning and some elbow grease.
To get started, plan the shape and depth of your patio, then plot it out in your yard and create the foundational base. From there, all you’ll need to do is fill it in with pea gravel and enjoy. With a little regular maintenance, your pea gravel patio will give you a lifetime of enjoyment.
Pea Gravel Patio Depth
Similar to pea gravel walkways, most pea gravel patios are constructed to offer a depth of about two inches, though you may need to dig deeper if the underlying soil isn’t firm enough to provide an effective foundation.
Thus, your first step should be to determine whether or not you’ll need to add a base layer.
If the underlying soil is densely packed with a clay-like consistency, it will perform well as a base without any additional material. Most soil in New Jersey is like this, but you should always make sure before proceeding with your plan.
If it’s sandy or loose in consistency, you should add a layer of tamped-down packed stone above the soil. Here are your depth guidelines:
- Dig to an overall depth of about 2.5 inches if the soil will serve as the base.
- Dig to an overall depth of 4 to 4.5 inches if you’re going to use tamped-down packed stone as a base.
Plot the shape of your patio using spray paint, then dig to the required depth using the aforementioned criteria. The shape of your patio won’t affect your depth, as depth is dependent solely on whether or not you’re using a soil or tamped-down packed stone base.
Pea Gravel Patio Installation
Once you’ve dug out the patio outline to the required depth, your next step will be to add edging around the perimeter. The most popular edging materials include:
- Galvanized steel.
- Pressure-treated wood.
These edging materials will be readily available through local home improvement retailers.
Before you lay the pea gravel, you will need to cover the surface of the patio with landscape fabric. You can lay this fabric directly over the soil if you’re using soil as the foundational base, or on top of the tamped-down packed stone, which you should fill to a depth of about 2.5 inches before adding the fabric.
When you’re ready, simply add about 2 inches of pea gravel to the patio, leaving about half an inch of room between the top of the gravel and the top of your edging material. This will prevent spillovers. Then, simply level out the surface of the patio using a rake, and you’re done!
If you’ve chosen an elaborate patio design and you’re not confident in your ability to execute, it may be helpful to hire a landscaping expert or contractor to help you realize your vision. It will be worth the extra investment to ensure the job gets done right the first time.
Pea Gravel Patio Maintenance
One of the very best things about a pea gravel patio is that it won’t require a great deal of maintenance. Pea gravel is extremely robust, and the only real risk to its continued performance is that loosely packed stones can become dislodged over time.
If this happens, simply smooth out affected areas with a rake, adding more pea gravel if necessary. Beyond that, your pea gravel patio should maintain itself!
Choosing a Pea Gravel Supplier
When considering the various pea gravel suppliers, it’s a good idea to stick with a company that quarries its own gravel. This has several advantages; first, you’ll get a higher-quality product at a lower price, since you’ll be buying directly from the manufacturer.
Second, when you choose a company with hands-on experience and expertise, you’ll benefit from professional advice on which type of pea gravel is best for your intended application.
Building a pea gravel patio can add a great deal of value to your home and give you and your family a beautiful outdoor oasis to enjoy for years to come. Get the most out of your investment by choosing a reputable pea gravel supplier that quarries locally and can answer any and all questions you might have about its products and services.