With the rise of small urban dwellings, many homeowners face a problem of maintaining grass lawns with insufficient sunlight. An effective and simple answer to this problem is to replace patchy carpet of grass with decorative gravel.
There is no need for regular maintenance with the lawn mower either. Also if you have pets or kids, grass does not grow well because of repeated trampling. With a gravel yard, there is no such worry and maintenance. Installing a gravel yard, combining decorative gravel with lawn decorative pieces, is an easy task to accomplish. Even for larger yards, a part of it can be converted into an alluring gravel garden area. It may also be cost-effective to use gravel for making a pathway, driveway. You can also make low lying areas where rain water collects into utility areas, for keeping recycling bins, storing lawn furniture, or placing your barbecue grill, with a compact bed of gravel.
Things You Will Need
- Landscaping fabric
- Landscaping edging
- Landscaping pins
- Hand tamper
- Garden hose, rope
- Gravel pack
Mark out the area for the gravel yard, in case you are not filling the entire yard, with a garden hose or rope. Alternatively you can also use spray paint to draw a line on the grass and dirt.
Use a shovel to remove all turf, dirt, grass and weeds inside the work area. Dig down to a depth of 3 to 4 inches at least. With the sides, you must dig down straight and the area within should be flat.
Compact and tamp the dirt with a hand tamper to make it level. For areas that are bigger, consider renting a compactor for tamping the dirt in less time and with much less labor. Compact the dirt with a tamper. Inspect the surface to ensure the compacted are is level and if necessary, add more dirt to make it level.
Rake and fill with about two inches of crushed stone pack. Dampen the stone pack with water, to reduce dust in the air when using the compactor or tamping tool. This provides a hard surface for the gravel and also provides a barrier between the gravel and the dirt below, ensuring that weed does not grow through fast.
Lay down a layer of landscaping fabric with the shiny side up tautly and fasten it with landscaping pins to stop it from budging. You can use a second layer of fabric by overlapping it at approximately 6 inches, to prevent weeds from emerging through the gravel. The breathable landscape fabric also allows rain water to penetrate while stopping rocks from being smashed into dirt when they are walked on.
Install plastic or metal edging along the perimeter of the work area to preserve the gravel in place and also to prevent grass from scaling into the gravel in the future. With children it is best to use more durable edging, like lumber to prevent rocks from being dragged out of the area. It is advisable to install edging according to manufacturer directions. Dig a 4-inch trench along the outer rim and line with edging so it extends 1 inch above the soil line. The edging is a clean and even divide between the gravel and the surrounding area.
Fill and shovel the work area with gravel to 1/2 inch below ground level. Use an iron rake to spread the gravel smoothly across the entire area inside. Dampen and compact the rocks with a metal tamper firmly in place into a durable, level surface.
Keep in mind that dark colors absorb sunlight and may get too hot to the touch, and if you live in areas prone to wind or rainstorms then it may mess up your neat gravel yard. Gravel is relatively cheap, but hauling it is increasingly expensive, so fuel prices and transportation costs are passed on to the consumer. So it might be better value and more sustainable to use locally mined gravel.
Davis Concrete is a family-owned and operated concrete business that provides Florida homeowners and contractors with the very best building materials in Clearwater, Tampa, Bradenton and Lakeland.