How to Build a Pea Gravel Patio

Pea gravel patios have been a big trend in recent years. While they may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, they are incredibly functional and can also be very budget-friendly if you know how to build one yourself.

If you’re looking for a way to add some extra living space to your home, consider building a patio. Not only will it give you a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors, but it can also increase the value of your property. In this guide, we’ll show you how to build a pea gravel patio using simple steps that anyone can follow.

What is a pea gravel patio?

A pea gravel patio is a type of patio that is made up of small, rounded stones. They are often used because they are affordable, durable, and easy to maintain.

A pea gravel patio makes a great outdoor living space as it adds functionality to your outdoor area, as well as makes it more attractive.

Benefits of using pea gravel patio

There are many benefits to using a pea gravel patio, such as the following:

  • It is inexpensive.
  • It is easy to install.
  • It requires little maintenance.
  • It can be used for both residential and commercial applications.
  • It is available in a variety of colors.
  • It is versatile (you can easily change its size)


What to consider before building a pea gravel patio

When building a pea gravel patio, there are several things that need to be considered before starting the project.

Avoid water path

You’ll want to choose an area where water drains away from structures on-site and doesn’t pool up in any way, shape, or form; otherwise, flooding could occur after heavy rainfall events, which would destroy everything you’ve just spent hours working hard towards achieving success with.

How much space do you want the patio to occupy?

You’ll need to figure out how much area is needed before starting construction on this project so that it doesn’t take up too little or too large of an amount. Determine exactly where you’d like your pea gravel patio to be, and then start measuring from there in order for everything to go as planned during execution without any problems later down the line.

What type of surface will the patio be sitting on?

You also need to take into account what type of surface the pea gravel will be resting on top of, as this could be either concrete, asphalt, or some other solid material–just make sure it can adequately support the weight of all the stones without buckling or breaking. If it is soil, it will sink into the soil over time. 

What kind of shape do you want the patio to be?

Patios can be in any shape you desire, though the most popular ones are generally rectangular or square. You’ll want to take some time beforehand and sketch out a rough design of what you have in mind so that when it comes time to start building, things will go much more smoothly and without any headaches.

What type of foundation will you use?

A good foundation is essential for any patio project, so be sure to choose one that works best with your needs and budget. This could range from simple wooden boards to more complex concrete blocks depending on what type of material options are available where you live as well as how much money they will cost overall (as this can vary widely).

Tools and supplies needed for the pea gravel patio

There are a lot of tools and supplies that will be needed for this project.

  • Shovels and spades: Used to excavate the area where your new pea gravel patio will sit.
  • Wheelbarrows: used as mobile containers for transporting materials from one location to another during construction projects – they’re also incredibly useful for moving large quantities of stones about without having to strain yourself.
  • Rake: Used to level the surface and distribute materials evenly across the patio area.
  • Measuring tape or ruler: for accurately measuring distances between various points in your sketched-out design and ensuring everything is symmetrical.
  • Level: To make sure that the patio surface is even from one end to the other.
  • Pea gravel (granite or river rock)
  • Edging material or pavers
  • Compactable base material (sand, road base, recycled crushed concrete)
  • Tamper or compacting tool
  • String lines and stakes


How do I build a pea gravel patio?

Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to get started on construction. Here’s how:

Step one: Excavate the area

The first step is to excavate the area where the patio will be built. This can be done with a shovel, pickaxe, or any other tool that can dig up dirt and stone. You’ll want to make sure the area is level before laying down your pavers.

Step two: Prepare the site

The next step is to prepare the site for building your patio by spreading landscape fabric over the soil to prevent weed growth and help keep down dust and mud. If you want to make your patio more stable or need to build it up above your lawn level for any reason, use landscaping timbers to frame out the size and height of your desired patio space.

Step three: Lay down sand

Once you’ve excavated an area for your patio, add about two inches of sand on top of it to create a solid base layer for the pea gravel stones. This will prevent them from shifting around when they’re being laid out due to rain or other weather events.

Step four: Add some gravel

The next step is adding some gravel in between each paver, so there’s room for water drainage and also helps with preventing weeds from growing through cracks in concrete slabs (this isn’t always necessary but definitely recommended).

Step five: Add a second layer of gravel

After you have added the first layer of gravel, it’s time to add another. This will help create a more sturdy base for your patio and keep everything level when people walk on it. Make sure that each paver gets its own second layer of pebbles before moving on to the next one, so there aren’t any gaps between them later down the line.

Step six: Smooth it out

Now comes smoothing out all those pebbles into an even surface so they can lay flat against each other without any spaces leftover or top layers coming up through cracks in concrete slabs (this isn’t always necessary but definitely recommended).

When smoothing out all those pebbles, you can use a shovel or rake. Just make sure everything is even and looks nice before moving on to the next step.

Step seven: Add final touches

Once everything is leveled out and looking good, it’s time for the final touches! This might include adding some plants around the edges or putting down a few patio chairs and a table. Whatever your heart desires.

What to do after building your gravel patio:

  • After the patio has been installed, you will need to wait a few days for the gravel to settle. During this time, be sure not to drive on or park over the new surface.
  • Once the gravel has settled, sweep it clean of any debris and loosen any clumps that may have formed.
  • Inspect the patio for any areas that may need additional gravel or sand. Use a rake to smooth out any bumps or depressions on the surface.
  • Finally, add a sealant to protect your new patio from weathering and staining. A water-based sealant is recommended for pea gravel patios. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when applying the sealant. Make sure to test an inconspicuous area first, like under a piece of furniture or behind an outdoor appliance.


Frequently Asked Questions


How deep should a pea gravel patio be?

The depth of a pea gravel patio should be about two to four inches. How much material you need will depend on the layout and design of your space, as well as how much traffic it receives.

How thick should the base rock under pavers be?

The thickness of your base layer depends on what type of materials are used. For example, if you’re using crushed stone or gravel, it needs to be at least three inches deep; however, concrete slabs require six to eight inches thick layers with reinforcement rods in between each slab before laying down any pavers over them.

Can you put pea gravel directly on dirt?

No. A proper base layer of crushed stone or gravel is necessary to prevent the soil from eroding and ensure good drainage.

Can you put pea gravel on a concrete patio?

Yes, you can put pea gravel on a concrete patio; however, it’s important to first lay down a layer of crushed stone or gravel to provide good drainage.


Patio building is not a hard thing to do. The key is to make sure the area where the patio will go has been leveled properly and is free of obstructions and issues that could impede completing the project. Once you have those things sorted out, getting your new patio built should be straightforward. Just follow the steps laid out in this post, and with a little work, you too can have an attractive patio for entertaining or relaxing outdoors.