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A Complete Guide on Landscaping With Pea Gravel

Pea gravel is ideal for driveways, front, and backyard landscaping. Start your landscaping project with this complete guide to pea gravel.
Top-down closeup photo of a epoxied pea gravel surface

Since the pandemic sent everyone into lockdown, there has been a twenty percent rise in outdoor recreation. With nowhere else to go, people started spending more time in their own backyards. 

Homeowners everywhere started tackling outdoor projects that they never considered before because they never spent time out there to notice. If you’ve recently taken an interest in giving your landscaping a makeover, you’re not alone.

We’re going to show you how pea gravel can be an inexpensive yet beneficial decorative addition to your outdoor space. From a pea gravel backyard to a pea gravel driveway, your options are endless. Read on to learn more about pea gravel landscaping!

What Is Pea Gravel?

Pea gravel is made up of small, natural stones whose edges have been sanded away by the flow of the river. It also goes by the name of pea stone, pea rock, pea pebbles, pea stone gravel, and CM16. There are different color varieties available, though not all of the colors are natural, like the following:

  • Red
  • Gray
  • White
  • Brown
  • Green
  • Yellow

Because of its smaller, softer nature, pea gravel is often used for pathways, patios, and dog runs. However, its uses truly are endless as it is also used for driveways and garden border accents.

How Big Is Pea Gravel?

Taking its name from the common vegetable, pea gravel resembles the size of a large pea. It is typically found in the size of 3/8 inch, but can also be found starting at the size of 1/8 inch.

Pea gravel shouldn’t be confused with crushed rock or stone, which differs in size, color, consistency, and use. Crushed rock is anywhere from 3/8 inch to 4 inches, has sharp edges, and usually is better for underground projects.

Benefits of Pea Gravel

Pea gravel starts with the awesome benefit of being a less expensive option than concrete or limestone. It’s also easier to install and requires fewer tools, which also saves you money.

Pea gravel is a great rodent deterrent because it takes away their ability to dig through your garden or beside your house. This adds to the long list of uses leading to its next benefit: versatility. Using pea gravel around the base of your home can work against mice, chipmunks, and moles, but it also adds warmth and charm to your garden walkway.

This beautiful landscape material also prevents weeds and erosion. It provides wonderful drainage and with the addition of landscape cloth will keep those nasty weeds from making their home in your driveway or garden.

A phenomenon known as “frost heave” can leave your pavement with humps as your soil swells and expands from ice. However, pea gravel prevents this from being an issue as it won’t crack as the temperatures fluctuate.

Pea Gravel Disadvantages

No landscaping material is going to be perfect, and it’s best to know the challenges going into a project. As there are many advantages to pea gravel consisting of many rocks instead of forming one hard surface, it also brings disadvantages like tracking and shifting.

Unless you attempt to add concrete or an epoxy, pea gravel is easily tracked into other places. It can get caught in shoes or flung into other parts of your garden or outdoor space.

This gravel also makes an unsteady surface for patio furniture and shifts under your feet as you walk. This can be lessened by the addition of other rock; however, it’s still good to keep in mind.

If you plan on using pea gravel as a walkway to your home or as your driveway, make sure to take into consideration your location. Some places receive a large amount of snow, and it can be difficult to shovel snow off of a gravel surface. You may end up picking up more gravel than you’d like.

How to Install Pea Gravel

As we discussed, pea gravel requires fewer tools than installing other materials like cement, but there are a few things you will want to keep in mind when installing it. For instance, it travels and will need a border to keep it from flowing over into other parts of your yard. The following are some ways to keep it in place:

  • Epoxy
  • Excavate & Lay a Foundation
  • Border
  • Tamp
  • Add Pavers


Using an epoxy, glue, or stone bond, is a great option when wanting to use pea gravel for a patio or driveway! This helps lock the gravel into place, which takes away the issue of unstable patio furniture. It also makes it easier to walk on, especially for kids running around with bare feet.

All you need for this is the stone bond, a wheelbarrow to mix in, and a level. It will give you a classic, cottage-feeling patio filled with charm!

Excavate & Lay a Foundation

You’re going to want to dig out about five to six inches before you pour your pea gravel. This is the first step even if you decide not to lay a foundation of crushed rock or mason sand.

Be careful not to go too shallow or overly deep as this can create issues. If you go too deep, you will sink. If you go too shallow, you will have a muddy disaster.

Dig five or six inches out, lay a foundation of two to three inches of the crushed rock we talked about earlier, and then cover with two to three inches of your pea gravel. It’s also recommended that you lay a landscaping fabric down first.

This formula will keep your pea gravel from being washed away, give you more structure, and provide better drainage.


To keep your gravel pathway from ending up in other parts of your garden, you’ll need to add a border. It also looks better because it gives definition to your walkway!

You can do this with plastic or metal or opt for a more natural look with stones or hedges. If you decide to go with hedges, know that you will have to trim them back. Also, a metal border will be more durable than a plastic one.

Whatever you decide to go with, keep it standing above the soil surface. Aim for at least 1/2 inch higher than the ground.


Tamping your gravel down is essential to combat spreading and helps keep it in place. After you’ve laid your pea gravel, use a tamper or lawn roller to pack it down. This will make for a much smoother surface and stop your landscape fabric from being exposed by disappearing gravel.

Add Pavers

Pavers and stones come in all different styles and types that you can adjust to your taste. However, adding pavers to your patio or pathways does more than just add a nice visual. By using stepping stones, you are keeping your pea gravel from being disturbed.

You can also add two rows of pavers for a gravel driveway. This can help you avoid ruts. The less traffic pea gravel gets, the more it stays compact.

Pea Gravel Upkeep

Keeping your pea gravel looking great isn’t difficult or expensive. By following our few tips, you shouldn’t have to replace or renew it for several years!

While pea gravel doesn’t decompose, you should plan to replenish its areas every four years. If you live in a place where rain is constantly washing it away and you haven’t developed a drainage solution, you may need to replace it sooner.

If you decide to use pea gravel in a place that requires snow shoveling, you will want to invest in some salt. This way you can scoop up most of the snow but leave the gravel as undisturbed as possible.

When it does become disturbed and could use a little touch-up, just grab a mud rake. Rake over your gravel every once in a while to distribute it more evenly throughout your driveway or pathways.

Enjoy Your Pea Gravel Landscaping

Pea gravel can take your boring backyard landscaping to the next level while providing you with some excellent benefits. Whether you choose to epoxy it into a cute backyard patio or combine it with some stone pavers for a garden pathway, we hope that these tips give you ideas that will help you love your landscaping.

If you’ve decided that pea gravel is the right choice for you, we here at Fox Landscape Supply have some in stock now. On our page, we show you what it looks like, the size in comparison to a coin, and how to calculate what you will need.

Thanks for choosing us for your landscaping information. Check out our pea gravel now!

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