Preparation for Pea Gravel Ground Cover


Pea gravel ground is a hassle free alternative to grassy lawn. Grassy lawns require a lot of maintenance and consume a lot of water to stay green. Gravel is a better landscape material that is permeable, low maintenance and inexpensive. The most important stage of laying pea gravel is preparation to prevent weeds from pushing through in no time. Pea gravel seems a good choice for mulch in planted areas in borders, to create a focal point in your lawn, or to lay a path or cover your whole yard. The best use of it is to use gravel as a general ground covering with plantings throughout it and stone or concrete walking paths. No matter what the landscaping project is, the basic preparation for pea gravel is the same; plan, dig and cover up, then sit back and rest easy.

Plan and Lay out the Border

Plan and map the outline of your chosen area where you want to lay the pea gravel for ground cover, with a garden hose or length of rope. Use the border to figure out the volume of pea gravel needed for the project. When you’re preparing the gravel path cut a piece of wood to the required width and use it to check that the width is constant along the length of the path. You can lay the pea gravel directly over grass or soil, but plants will grow up through the pea gravel.

Remove the Turf

Remove the hose and dig out the marked area to a depth of approximately 2 to 3 inches for low-traffic feature areas such as mulching around pots, flower borders and areas used for display only. Remove the turf in sections about the size of a shovel. A suitable depth of gravel for large areas and pathways is 4 to 6 inches Clip and remove all vegetation with loppers and pick out rocks that could tear through the landscaping fabric. You can apply an herbicide to the area at this point if you wish.

Place the Border

Use steel or vinyl edging material to immobilize the border. Vinyl edging is usually held in place by the weight of the pea gravel. Outline the entire area with edging, making the edging flush with the surrounding ground. Drive in the stakes if required for the edging material.

Cover with Landscape Fabric

To keep weeds down, cover the entire area with landscape fabric or heavy plastic to stop weed growth. When your chosen area is larger than the width of the fabric, lay the material in parallel strips with a 3-inch overlap and secure in place with fabric staples. The fabric should overlap at least the bottom half of the edging material.

Add the Gravel

Calculate how much pea gravel you will need to cover the area. A cubic yard of material will cover 54 square feet to a depth of 6 inches. If you are dumping the pea gravel into the area using a wheelbarrow, put a board over the border so you don’t dent the border. Pour the gravel into the center of the prepared area and distribute evenly toward the outer edging with a rake or stiff-bristled brush. The border has to be packed securely and the gravel must be evened over the entire area. If the gravel compacts after a week or so, add more.

Contact our experts at Davis Concrete for advice on the best way to use and prepare for pea gravel ground cover landscaping.

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