The Many Virtues of Pea Stone

March 1, 2021
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Professional and DIY landscapers alike find pea stone a valuable material no matter the season. Not only does it look good, but it also is very easy to lay and costs less than its alternatives. Select the colors and textures that you love from a variety of options to maximize the potential of your landscaping project. With its high value and low cost, pea gravel is a surefire method to beautify nearly any landscape.

When it’s time to reinvigorate your home landscape, but you don’t know exactly how, why not consider at all that peastone has to offer. With a polished texture and its organic look, pea stone offers a simple, but time-honored look. Because of its range of application, and its ability to fit in anywhere aesthetically, pea stone is a favorite among home landscapers of all stripes. We’ve provided several examples of how an ambitious landscaper can use pea stone, as well as some errors one should make sure to avoid.

Make Pea Stone Your Own

Contrary to popular opinion, gravel is not exclusively for your driveway. Pea stone is a multifaceted material that can be implemented in your landscaping project in any number of ways. If, for instance, you’d like to build an outdoor patio, but want to avoid the hassle of materials like wood, or cement, pea stone can be a fantastic alternative. You can also choose to fill your child’s sandbox with pea stone instead of sand. You can use pea stone for utility and aesthetic value at the same time by using it to mulch your garden. Pea stone also makes for the perfect material to lay paths to the doors of your house and through your garden. Pea stone grants you the opportunity to craft a great many diverse additions to your home landscape.

Mistakes to Avoid When Working with Pea Stone

  • Do not lay pea stone on top of soil without laying down a layer of landscaping fabric first. Using pea stone as your mulch alternative or building a pea stone path on dirt, without first placing down that assistive layer, will lead to the growth of unwanted weeds. If left unattended, these weeds will ultimately erode the pea stone itself.
  • Make sure not to neglect edging material when you implement your pea stone project. If you fail to build a barrier at the edge of your pea stone to contain it, your beautifully designed project will quickly tend towards entropy.  Edging material ensures your pea stone stays in place.
  • Don’t skimp on the amount of pea stone you use when landscaping. Without enough gravel, your newly crafted landscape may not appear as you had hoped it would. In addition to suboptimal aesthetics, failing to add enough pea stone gravel may constitute a safety hazard. Make sure to read our recommendations regarding depth before you get started.

Pea Stone & Sand: A Winning Walkway Combination 

  • Call upon one of nature’s most abundant ingredients, and mix sand with pea stone for a phenomenal pathway. Follow the Saunders Family Recipe for a safe, sturdy, and visually appealing walkway.

We believe that pea stone tops your walkway better than any other material for a number of reasons. While we like mulch and bark for a variety of other landscaping projects, these materials do not make for firm surfaces to walk on, and they wear down relatively quickly compared to pea stone when faced with foot traffic over time.

If you were to compare your ease of walking on pea stone to your ease of walking on its alternatives, you’ll find there is really no comparison to be made.  Deriving its name from the small green vegetable due to its size, pea stone is remarkably convenient to implement in whatever method you choose.

Just like flour is the foundation of any great pastry, sand is the foundation to, well, any great foundation. You simply cannot skip using it in your projects as it makes for great results, while also being simple to use.

Though each walkway requires its own measurements and unique plan, we have a few good rules of thumb for you to follow before starting a project:

  1. Always ensure that you dig a trench six inches deep and that its evenly excavated.
  2. Before anything else goes in, lay down your fabric layer to prevent unwanted weed growth.
  3. On top of the fabric, lay down a smooth layer of sand (at least 3 inches deep) and dampen it with your hose’s spray function. Don’t make it sopping wet though.
  4. Rake the wet sand so that it becomes dense and sturdy.
  5. Finally, you’ll want to lay down your pea stone. This layer should also be about 3 inches deep. Once it is poured in, rake the pea stone to even it out.

The Limitless Bounds of Pea Stone!

Pea stone can add a whole lot of beauty to your yard beyond simply using it to build a walkway. What you can do with this versatile building material truly seems limitless! Individual pea stones are tiny, measuring at about ⅜”-¾” in diameter, and its smooth surface makes it an aesthetically appealing choice for most projects you can imagine.

  • Pea stone comes in a variety of colors, from white to black, and many other earthy tones in between.
  • Pea stone is available in different textures ranging from smooth to jagged.
  • Smooth pea stone is an excellent choice for families who love to kick of their shoes, and walk outside in warm weather.
  • Because it is made up of small stones, pea stone spreads and settles like a charm
  • Pea stone is a classy, but economical option
  • Pea stone allows for quality drainage function
  • Pea stone can withstand substantial foot and even vehicle traffic

Every place is a good place to lay pea stone. Here are just a few of our favorite uses customers have found over the years.

Driveways

Tired of your muddy driveway? Lay down an attractive layer of traction by pouring larger pea stone. 4 to 6 inches of it should work like a charm. Raise the center of the driveway so that rainwater will drain towards the sides. Pack down the soil and add the pea stone.

Walkways

Use pea stone to craft a simple, but eyecatching and naturally beautiful walkway. Make a statement with our favorite walkway material [link to “A Perfect Walkway Calls for pea stone and Sand” blog]. Plan to lay 4-6 inches of pea stone for that impressive look, and that wonderfully crunchy sound when you walk on it.

Potted plants

Cover the bottom of your planters and pots with pea stone before filling them with potting soil to improve drainage in a cinch. You can also add pea stone on top of the soil to get an attractive and well-maintained look.

Flower Beds and Gardens

Make your garden stand out with the natural look of pea stone: no additional upkeep required. Begin by laying plastic or weed blocking fabric. Then spread your pea stone on top of that, and level it out with a block of wood, or something similarly sturdy. Once it’s uniformly about 6” deep, you won’t have to worry about weeds anymore. 

Playgrounds

Pea stone looks great on playground floors as an alternative to mulch or rubber and provides quality drainage to keep your playground dry and available for your kids to play on. Lay at least 6” of gravel on a downward incline away from the play equipment.

Beaches

Edge the waterfront of your pond or lake with pea stone for excellent drainage and an attractive border.

Decorative fountains

Cover the bottom of your fountain with pea stone. This way you can blend it in with the natural scenery, and cover any mud that may settle at the bottom.

Decks/Patios

Use pea stone to pave the area around your pool, as it makes for an easy surface to walk on. Pea stone can make any surface look great.

Aquariums

Pea stone can provide the perfect natural adornment for your aquatic companions in their tanks. Wash it thoroughly before laying it at the bottom of an empty tank.

Rooftops

Lay down a layer of pea stone on top of an asphalt roof to reflect the sun’s rays during the heat of the summer. Insulate and beautify your home at the same time with pea stone.

Pipe and concrete slab bedding

Conceal any pipes you may need to install under a bed of pea stone. You can also lay concrete slabs over a layer of pea stone, which will allow for optimal drainage.

General drainage

Identify a spot where rainwater accumulates abundantly and dig a hole. Next, fill that hole with pea stone. The area immediately below a downspout is a great spot to do this.

While pea stone works wonders, we offer a wide selection of additional landscaping gravel and stone. We offer free delivery of quantities of gravel greater than 5 cubic yards (and well beyond that) anywhere in Northern Virginia and Maryland.

Pea stone is the ultimate landscaping tool. Take a look at our material calculator and determine how much of it you’ll need for the project you’re working on.