Pros & Cons of Gravel Patios – Complete Guide

Any backyard would benefit from a pea gravel patio. It’s stunning and one-of-a-kind, but it’s also simple to install and maintain. Nonetheless, a couple of points are worth considering while designing your new patio. In this blog entry, we’ll give you a quick overview of gravel for patios and go through the pros and cons of pea gravel patios so you can make the best selection for your patio surface.

What is Pea Gravel

Pea gravel is a type of gravel smaller in size than regular gravel. It is typically made up of small, round river stones about the size of a pea. Pea gravel is often used for landscaping and paving projects, as well as for patios and walkways.

There are various different types of pea gravel available on the market. 

Crushed Stone Pea Gravel. 

This type comprises small, round stones that have been crushed into smaller pieces. Crushed stone pea gravel is usually less expensive than other types of gravel, but it can be more challenging to walk on because the stones are smaller in size.

Smooth-Washed Pea Gravel. 

This type comprises more significant, smoother stones that have been washed clean. Smooth-washed pea gravel is more expensive than crushed stone pea gravel, but it is easier to walk on and has a more polished appearance.

 River Wash Pea Gravel. 

This type comprises tiny, naturally rounded stones washed clean by the river. River wash pea gravel tends to be the most expensive type but has the smoothest and most polished appearance.

Pea gravel is typically collected from rivers or quarries. It is then cleaned and sorted into different sizes before being sold to consumers.

The Pros of Gravel for Your Patio

Pea gravel is an excellent choice for your patio for several reasons. It is affordable, easy to install, and low maintenance. Pea gravel can illuminate a gloomy nook or make trails in your yard. In addition, pea gravel patios are customizable and look natural.

Examine in greater detail the benefits of using gravel for your patio.

Pea Gravel Cost—Affordable compared to other hardscaping materials. A pea gravel patio costs a fraction of different materials like concrete, stone pavers, or brick pavers. Thus, it’s an excellent alternative for homes on a limited budget.

Ease of Installation—Pea gravel is one of the most accessible patio surfaces to install. All you need is a level area and some elbow grease (or a friend to help). If you need to make a minor tweak to the level of your patio, pea gravel is also easy to remove and replace.

Low Maintenance—A pea gravel patio is practically maintenance-free. Unlike stone pavers or concrete epoxy, which need to be regularly polished and washed, all you need to do to keep your pea gravel patio looking its best is give it the occasional rake. Weeds may also start to grow in your gravel over time, but they can easily be pulled up by hand.

Customizable—Because pea gravel comes in various colors and sizes, it is easy to create a custom look for your patio. You can blend and match multiple colors and sizes of pea gravel to create patterns or designs that reflect your personal style.

Natural Look—If you are looking for a hardscaping solution that looks natural, pea gravel is an excellent choice. Pea gravel patios have a soft, organic appearance that will complement any landscaping style.

The Cons of Gravel For Your Patio

While gravel can be an inexpensive and easy-to-install option, there are some disadvantages that you ought to be aware of before making your ultimate choice. Upkeep, weeds, sinking furniture, and spreading stones are potential problems with pea gravel patios.

Let’s look more in-depth at the cons of using gravel on your patio.

Upkeep and Weeds

One of the main disadvantages of a pea gravel patio is that it will require upkeep over time. Unevenness and loss of rock density can be rectified by raking and pouring new pea gravel. Pea gravel patios are also weed-prone and will need to be weeded regularly.

Furniture Sinking and Wheeled Goods

Another downside of pea gravel patios is that furniture may sink into the gravel, making it challenging to move around. This can also be problematic for wheeled goods such as grills or garden carts.

Spreading Stones

Another potential problem with pea gravel patios is that the stones will spread from your patio to your lawn, garden, or paths. This can be incredibly hazardous if you have small children or pets who could accidentally ingest the stones.

An Overview of Gravel Patios Pros & Cons

Pea Gravel
Pea Gravel

Pros:

  • Pea gravel patios are relatively easy and inexpensive to install. You only require a level surface and some stone dust or sand to hold the stones.
  • Pea gravel is low maintenance; unlike most other patio surfaces, you won’t have to seal or treat it regularly.
  • Pea gravel provides good drainage; rainwater will quickly dissipate, so you won’t have to worry about puddles forming on your patio.
  • Pea gravel is available in various colors, so you can find a shade that suits your taste and complements your home’s existing color scheme.
  • Pea gravel patios are relatively easy to DIY; if you’re handy and have a little time, you can easily install a pea gravel patio yourself. 

Cons:

  • Although pea gravel is low maintenance, it will still require some upkeep. Unevenness and loss of rock density can be rectified by raking and pouring new pea gravel.
  • Pea gravel patios are weed-prone; if you don’t want weeds popping up all over your patio, you’ll need to be diligent about pulling them as soon as they appear.
  • Gravel can be challenging to walk on barefoot; if you’re planning on spending a lot of time on your patio, you may want to consider another more comfortable surface.
  • Additionally, furniture may sink into the gravel, and wheeled goods may be difficult to move around.
  • Pea gravel patios spread; over time, the stones will migrate from your patio to your lawn, garden, or paths. (If you don’t want rocks everywhere, you’ll need to build some kind of border around your patio to contain them.)

The Earth Stone Rock guy, Chris, breaks down the finer points of pea gravel so we can all have a clearer picture of the material. Professional landscapers in the know turn to California Building Material Supply, whose channel is a gold mine of information.

undefined [Earth Stone & Rock]. (2018, December 17). Pea Gravel Explained [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvKZW-94Wl8

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, pea gravel patios have pros and cons like any other patio surface. Considering installing a gravel patio in your backyard, carefully weigh the pros and cons before making your final decision.

Remember that gravel patios require some upkeep, so be prepared to put in a little work to keep them looking nice. And if you go with gravel, select a color that will complement your home’s existing color scheme.

I hope that this info has assisted you in determining if a gravel patio is best for you.

Thanks for reading! 

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