Gravel patios are attractive options for your yard. The features of gravel help give the ground a natural look in its surroundings. That being said, how deep should a gravel patio be?
Your gravel patio should be 5 inches deep. This depth helps you apply a sub-base for about 4 inches. The last layer will be the gravel, which should be 1 inch deep. Apply the gravel gradually to avoid it spilling.
In this article, we will discuss how to install a gravel patio, how much gravel you need, how to lay the gravel on the patio, why you should choose gravel for your patio, and gravel patio maintenance.
How to Install a Gravel Patio
There are several things to keep in mind when you choose to incorporate a gravel patio into your yard. Before you proceed, make sure you dig the patio and edge the perimeter. Add the gravel gradually so you can leave a gap on the top surface of gravel and edging materials.
If you find it difficult to do the installation of a gravel patio, you can hire people to help you with it. We also recommend you hire an expert for the management and consultation, especially if the area is huge.
- Dig the area for the required depth
Before you install gravel to your patio, make sure you dig it to the needed depth. This will give way to the hold of the gravel to make it compact. After you’ve dug, proceed with the edging surrounding the perimeter.
- Edge the perimeter
You may use several materials to edge the perimeter’s surroundings, including plastic, galvanized steel, plastic, cedar, bricks, pressure-treated wood, and cobblestones. These are available in home improvement stores.
- Cover with landscape fabric
Once you are done with these two steps, cover the surface with landscape fabric. You are allowed to use the fabric even if you have soil or stones on the base. Note to put 2.5 inches deep for the base, then proceed to lay the fabric.
- Add the gravel gradually
When adding the gravel, always observe the rule not to fully pour the gravel to fill the area you covered with landscaping fabric. The first pour should comprise about 2 inches of gravel on the patio. Leave ½ inch of space in the middle on the top of the edging material and gravel.
Providing space helps prevent the gravel from leaking. After you’ve filled the patio with gravel, level it so it will flatten the surface.
How Much Gravel You Need in Your Patio
Knowing the measurement of the gravel you need for a patio is important to prevent buying too much. It may not be used again, so ensure the measurements first. After that, you can proceed with the estimation of the gravel.
In measuring how much gravel you need for your patio, you must multiply the depth of the patio by the design’s width and length. The formula of this measurement is:
(inches) of gravel’s depth x (size) of the patio layout = amount of gravel
Note to convert the size similar to the measurement of the planned depth. If the measurement isn’t in inches, change it to inches first. Then, continue with the multiplication.
Example: 3-½ in x 5 ft. x 5 ft. convert to 3-½ inches x 60 inches x 60 inches, then multiply. The product is 12,600 cubic inches.
In some instances, the measurement is in cubic yards and cubic feet. Examples for both cases are seen below.
For Cubic Yards:
Once you have the cubic inches measurement, multiply it by 0.0000214 to convert it into cubic yards.
Example: 12,600 cubic inches x 0.0000214 = 0.27 cubic yards of gravel
For Cubic Feet:
To convert cubic inches into cubic feet, you should multiply the product by 0.000579.
Example: 12,600 cubic inches x 0.000579 = 7.30 cubic feet of gravel
Steps in Laying Your Gravel in Your Patio
Before you lay the gravel in your patio, make sure you have already picked your ideal type of gravel. Choose an area in your yard and dig it, so you can add a sub-base. Edge the patio, place a weed control fabric, and add the gravel.
- Select the gravel
The first method you should apply is to pick the ideal gravel to use. Luckily, you can choose different types of gravel to fit your preferences. Gravel is available in a wide range of sizes and colors that will surely add up to the beauty of your yard.
There are several colors you can choose from, like Dove Grey and Cotswold Buff. Other markets might sell darker types with unique names that will fill the patio with pretty aesthetics. Gravels with elegant designs are also available to complement your yard’s atmosphere.
- Choose the area where you want to situate the gravel patio
The most important thing in making a patio is to know where you want to put it. Place it in the area where you plan to put the chairs and tables for the patio. That would be an ideal sight to imagine if you want to have dinner or lunch with your family and friends on Sundays.
Ensure that you don’t block the walkways or garden. The distance is also strategic, so consider whether you may want to put it near or far from the house. If you choose to establish the gravel patio away from your house, find a flat surface to make the laying of gravel easy. The ground surface far from the house usually has slopes.
Higher areas are also a good option. They allow you to have a nice view if you’re staying in an elevated place. Once you’ve picked the area, mark it using rope or other materials that can help you identify it.
- Dig the area
Once you’ve marked the area, you can proceed to dig it. Dig the topsoil to the preferred depth. You can strengthen the foundation by adding a sub-layer. With such, you need to dig for about 5 inches.
If your base has soft parts, you should remove it and apply MOT type 1 to help provide a stronger sub-base. Most importantly, the base should have flat and compact features.
If ponds have edgings, the gravel patio has some as well. Edging this kind of patio ensures that the gravel is compact and prevents the gravel from spilling. Without the patio edging, the gravel tends to spread all over the area, which can result in a reduction of its amount over time.
- Prepare the sub-base
As recommended above, the MOT type 1 is an ideal option for the sub-base of your gravel patio. Spread the material and press it to pulverize. Make sure to fill in the patio with about 4 inches of this material to make your foundation strong.
- Use fabric to control weeds
Putting fabric to control weed is advisable before you lay the gravel in your patio. It will prevent the weed from growing on the gravel over time. You may indeed not want to see growing weeds on top of your gravel. Although you can trim it, it will surely grow again.
- Lay your gravel
The last step consists of laying and spreading the gravel that you chose in the first step. Pour it slowly so you can ensure it won’t spill. Flatten it, and you’re done!
Why You Should Choose Gravel for Your Patio
Choosing gravel for your patio is important to fill in and match the design of the surroundings. From its price, color, texture, and the beauty it can bring to the patio, you will know if certain gravel fits. That is why, before you buy gravel, you should choose carefully.
On the other hand, companies that sell pea gravel quarry their gravel. You can ensure that the price is lower and the products are of high quality. Such a company can also provide you with experts’ advice about the gravel patio you are planning to use in your yard.
Choosing gravel can save you money. Just like pea gravel companies that quarry their gravel, you can also pick other types that suit your budget. One of the most effective ways to save money is to buy from local gravel companies.
If you buy from a local market, you can save on transportation costs. Some companies don’t have vehicles to transport the gravel, which will result in transporting it on your own. It’s an advantage if you buy in a nearby place so you can save on fees.
The color and texture of gravel are also essential to fit the mood of the patio. There are a lot of types of gravel you can choose from, like crushed rocks, drain rocks, decomposed granites, and many others.
Gravel Patio Maintenance
The gravel patio needs maintenance over time. Although it requires you to keep it clean, it doesn’t need you to conduct regular maintenance to it. A simple water spraying action to the gravel can immediately clean it.
If you start to see dirt on the gravel, you can use a pressure power washer for up to 60 seconds. To remove the leaves that fell to the gravel, you can just use a broom to sweep it. Make sure not to forcibly sweep it as it can sweep some of the gravel as well.
In some cases, the gravel is reduced. With such, you should add up another set of gravel similar to this type to fill in the lost amount.
A gravel patio is a beautiful sight to put in your yard. The process is easy and the product is perfect and compliments the yard’s atmosphere. Although, to ensure its longevity and robustness, you should ensure the materials you use in the base are of good quality.