Laying a pea gravel patio, driveway, or carport may seem intimidating or have you thinking you need to hire a professional to do it for you. However, working with a gravel stabilizer grid to create a sturdy slab is probably way easier than you think. You only need a few, inexpensive tools and some pea gravel to do it yourself. It will take a little hard work, but the results will be well worth the effort! In this article, we’ll cover the 8 steps you’ll need to follow to successfully complete this DIY project.
1. Make a Plan
Start by creating a plan to make sure you have everything you need and don’t run into issues later. Draw up a diagram of the area you plan to cover and take measurements. You’ll need to know how big of an area you’re going to be covering so you can calculate the amount of materials you’ll need to purchase.
2. Gather Your Materials
Next, you’ll want to get all of the tools and materials you need together. Use the measurements you took to determine how much weed barrier cloth and gravel you need to cover the entire area. I like to purchase a little extra just in case.
- Measuring tape
- Large level
- Weed barrier cloth
- Lawn leveling rake
- Steel tamper
- Landscaping Sand
- Gravel Grid
- Pea Gravel
To calculate how much gravel you need, check out our post on Pea Gravel Types where we explain the math in detail! Depending on how much gravel you need, you may want to have it delivered in bulk to your home.
3. Mark Out The Area
Mark out the area where you’ll be installing your new pea gravel slab. Place a stake in each corner of the area and run your twine in between them. This will help you visualize the area you need to clear in the next step.
4. Remove The Grass And Topsoil
Now it’s time to start digging! You’ll need to remove all of the vegetation where your gravel is going and remove the topsoil. You don’t have to dig too deep. You just want to make sure to remove most of the grass roots and any large tree roots that may be in the way. Removing 1 to 3 inches is typically sufficient. A backhoe can make this process easier, especially if you’re digging up a really large area.
I like to use a trench shovel to remove any vegetation. The pointed tip helps to cut through any roots easily. I use a flat head shovel to remove the soil. It helps you avoid creating any divots or trenches and makes the leveling process easier.
5. Level The Area
Leveling and packing down the dirt before you lay down your pea gravel is essential. You can do this on your own or enlist the help of someone with a backhoe. By hand, use a lawn leveling rake first to level the soil. Next, use a tamper to pack the soil down tight. Check to make sure everything is nice and even with a large level. Add landscaping sand where you need to fill the gaps.
6. Lay Down A Barrier
Once your soil is level, you’ll want to add a weed barrier to help keep weeds from growing up through your gravel. Using a weed barrier fabric is key so that the water can still percolate through to the soil rather than pooling. You don’t want water to pool under your gravel or it will cause shifting over time.
7. Install The Gravel Grid
Using a gravel stabilizer grid to keep your pea gravel in place is the easiest method to use. Without a gravel grid, you’d have to lay a base layer and a middle layer underneath your pea gravel which requires a lot more work and materials. A gravel grid will provide the support and structure your pea gravel needs to stay in place.
Depending on the size of your gravel grid panels, you may need to cut them to size before placing them. They should lay flat if you properly leveled the soil in step 5.
8. Spread Pea Gravel
It’s finally time to pour your pea gravel! You can use a shovel and wheelbarrow to make moving the gravel easier. Use your lawn leveling rake to help you spread it out over the gravel grid. Use your steel tamper to help pack down the gravel and fill in all of the space within your grid.
That’s all there is to it! Now you’ve got yourself a new pea gravel patio, driveway, or carport! It doesn’t require any expensive tools and can be completed in a weekend if you’ve got the stamina. If you followed this step by step guide, you should have a beautiful pea gravel feature for years to come!