What is the Best Gravel Size for Patio?

Different areas on the patio have different gravel sizes. The different gravel sizes are to encourage the functionality of that area. For example, the fire pit area must have larger gravel than the furniture area on the patio. In general, gravel size for a patio ranges between a half an inch and two inches. Any gravel smaller or larger than that is not perfect for a patio. 

In summary, a patio has three areas where gravel can go. These include the furniture area or the sitting area as the first place. The second one is the fire pit area or the heater area. And the last one are the patio footpaths. Each one of these areas have their own gravel size. I am going to discuss all of these areas below. 

Gravel Size for the Furniture Area/the sitting Area 

One inch gravel is best for the furniture area on the patio. Some homeowners use half inch gravel. In short, the gravel size for the furniture area on the patio should range between a half an inch and one inch. The furniture area requires small gravel because they compact well together making the surface flat. A flat surface will allow furniture to stand on it well. 

You will enjoy your patio when the furniture is stable on the ground. Any gravel larger than one inch will not compact well together. And you can find one leg of the furniture hanging. Most patio furniture breakages are caused by uneven patio floors. 

However, too small gravel that is less than half an inch is not good for the furniture area. Very small gravel will make the floor look flat but the furniture will sink into the gravel when you use it. You will also find your legs sinking into the very small gravel. This is very uncomfortable when it is time to relax. 

Gravel Size for the Fire-pit Area/the Heater Area

The fire-pit area requires slightly larger gravel of between 1.5 inches and 2 inches. This is the area on a patio that requires regular replacement of gravel. This is because the area experiences a lot of heat that makes the gravel break down into small pieces. So somehow bigger gravel will save on the cost of regular replacement because they will stay longer. 

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However, the diameter where the heater stand will be must-have small gravel to provide stability for the heater. Be careful with the patio furniture when using it around the fire pit because of the huge gravel on the floor. 

Gravel Size for the Patio Footpaths 

Here you need medium-sized gravel of between 1 inch and 1.5 inches. You need such gravel because it is neither too small to stick on your shoes into the house. Nor is it too big to make you stumble and fall while walking. 

This gravel size can allow children under the age of five to walk on it. It is also a good size that allows water to pass through it hence good drainage during the rainy season. This gravel size can also allow you to plant patio plants and flowers along the footpath. They make the footpath flat and leveled than the huge two-inch gravel.

How to Lay Gravel on your Patio Space 

Below is a simple procedure on how to lay gravel on your patio space. Carefully follow the procedure and you will not call a professional to do the job. This procedure is for six feet by eight feet patio. 

What you need 

  • 1000kgs of gravel 
  • Spade 
  • Weed prevention material 
  • Wheelbarrow 
  • Measuring tape 
  • Spirit level 
  • Garden hose 
  • Garden rake 

Step 1 

Decide where you want your gravel patio to be. Decide if you want your patio to connect with your home or to stand alone in the backyard. If it connects with your home then it will have a footpath. A footpath means more gravel. Choose an area that is already flat because it will make laying gravel an easy job. 

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You can choose an area that is raised to allow you to enjoy the view of your home and a cool breeze. Use a rope or a marking spray to mark out the area where you want to build your gravel patio. 

Step 2 

Choose the gravel you desire. There are several types of gravel that come in different colors and sizes. You can try and match the color of gravel with your outdoor space. Or you can mix and match the dark gravel with the light gravel to bring out an elegant look. As for the gravel size, choose it according to the explanation above. 

Step 3 

Now is time to dig out the area you want to lay the gravel patio. Use a spade to remove the topsoil. Specialists in construction recommend you dig up to a depth of five inches for a much stable patio. Five inches will allow you to lay a sub-layer that provides stability. 

Level out the base and compact it by stepping on the ground. Dig out any area the soil is loose or soft and place a huge rough stone. Use a spirit level to ensure the base is flat enough. Use the spade to square the edges so that the sides of the patio remain straight and even. You can use a roller to compact the base of a large patio. 

Step 4

Now prepare the border edge for your gravel patio. The border edge is a barrier that is placed along the edges to keep the gravel in the patio space. You can use rough stones, bricks, or timber to maintain the loose gravel in the patio space. Furniture and foot movements are what displaces the gravel on the patio space. 

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The border edging can also be used to separate the different areas on the patio space. This prevents the gravel for the fire pit from mixing with gravel for the furniture area. If you are running low on your budget you can use bamboo sticks for the border edges. Timber will bring elegance while stones and bricks will bring uniformity with the gravel. 

Step 5

Lay a uniform layer of huge gravel to create a sub base. The sub base makes your patio to be stable and handle heavy foot traffic and heavy patio furniture. There is no need to separate the sizes of gravel for the sub-base. The sub base should be three inches thick leaving two inches for the top gravel. 

Step 6

Lay a sheet of weed-resistant material on top of the sub-base gravel. This material can be a plastic sheet or a plain sheet. This material prevents the top gravel from mixing with the sub base gravel. And it also prevents weeds from growing out up to the top layer of gravel. It also improves the drainage on your gravel patio. 

Step 7 

Now add the final top layer of gravel. Remember to follow the borderlines and lay gravel according to the size required. Compact the top layer using a roller.  

Conclusion 

The best gravel size for the patio is between half an inch and two inches. But different areas on the patio require different sizes of gravel. Small gravel on the furniture area. Medium gravel on the footpath and huge gravel around the fire-pit. Remember to compact the gravel layer using a roller.