Pea Gravel Installation

Pea gravel is a landscaping product that can be used for multiple yard projects.
Pea gravel is a landscaping product that can be used for multiple yard projects. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Pea gravel is a versatile landscaping product often used for driveways, patios and walkways. The installation process varies depending on the application, but essentially the basic steps are the same for any project. The grunt work is all in the preparation of the surface for laying the gravel and digging out the containment bed.

Things You'll Need

  • Thick string or twine
  • Wooden stakes
  • Hammer
  • Pointed metal shovel
  • Flat metal shovel
  • Metal rake
  • Yardstick
  • Loppers
  • Tamper
  • Weed barrier
  • Landscape edging
  • Timber nails
  • Pea gravel
  • Hose with spray nozzle

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Drive wooden stakes into the ground around 18 inches apart all around the area where the pea gravel will be installed. Use the string to tie around each stake so the string hovers a few inches off the ground. The idea is to create a border guide for the digging of your bed. The string should be tight enough to help you maintain a straight edge when digging.

Use a flat shovel to dig from each edge toward the center. The bed should be at least 3 inches deep. Once the edge area is dug out and established use the pointed shovel to dig out the middle area of the bed. If you encounter any roots, cut them with the loppers. The bed should be a uniform depth, so use the yardstick to check on the depth as you go. Smooth out the bed floor with the metal rake once you have all the dirt removed. Flatten the entire floor area of the bed with the tamper next.

Lay down your weed barrier from edge to edge. Overlap each strip on top of the other when you are working in areas that aren't covered by a single roll length. Position the edging along the walls of the bed and use the timber nails to hold them in place over the weed barrier. Though the edging strips typically have multiple mounting holes, you don't need to drive a nail in each one. Just use enough to hold each strip in place so it won't come loose.

Pour the pea gravel into the bed area. Use the top side of the rake to create an even layer that should rise slightly above the ground level to account for settling. Use the tamper again to pack down the area. Add more gravel to any low areas with the pointed shovel and use the tamper one last time on these spots.

Spray the area down with a garden hose fitted with a spray nozzle. A fine mist setting is ideal. This will remove any excess dirt and help weigh the rocks down a bit so they will settle better.

Tips & Warnings

  • Carefully choose the sizing of your pea gravel, which comes in multiple varieties. If you are using the material for a driveway, bigger rocks may be better. Small, fine rocks are great for walkways, but they may only bog your vehicle down if used in driveway applications.


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