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What are the Best Tips for Building a Gravel Patio?

By Patrick Lynch
Updated May 16, 2024
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Building a gravel patio is a surprisingly simple process. Tips include marking the boundary with string and chalk. The area should also be cleaned of all debris and vegetation before purchasing pea gravel for the base. Newspaper can be used to create a weed barrier because it is cheap and effective. Using rocks as edging is optional before laying the gravel on the space with a shovel.

First, mark the space where the gravel patio is to be laid. A good method of measuring this space is by using string. This is especially pertinent if the patio is not square in shape. Once this is done, use chalk to clearly show the boundary.

The space should then be completely cleaned out. This means the removal of all vegetation. Next, all stones and rocks should be removed because a gravel patio needs a layer of dirt to be laid first.

There are numerous materials that can be used to create a patio base; gravel is one of the most popular. It may be useful to check an online hardware store for the best deals on gravel. It is possible to purchase hundreds of pounds of pea gravel very inexpensively.

The next step is to lay a weed barrier. Old newspapers are a good choice, although weed barrier cloth is relatively inexpensive. Regardless of the material, it is important to obtain enough of it to cover the entire gravel patio space.

Edging should be added to the patio before the underlay is placed on the gravel patio. Place the rocks and dig in the edging. An alternative is to plant some flowers along the boundary.

Install the weed underlay once the perimeter of the patio is completed. If newspaper is being used, place it all over the gravel patio space. Only use black and white newspaper. Make sure that there are no stones or sticks lying on the space as these will damage the paper.

The newspaper is a good way of smothering weeds; it is also organic. Another great idea is to place a layer of mulch over the paper. This is a cheap and effective means of ensuring no weeds manifest themselves. When the paper is being laid, make sure the edges are placed over the edges of other pages. Failure to do this will see weeds creep between the gap.

Take the gravel and spread it evenly all over the patio space at a depth of at least 3 cm (1 inch) using a shovel. Always do a final check of the newspaper to ensure there are no gaps. When the gravel has been spread, gently beat it down with the shovel. Put a small amount of water on the gravel to help it settle. Keep some of the newspaper and gravel in case any areas are disturbed by children or pets.

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Discussion Comments
By Heavanet — On May 19, 2014

Basic bricks make nice borders for gravel patios. They are not too costly, and they are easy to put in place. Once the outline of a gravel patio is in place with brick borders, any type of gravel can be used to complete this unique patio design.

By Rundocuri — On May 18, 2014

Some landscaping stores and lawn and garden suppliers sell gravel that is made of small, round stones. This type of gravel is smooth to walk on and has a nice, clean appearance. Though it is more costly than basic gravel, round stone gravel makes a beautiful base for a gravel patio. It also has the benefit of being less likely to wash away in strong rains like basic gravel does.

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