How to Lay a Gravel Yard

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Many types of gravel are available to turn a yard into a low-maintenance place to enjoy the outdoors.

Gravel yards are sometimes found in smaller yards and play areas because it is far less expensive to lay gravel than to purchase and run a lawn mower for such a small area. Grass in most play areas will not grow to the best of its abilities because of repeated trampling by little feet. A gravel yard will remove that worry and maintenance.


Step 1: Mark the Area for Gravel

Mark the area for the gravel yard. (If the entire yard is going to be filled with gravel, this step is not necessary.) Determine a large enough space around the play equipment to provide running room for the children who will play inside. Mark a line with a garden hose, rope or spray paint.


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Step 2: Prepare the Yard for Gravel

Dig inside the marked area to a depth of four inches. Remove dirt, grass, weeds and tree roots inside the space. The sides of the area should be dug straight down, and the area inside should be flat.

Step 3: Tamp Down the Yard

Tamp down the dirt with a hand tamper to compact it. For large areas, renting a compactor to tamp the dirt will reduce the amount of time and work required.


Step 4: Add Stone Pack

Fill the area with 2 inches of crushed stone pack. Rake the pack smooth with a metal rake.

Step 5: Pack Down the Stone

Spray the stone pack with water to dampen it. This will limit the amount of dust in the air when running the compactor or using the tamping tool. Tamp the crushed stone pack with a hand tamper or compactor. This will provide a hard surface for the gravel to rest on. It also will provide a barrier between the gravel and the dirt below, slowing weed growth.


Step 6: Put Down Landscape Fabric

Lay down a layer of landscaping fabric. Turn the shiny side of the fabric up. Overlap the next row of fabric by approximately 6 inches. The more fabric you use, the better the weed control. Adding a second layer of fabric is not discouraged. Pull the fabric taut and fasten it in place with landscaping pins to prevent it from moving during the installation of the gravel.


Step 7: Install Landscape Edging

Line the inside edges of the area with landscape edging. The use of the area will determine which type of edging. If the area is going to be mostly used by children, it may be best to use a larger, more durable edging.

This could include lumber that will be inserted vertically, and protrude from the ground approximately 12 inches to prevent rocks from being kicked out of the area and onto the lawn. Or it could be a simple black liner. Place the liner along the edges and install it according to manufacturer directions.


Step 8: How To Lay Gravel in Yard

Fill the area with smooth and small gravel to 1/2 inch below ground level. If you're laying a gravel yard for a children's play area, use smooth and small gravel, such as pea gravel. Rake the gravel smooth across the entire area inside. Dampen the rocks and compact them with the compactor.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose, rope or spray paint

  • Shovel

  • Hand tamper or rented compactor

  • Crushed stone pack

  • Metal rake

  • Landscaping fabric

  • Landscaping edging

  • Landscaping pins



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