Pros & Cons of A Gravel Patio – Plus Tips

Gravel comes in many colors and shapes. It is a beautiful addition to any landscape. It can be used to create a beautiful patio but is also used for driveways and drainage solutions.

Gravel is a cost-effective solution to create a stunning patio & is widely available. Pea gravel is the most popular because it naturally prevents weed and is water absorbent. Gravel must be racked and refilled due to shifting. This makes it a high-maintenance solution. A firm foundation and barrier edge is needed to keep it in place. 

Let's take a look at the pros & cons of a gravel patio, as well as tips to help guide you along the process.


Different Types of Gravel

Pea Gravel

Pea gravel gets its name from its size. They are normally 1/8 and ¼ inch in diameter, which is roughly the size of a pea. You also get bigger varieties that can be up to 1.25 inches, but this is not standard.

Pea gravel comprises smooth round stones that are comfortable enough to walk on barefoot. It comes in a variety of colors that include gray, yellow, white, beige, and translucent.

Pea gravel also absorbs water; therefore you do not have to grade your yard to make a slope. 

Angular Gravel

This is often used when repaving a road. This gravel is irregular in shape. It has points and angles, allowing rocks to lock together, thus forming a more solid surface.

Popular types of angular gravel are quartzite and lava rock. Due to its sharp nature, this gravel is not ideal to walk barefoot. Angular gravel will hold its shape for longer periods of time. 

Decomposed Granite

 This comprises decomposed granite rocks that have broken down into fine pieces due to erosion. It feels like coarse sand and creates a stable, soft surface. 

It also comes in a variety of colors. This is a good choice for mildly temperature areas. To solidify it, it can be mixed with a liquid stabilizer.

We will be focusing on Pea Gravel patios

Pros of a Pea Gravel Patio

It is an economical option that can produce beautiful results. On average you will need one ton of material to create your pea gravel patio. You can purchase this from your local landscaping store for about $55 per ton. Bulk prices could be even cheaper. 

First, you need to lay down some landscaping fabric to prevent weed growth. You may also want to compact your ground before starting your project. We would recommend the following:

ECOgardener Premium 5oz Pro Garden Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric Durable & Heavy-Duty Weed Block Gardening Mat

Available in Various Sizes

Our landscape fabric and weed barrier comes in different sizes to suit every gardener's need. No matter how big or small your garden is, our landscape fabric is made to make your growing life easier.


The job can be done in a day and is a cheaper option than pavers and easier to lay than flagstones. 

You can walk on it barefoot. Because of the shape and size of pea gravel, it is easier to walk on. This product is stable and easy to maintain.

You can get creative with your pea gravel – You can mix your pea gravel with other stones and gravel-like materials to create a fabulous landscaping feature.

Gaps can be filled using pavers. It is easy to install since all you need to do is lay the border and then place the gravel.

creative path

Pea gravel naturally prevents weed growth – If your pea gravel is at least four inches thick, it will prevent unwanted weeds from growing onto your patio. This means that you are not required to lay landscaping fabric. A thicker layer will result in a less muddy patio. It also means fewer pest problems on your property. 

You do not have to worry about flooding issues – Water soaks into the stones instead of running over them. The is no need to change the slope of your yard. You will be able to gain controlled erosion and improve drainage.

Pea gravel is widely available – Pea gravel is available at most retail suppliers. Most hardware stores will sell it by the bag. You could also purchase it through amazon.

12 Pounds River Rock Stones, Natural Decorative Polished Mixed Pebbles

  • Contains a wide variety of natural colors and shapes.
  • They are long-lasting and will not deteriorate as mulch does.
  • Use for flower arrangements, vase fillers, walkways, water features, ponds, exposed aggregate flooring or walls, swimming pool areas, and many other areas.
  • Ideal for home decor and a creative interior and exterior design.
  • helps soil retain moisture and helps you keep clean and nice all of your decoration places.

Pea gravel will begin to compact – By placing heavy objects on your pea gravel, it will start to compact and harden. Binding oil also aids in the compressing process. A solid surface is achieved at a fraction of the cost of installing a concrete patio. 

Cons of Installing a Pea Gravel Patio

Pea gravel moves, shifts, and spreads – It is difficult to compact due to its round, smooth surface. Gravel will move from your patio area and end up in your yard and walkways.

You can rectify this problem by using Dimex easy flex plastic, wood, bender boards metal, or paving stones, but this will incur extra cost. Regular raking is also required to keep your gravel in place.

Furniture may sink and be uneven – Furniture may sink as the gravel shifts, making tables and chairs uneven. Loose patio gravel might also move each time you pull out a chair.

Chairs such as the Adirondack styles may work better on your gravel patio. Having a deeper gravel base might help with stability.

Difficult for wheelchairs and strollers – It is a difficult surface to drag things such as wheelchairs, suitcases, and strollers. This is not a great surface for people that have mobility problems.

Requires maintenance and refilling – Due to the sinking and shifting you might have to refill your patio every few years. You will also have to rake frequently to keep up a neat appearance. Invest in a good metal rake.

Garden Rake Heavy Duty Bow Rake with 60″ Stainless Steel Handle Metal Rake

  • Solid Construction The blade of the bow rake is attached to the pole securely, it could withstand the heavy work in the garden.
  • Efficient Gardening This garden rake with 14 sharp tines, which make it could pierce into any kind of soil and serve to dig, loosen soil efficiently.
  • Ergonomic Design The handle of the dirt rake is made of multiple pieces, you could customize the length as you like. And the no-slip grip could be helpful to work more efficiently.
  • Multiple Functions】Our yard rake is designed for effectively gardening. It could loosen the soil up, mix soil with fertilizers better, gather leaves, and so on.

Weeds – Unwanted seeds can begin to germinate if there are any organic elements between your stones.  This may occur even if you used landscaping fabric. These weeds are not difficult to remove, but it is an additional chore.

Difficult for snow removal – You could end up removing gravel with your snow. Use a shovel for the thicker snow.

When you get to a thin surface just above the pebbles you can use a leaf blower. Salt can also be used to melt the snow. 

Pros & Cons of A Gravel Patio – Conclusion

A gravel patio is a simple and easy way to transform a part of your yard. With a small budget, you can easily create an attractive outdoor area. Choose your furniture wisely.

Avoid installing your gravel at shallow depths and installing a base using coarsely crushed rocks. It is wise to use landscaping fabric to help prevent weeds and to prevent your patio from getting muddy.

If you are looking for a low-cost solution with a bit of maintenance, this type of patio is for you.

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