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If you’ve been planning to decorate your backyard, but aren’t sure which type of patio you want to install, then this is the article for you!
Should you go for the safer option, like a concrete patio? Or would you prefer something a little more aesthetically pleasing to fulfill your dream of having the perfect backyard to host friends and family?
We think a pea gravel patio is an amazing choice for your garden, so here are all the pros and cons to help you make your ultimate decision.
What Is Pea Gravel?
Pea Gravel consists of small, smooth, and round stones that look like peas – hence the name pea gravel. You have probably seen pea gravel before, usually at construction sites or pathways and patios in the garden.
It is quite often used in exterior landscaping because it comes in many different colors and you can design your own unique patterns!
Some of the options are green, yellow, pink, grey, white, beige, and even translucent stones. The small stones do not have sharp edges due to natural weathering, so it is comfortable to walk or sit on.
Pea Gravel Patio Pros and Cons
Like any other patio material, pea gravel also has its own list of benefits and drawbacks.
Check out these pea gravel patio pros and cons below so you can choose the best option for your needs.
Pea Gravel Patio Pros
1. Easy to install
Pea Gravel is easy to install, which makes it a perfect material for a DIY project. Take your time, prepare the necessary material, and become Bob the Builder for a day!
2. Get creative
You can really express your creativity with pea gravel! Pick and choose any color of pea gravel and decorate your outdoor space exactly as you please! You can create colorful shapes and patterns in walkways that lead to the entrance of your home.
It’s such a wonderful way to start the day when you open the front door and see rainbows in your driveway!
If you want to have an all-white patio, I would recommend you to look at these little white stones on Amazon.
3. Walk barefoot
Due to its small size and round edges, pea gravel is the perfect material for patios and walkways, especially if you love walking barefoot. Trust me, these small stones are like a free massage for your feet!
4. Cost effective
One of the best pros is the pea gravel cost. This material is not as expensive as other hardscaping materials, mainly because you can do the installation all by yourself and avoid paying construction workers.
The price ranges from $25 to $67 per cubic yard, or you can pay $25 to $53 per ton. If your landscaping project does not require a large amount of pea gravel, you can always buy a bag of plain pea gravel that usually costs about $7.
5. Fill out empty space
You can use pea gravel aggregates instead of installing flagstones, or even spread the little stones to fill the space between your pavers. In addition to creating a patio area, you can also create garden beds and mulch the plants in your garden to keep the moisture and prevent weeds from growing.
6. Create your own fire pit
One of my favorite patio ideas is to make your outdoor living space more exciting and adventurous by creating a fire pit in the center of the patio. A Pea gravel patio is the most suitable for this because it can prevent fire from spreading.
Can weeds grow over the patio?
Not if it is installed properly. If you are planning on placing a thin layer of gravel, then you should place landscaping fabric underneath the patio surface. A thicker layer of pea gravel is more compact and will naturally prevent weed growth. As a homeowner, mowing the lawn constantly and pulling weeds is so tiring and time-consuming.
To save yourself the trouble, I would recommend installing one of these low-maintenance pea gravel patios; seriously, it will make your life so much easier!
If you are having issues with weed and pokeweed in your backyard, then check how to get rid of pokeweed.
Do pea gravel patios last?
These little stones are practically indestructible, so yes – they can last for a long time. Pea gravel can bear the weight of heavy objects as it compacts over time. Just be careful not to spread the stones and destroy its prime structure.
Pea Gravel Patio Cons
There are a few cons of pea gravel to take into consideration when choosing patio materials.
1. Unbalanced patio furniture
If you are planning on having patio furniture, be prepared to sit and dine on uneven chairs and tables, they may even sink slightly into the ground!
It is almost impossible to find balance when you have tons of small round stones underneath your furniture. This can be avoided if you do not buy furniture with wider legs. Avoid sliding the chairs as well as this can distort the gravel beneath.
2. Spreads easily
The main issue stems from its tendency to spread all over the place. Your creative patterns and shapes are going to be disrupted quickly, and it may not look as aesthetically pleasing as it once did. This is almost inevitable, and if you are a perfectionist who gets annoyed when everything is not in its right place, then you might want to choose different patio material.
Even if you put borders around it, the gravel surface is going to shift every time someone walks over it.
3. Uncomfortable to walk on
Everyone is different. Some people might think of walking on pea gravel as like a massage, while others can not bear the feeling of discomfort underfoot. If you aren’t familiar with the feeling, I would suggest testing it first – buy yourself a bag of pea gravel and experiment.
This is much cheaper than buying tons of material and installing it only to end up hating the feeling of it under your feet.
4. Risk of choking
These small, colorful stones can often be mistaken as candy by children, which poses a serious choking hazard. This also applies to pets because they often find food on the ground and eat it. Just make sure not to leave any food laying around on the pea gravel patio.
5. Snow removal
If you live in a place with warm weather all year round, this won’t be an issue for you. However, snow removal during winter can sometimes be really difficult. You can use a shovel to remove the snow, but using a leaf blower to blow off the snow is the most common remedy.
6. Refillment is necessary
Although it is one of the most affordable materials, you need to take into consideration that it spreads easily, so you will need another bag of pea gravel once in a while in order to refill the patio. This is still the cheapest option though.
Tips on how to keep pea gravel from spreading:
• Lay a thick base layer of rocks. You can lay about 3 inches of the material, which causes it to sink into the ground and become more compact.
The gravel can easily spread, and one of the most common reasons is that the thin layer of the material is too thin.
• Create a solid border. The safest option is probably installing a border around your pea gravel patio to prevent the little stones from creating a mess by spreading all over the garden.
You can use bricks, wood, cobblestones, and metal or plastic lining – it’s completely up to you! All of these options will work fine, and you can choose whatever fits your landscaping design.
• Use permeable pavers. These consist of numerous, round borders in which you put the pea gravel stones. The overall installment of plastic pavers is pretty straightforward, and can be done in one day.
Normally used for driveways, these pavers are compressed and can bear weight without breaking or spreading the pea gravel.
How To Install a Pea Gravel Patio
The first thing you have to do is choose the location for your brand new patio. You can use spray paint or mark it with red tape which is easily removed.
Go to the hardware store and buy your gravel. You should assess how much gravel you need by measuring how many square feet your chosen area covers. Grab yourself a straight-edged shovel and start cutting the soil!
Once you are finished, you can start digging. You have to excavate the soil, which can be done by using a shovel or electric cultivator. The depth should be about 5 inches.
After digging the soil, you have completed most of the job. Now, you need to rank and tamp so the surface is compact. This will prevent sinking and provide stability.
You should also put the borders down before spreading the gravel. Whether it’s a plastic border, wood, or cobblestone, put it around the edges to prevent the pea gravel from spreading all over the place. Make sure you don’t forget to place the landscaping fabric first in order to prevent weed growth.
The last step is to add the gravel. The whole area should be covered, and you can fill up to the level you want – just don’t go beyond the borders!
You can also follow the instructions on this video:
A Pea gravel patio is aesthetically pleasing, affordable, and easy to install. If you plan on starting a DIY project and decorating your outdoors, then you should definitely choose pea gravel because it is eco-friendly and easy to maintain, it also won’t break under the pressure of vehicles and can withstand all types of weather.
However, it is almost impossible to place your furniture evenly and prevent spreading the gravel all around – and they aren’t that great during winter because you will have to spend a lot of time removing the snow from the gravel.
We hope this article helped you make a decision, until next time!
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