How to Build a Pea Gravel Patio
A crushed pea gravel patio framed in concrete pavers is one of the easiest and least expensive patios to DIY. Learn how to install one in less than a weekend.
A pea gravel patio can lend a classic old-world style to any outdoor space. Tiny pea gravel is comfortable to walk on and you don’t have to worry about slipping on it when it is wet or icy. If you have a lot of freeze-and-thaw cycles in your area, pea gravel is a good choice because you don’t have to worry about heaving and cracking as you do with a solid-surface patio.
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- tape measure
- marking paint
- spade shovel
- digging shovel
- landscape fabric
- paver base
- rubber mallet
- crushed pea gravel
- pine straw mulch
1. Mark It Out
Use a tape measure and marking paint to indicate the placement of the patio.
2. Edge the Patio
Use a spade to dig the outline of the patio. The straight edge keeps the lines nice and clean.
3. Dig It Up
Use a rototiller to loosen the rest of the soil in your patio space. They are readily available to rent if you don’t own a rototiller. Using one will save you a lot of time, and possibly a backache.
4. Remove Dirt
Dig out the loosened dirt about three inches down. Relocate dirt to lower areas or other places in your yard that can benefit from it. Tamp down the dug-out area to settle the remaining dirt and make the surface flat.
5. Prevent Weeds
Lay landscape fabric over the dirt. Consider this step a gift to your future self as it will keep weeds from growing through the gravel.
6. Lay the Base
Add a layer of paver base on top of the landscape fabric. You can buy it by the bag but you may find buying it by the cubic yard more convenient and economical. A cubic yard covers about 100 square feet. Most places that sell it will also deliver it. Once you have the patio area covered, use the flat side of a metal rake to smooth out the base.
7. Add Paver Border
Add pavers along the outside edge to create a border around the gravel and help keep it in place. Use a rubber mallet to pound each paver down to the ground as well as to one another.
8. Lay Down the Gravel
Fill in the space with crushed pea gravel. Use a rake to help level it out. We added pine straw mulch between the grass and the patio for a smooth transition between textures.
A patio is a great way to add extra living space and increase your home’s value. Find patio design inspiration and practical tips from professional builders on how to create the backyard of your dreams.