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!