Pea gravel is an extremely diverse landscaping product you can find in all sorts of colors and sizes. It can be used in a wide variety of outdoor applications and DIY projects. Below, we’ve listed some of our favorites for you and provided a few tips on which colors and sizes to use where.
Pea Gravel Colors
The number of colors you can find when searching for pea gravel can seem overwhelming. We’ve rounded up all the different colors for you to consider for your next project below. The only limit to how creative you can get is your imagination!
White Pea Gravel
White may seem a little bland, but when it comes to gravel pebbles white can pair well with almost any landscape or house color. White gravel can sometimes be more of a cream color or have just a touch of gray to it. It is often made from crushed dolomite, limestone, or marble. This color will work great if you’re going for a more contemporary or modern-looking landscape design.
Brown Pea Gravel
Brown gravel is one of the more common pebble colors you’ll find at garden centers. While you can find gravel that is all a single shade of brown, most will be a mix of various shades. You’ll find tan, dark brown, yellow-brown, orange-brown, and even some browns that seem to have a tinge of red or pink to them. No matter which shade you choose, brown pea gravel will make a wonderful addition to a more rustic landscape.
Avoid using brown gravel near your house if it’s painted gray. Brown is a warm neutral color while gray is a cool neutral color and the two don’t tend to look very good next to each other. With the exception of gray, any other cool color (green, blue, and purple) looks beautiful with brown.
Black Pea Gravel
Black is another neutral color that can really make your hardscapes pop. Believe it or not, there are several color variations of black pebbles. Some are a deep midnight black while others can have the slightest hint of gray to them. Whether the stones are polished or matte will also impact how the light reflects off the surface. The reflection of light can create even more color variation in black pea gravel.
Black gravel can be used in just about any landscape and looks good similar to white gravel. I prefer it over white simply because it’s easier to keep clean. If you’re adding pebbles to your flower beds, keep in mind that black will absorb a lot more heat than any other color. For plants with shallow roots, this could lead to issues with plant health especially if you live in an area with hot, dry summers.
Gray Pea Gravel
Gray gravel is commonly used for long driveways and parking areas. You can easily find all sorts of gray pebbles from super dark to extremely light shades and everything in between. I tend to only use gray rocks for walkways or driveways. Gray just doesn’t have the same warmth as brown or the dramatic effect provided by white or black when paired with plants outside.
Remember, the same color combinations that don’t work for brown don’t work for gray. If you have a brown house, don’t use gray gravel in the surrounding landscape. Brown and gray tend to clash with one another and should be avoided.
Red Pea Gravel
Red pea gravel can make a great foundation color for a hardscape or you can use it as an accent color. You’ll find a wide variety of red pebbles from maroons to fire engine red to soft, light reds that almost look pinkish. If you’re planning to cover a larger area, I recommend sticking with some of the more muted red tones. Save the bright red colors for accents like borders or in flower pots.
Green Pea Gravel
You can find some of the most beautiful shades of green pea gravel from both garden centers and online retailers. There are some more subtle mixes of green to choose from. For example, use a mix of seafoam green and tan to prevent overpowering any green plants you’ll be incorporating into your design.
There are also plenty of options if you’re looking to make more of a statement with green gravel. You can find all kinds of bright green mixes as well as polished green stones which have a more saturated color.
Yellow Pea Gravel
Yellow rocks will contrast well with jewel-toned flowers and can also blend nicely with warm colors too. You’ll find darker almost golden yellow, bright yellow, and even some softer shades of yellow which work best for large areas. Using yellow will brighten up a more eclectic garden that’s already full of colorful flowers.
Blue Pea Gravel
If you’re thinking about adding rocks near a water feature, blue is a wonderful option. If you want your blue gravel to stand out, go with a bright light blue or deep royal blue. To keep things a little more low-key, you can also find blues that are closer to a midnight blue color which won’t draw quite as much attention.
Purple Pea Gravel
Lavender, amethyst, and periwinkle are all shades of purple pebbles you can find. You probably won’t find purple gravel at your local garden center, but you can easily find it from a variety of online suppliers. While I tend to shy away from bright colors like magenta, amethyst works well sprinkled in a flower pot with some yellow or orange mums in the fall.
Multi-colored Pea Gravel
Multi-colored gravel is perfect if you have a mix of cool and warm neutral colors you’re trying to balance out. Many will have both grays and browns mixed in which will marry together well with any house color or landscape design.
Using a blend of colors in your gravel is also a good idea if you like to change up your garden from time to time. For instance, if you plant different annuals throughout the year, you probably don’t want to be stuck using the same color family all the time. If you use a multi-colored pebble mix, it will still match your plants no matter what colors you plant each season.
Rainbow Pea Gravel
Rainbow pea gravel can be a fun addition to a whimsical garden filled with colorful flowers and decor. You’ll easily find the bright, neon mixes but you can also find some more muted hues as well. If your gardening style is more eclectic, adding some accents of rainbow gravel will help keep it looking bright and cheerful even in the winter months.
Pea Gravel Sizes
The technical definition of pea gravel is a rock that is 3/8″ in size. However, most bags of rock have a mixture of sizes and many different mixes are sold under the name pea gravel. Below we’ll give you all of the details you need to know when purchasing the right pea gravel size for your project.
Sizes of Pea Gravel
At the stone yard, gravel is typically sorted and ordered using numbers, not names like pea gravel. When it comes to ordering pea gravel in bulk, you’ll want to look for #7, #8, or #89 gravel which all fall into the category of pea stone.
Each of these types is composed of varying amounts of rocks from 3/32″ up to 3/4″. If you want more large stones in the mix, go with #7. If you’re looking for a mix of mostly smaller stones, go with #89. The chart below explains how much of each rock size is mixed into each category of pea gravel.
Smallest Pea Gravel
The smallest pea gravel you can find is 3/16″ rocks. When purchasing from a stone yard, you’ll want to look for #89 gravel which has equal amounts of 3/8″, 3/16″, and 3/32″ rock mixed together. Anything smaller than this will be sold as screenings rather than pea gravel. If you use this size of gravel for heavy traffic areas, you’ll need to add a resin binder or gravel grid to help keep it in place. Keep in mind when searching for the smallest pebbles that it is often actually sold as aquarium gravel.
Large Pea Gravel
The largest pea gravel you can find is composed of 1/2″ stones. At a stone yard, you’ll be looking for #7 gravel which pros still consider to be pea gravel. You can use these larger rocks in heavy traffic areas without the need for resin binders. It will stay in place a little better than smaller pebbles.
The next size up would be #67 which is mostly made up of equal parts of 3/4″, 1/2″, and 3/8″ stones. Even though #67 still has a good amount of pea gravel-sized rocks mixed in, the amount of 1/2″ and 3/4″ it contains keeps it from being called pea gravel.
1/2″ Pea Gravel
Even though 1/2″ rocks aren’t technically pea gravel, you’ll still find plenty of places that sell it under the name pea gravel. You can use it in the same way as true pea gravel and it often has a lower price tag.
3/8″ Pea Gravel
Rocks around 3/8″ are considered ‘true’ pea gravel. When it comes to purchasing rocks at a gravel stockyard, you’ll be looking for #7 or #8 gravel which has the highest percentage of 3/8″ stones mixed in. Both river rock and crushed stone are easy to find in this size and you’ll be able to find them in a wide variety of colors.