Ahhhh pea gravel, the often overlooked humble landscaping staple. As far as versatility, low cost, and beautiful natural appearance go, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better choice, plus the satisfying crunch you hear with pea gravel underfoot is hard to beat. Whether you’re wanting to add a garden path, patio, fire pit area, or even a flat base for an above ground pool, consider pea gravel your new BFF for your next DIY project. There are really endless uses for this handy little washed rock, and we’re going to give you all the details so you can put it to good use for you!
Pea gravel is a small washed rock with beautiful variations in color that blend seamlessly with surrounding areas. We sell both ⅜" pea gravel and ⅞" pea gravel. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, pea gravel provides excellent drainage, is relatively easy to install yourself with a few pro tips, and is a great weed deterrent. For these reasons, it is a popular choice in the Pacific Northwest landscape and adds to the beauty of almost any style home.
Although pea gravel is relatively easy to install, a few steps of prep work will save you from having to go back and fix things later. This will save you time and money in the long run, and we think you’ll agree there is nothing worse than completing a project wrong and having to start over! With that in mind let’s get to it.
Remove topsoil to about 6 inches deep and remove weeds and any larger stones.
We recommend laying 2 inches of crushed rock as your first layer. ) Our 5/8" minus crushed rock and our 1-1/4" minus crushed rock both make good choices for this application. A gravel base provides a firm and level surface for your pea gravel and helps prevent shifting, which makes walking on pea gravel difficult. If your pea gravel will see a lot of foot traffic be sure not to skip this step!
Leveling is necessary, particularly if you're using this as a base for an above ground pool. An easy and effective way to level a large area is to get a long straight board (any 2x4 will do) and place a level on it. Shift your board around moving the crushed rock as you go to create a level surface. Having an extra set of hands for this is handy so be sure to grab a friend to help with this step.
Once your base layer is level, it’s time to think about edging. Pea gravel will find its way into other areas if not contained and edging material will help your pea gravel stay where it’s wanted and not migrate into other areas of your landscape. There are endless options for edging, including bricks, stones, landscape beams, Bender Board, and countless others. Really any border you can think of will work. If your edging material is larger in size, you may want to consider putting it in before the base layer, but for most smaller bricks and edging materials, adding it after the base layer once the leveling is done works best.
Now for the fun part! The hard work is done and it’s time to lay the pea gravel. Three inches deep of pea gravel should be just about right to provide excellent coverage and walkability. If you need help determining how much pea gravel to order, give us a call or use our online material calculator.
Enjoy your beautiful new pea gravel patio or garden path!
To keep your pea gravel looking good, you’ll want to remove debris and give it a rake through every so often. Pea gravel won’t decompose, but it will sink into the soil over time, so every few years you may need to add in a layer to keep the level of gravel at your preferred height.
As you can see, pea gravel is a great choice for so many landscaping projects. We hope this has inspired you to use pea gravel to add function and beauty to your space-you won’t be disappointed!
Retaining walls have long been used for preventing soil erosion, but have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their beautiful appearance and the sweeping upward trend of DIY projects. From small garden walls to large stone multi-layer retaining walls, there are endless possibilities for style, size, and materials and virtually any vision you have for your hardscape can be accomplished with a little know-how and the right materials. Let’s explore some of the options including a short how-to for those of you interested in basic retaining wall installation. Please note that this is not a replacement for professional advice and for larger hardscaping projects we always recommend speaking to an expert.
There are many areas that can be greatly improved by the addition of a retaining wall and thankfully this is a project that can often be tackled with just some time, hard work, and basic materials found at Reece Aggregates and Recycling and your local home improvement company. Perhaps you have a sloped backyard and dream of a level space to play volleyball or to finally put in that fire pit ring? Or maybe you love the terraced look and dream of a hillside garden? A retaining wall may be just what you need.
If a retaining wall is on your list of DIY projects, then this short how-to will hopefully give you the inspiration you need.
If you like a natural look, our large granite landscape rocks are a beautiful option for terraces and walls. They come in many variations of size and color and are available for pick up and delivery. Always consider the design elements and architectural style of your house when choosing landscaping materials and choose products that complement the existing structures. If you’re looking for blocks or bricks, your local home improvement store or landscaping supply company is sure to have many options to choose from.
The success of your retaining wall depends on how level and sturdy your base is. Measure out the length and width of your wall and dig a trench for your first layer - making sure to dig down 4-6 inches into the soil. In addition, you will need the trench to extend 8" beyond the back of your block to accommodate the addition of drain rock and pipe. Level out the base as well as you can and compact the soil.
Your next step is to add a layer of crushed rock to prevent soil erosion, perfect your grade, and create a strong base for your wall. We recommend using our 1-1/4" Minus Recycled Concrete for this layer. Fill your trench with 2-3” of gravel, adjust and fine-tune your grade making sure that it’s level or sloped appropriately, then compact the gravel.
If you’re using landscape rocks you won’t need a level for this step as the natural variations in size will be perfectly imprecise, but if you choose blocks or bricks you will want to make sure each one is level to the ones laid on each side, and don’t forget to fill in any cracks or spaces with more gravel to hold them in place.
If you'd like your retaining wall to hold up for many years and not buckle over time, it's important to prevent water build up behind your wall. Lay 4" perforated pipe the length of your wall directly behind the first layer of blocks or landscaping rocks and on top of your gravel base. (Remember - your gravel base should extend 8" beyond the back of your block.) Cover your pipe with drain rock. Continue adding drain rock to this area as you build your wall higher. Use filter fabric to separate the drain rock from any soil. Water will now find the rock and work its way down to your pipe and away from your wall.
If using blocks or bricks you will want to stagger your first and second layers. This can be done by using a saw to cut a block in half and using that piece as the start of your next layer starting the end. Be sure to wear hand, eye, and ear protection when cutting at all times. If you don’t own an appropriate tool for cutting blocks you can easily rent one at most home improvement stores.
If you're using blocks you may want to put down a layer of block caps to create a finished look. These should overhang your wall by 1 - 1 1/2 inches and can be secured using construction adhesive. Fill in gaps between blocks or rocks using leftover gravel. If you'd like a more aesthetically pleasing option for filling in the gaps, use our 5/8" Minus Crushed Rock. Next, landscape as desired. We carry topsoil as well as a specialty topsoil blend for lawns.
Now all that's left to do is stand back and admire your work!
As you can see, building a retaining wall is possible with a little know-how and some hard work, and can be a beautiful addition to your outdoor space. If you tackle this project we’d love to hear from you and see pictures of how it turned out!
In the Pacific Northwest, there are two driveway coverings which are the most common - gravel and pavement. Each choice comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
The chief advantages of gravel are its affordability and ease of use. Gravel is less expensive than pavement and is relatively easy and quick to install. With proper maintenance, gravel driveways can last indefinitely. Additionally, gravel comes in a wide range of colors and textures, allowing for aesthetic flexibility.
One disadvantage of gravel is that it needs to be replenished from time to time. Additionally, snow, ice, and leaf removal can be difficult. However, regular maintenance and winterizing techniques, like applying salt, can reduce these problems.
Whether you choose asphalt or concrete, pavement will have a relatively long lifespan. It can last decades with proper maintenance. However, pavement needs to be sealed regularly and is more vulnerable to heat and winter conditions. On the plus side, driving over pavement produces less dust and debris than driving over gravel.
The disadvantage of paving your driveway is the cost - which is substantially more than traditional gravel. However, at Reece Aggregates and Recycling, we offer recycled asphalt which can be a great solution for homeowners who desire a low maintenance driveway solution without the cost of paving. Give us a call to learn more about recycled asphalt.
If you're interested in having your driveway paved, our partner business, Reece Construction, Co., can help! Visit www.Reece-Construction.com to learn more.
To properly prep for a gravel driveway, you must first scrape off the topsoil. The depth of topsoil on each property varies from just a few inches to a foot or more. Once the topsoil is removed, your driveway will likely be substantially lower than the surrounding area. This is where your first layer of gravel comes in.
Use a large aggregate to bring your driveway back up to the same level as the surrounding area. We recommend using our 3" Minus Recycled Asphalt and Concrete mixture. This material binds well and is inexpensive. Make sure to roll and compact this layer as well as each subsequent layer.
Your next layer should be medium size gravel. This is the layer you will grade to the proper slope for drainage. We recommend going about 4" deep for this layer. A couple of great material choices are our 1-1/4" Minus Recycled Asphalt or 1-1/4" Minus Recycled Concrete. Both materials have fines in them to help the driveway bind together and are affordable choices.
To cap off your driveway, your final layer should be at least 3" deep. The best material for this layer is 5/8" Minus Crushed Rock. This gravel looks good and is easy to rake out.
Once your gravel driveway is installed, maintenance will help keep it functional and pleasing to the eye. Regular maintenance includes removing sticks and other debris from the driveway, re-grading the surface periodically, and adding a fresh surface layer of 5/8" Minus Crushed Rock every 12 to 24 months.