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New Pea Gravel Patio Project! & Backyard Inspiration

by | Sep 15, 2013 | Gardens & Outdoor Rooms, My Backyard | 32 comments

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Decatur, Ga. Photo: Robert Rausch for The New York Times

At the beginning of the summer, I talked about my goal of dividing my boring barren suburban backyard into several different zones to help me form a landscaping plan. Last we talked about my yard, I had done only a little planting in what will eventually be a secret garden (for girls!). I’m excited about that one! But that was about as far as we got, with the exception of a little work in our front yard. But now I’m starting a new project for the backyard!

I’m working with a pretty small budget and limited time, so the backyard improvements are something that will have to evolve over time. But I don’t like small budgets to stop me from making progress, so I’ve learned to be content with bite sized bits at a time.

On Tuesday we have a truckload of pea gravel being delivered for what will be our new patio for a new DIY fire pit, and a new BBQ! Basically this gravel patio project will provide space to hang out on the cool fall evenings (a rest zone) around a fire pit and a simple but more attractive zone to BBQ (eat) with friends and family! We already set up the basic area for the space we envisioned a couple of years back, but we just used the existing bark dust which wasn’t my favorite.

I wanted a little bit more defined and purposeful looking space so I’m excited to finally be getting started!

I have always loved the look of charming pea gravel patios and walkways!

I love the mix of an informal gravel walkway or patio with beautiful fencing and plants. While gravel is a fairly inexpensive material, I see it used quite often in landscapes of beautiful homes so it can look amazing even in a more formal setting. I think the gravel patio will be a perfect foundational part of our landscape that we can build upon with plantings or other elements over time.

We also have  plans for a pathway from our deck steps to what will hopefully be a new dog area for the pups so they can stay out of the mud and my plants during the rainy season! Every time it rains they dig holes and I have to give them a bath so we are definitely wanting to cut down on the mud! Next year we intend to add garden boxes just beyond the gravel firepit patio, so this will be an evolving project!

Today I have some inspiration for backyard designs I love! It will likely take years for mine to look even half as lovely as these, but it gives me a starting point for dreaming, right?

You’ll get to see a couple of shots of the current state of my yard at the very bottom of this post, so you can see my challenge! 

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Brooke Gianneti

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via Cote de Texas

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Enough dreaming!  What I actually have to work with is this little plot of land, below!
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 I’ll update you once our gravel arrives and the project begins! I’m getting pretty excited to see this happen! PS. That blue Adirondack chair was about $20 from a flea market this summer. Wish I had a few more!

Happy weekend! Don’t forget my Fall Nesting series starts Monday!

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32 Comments

  1. Theme Builder Layout

    I can’t wait to see what you do with your space. We have a pea gravel patio area in our backyard and we don’t use it at all…I hope you aren’t disappointed – I really wish we had gone ahead and put a cement patio back there…hopefully you will “inspire” me with your ideas!

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      Well, I hope we aren’t disappointed, but I am pretty sure the ambience alone will inspire me enough to make it the best choice for us right now. I am so affected by how things look that I think I’d go out there to putter around with plants even if no one went with me :-).

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    Your backyard is going to be dreamy with the peastone patio, Melissa! This is a dream of mine too, with the fire pit in the middle of it. Look forward to following along as you get this project underway!!

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    Love it! We bought our home in June 2013 and have been working at gutting the inside and are now at the put-it-back-together stage. Soon the weather here in Cocoa, FL, will be a bit more bearable to work outside. I’ve been swinging back and forth about what to do with our cute, adorable, wonderful (can you tell I LOVE this part of the home?) “secret garden” courtyard area right outside of our newly installed kitchen window? It faces the street but already has a fence which provides privacy. After reading this post of yours, I’m definitely going with my original plan for pea gravel. A fire pit, a potting area, space to sit and relax either in the early mornings or evenings… you’ve given me the boost in the butt that I’ve needed. I’m not waiting for those cooler temps. I’m starting today… well, maybe tomorrow. TMA!!! Love your inspirations :)

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    I would be hesitant about a pea gravel space so near to the entrance to the house. Pea gravel gets caught in shoes, toes, and dogs paws and can travel into the house. And there is a phenomena about bits of whatevers on the floor……it is always the woman of the house who steps barefooted on them. The pea garden garden is lovely, but keep it far away from your entrance…..at least in my book. We had a gravel entry to our house for many years plus a gravel driveway…..I hated both. We now have lovely landscaped stepping stones and a black top driveway and I feel so rich….no more mess. We don’t have an outside patio area as we have a huge deck that surrounds our house on the upper and lower level…..but pea gravel would never live here again, or any kind of gravel.

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      It’s in the backyard not by an entrance, and there will be flagstones to the back deck so it should be fine!

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    I think this is going to be fantastic! Im looking forward to following along as you go. Wish I was there to help you, then we could work on a project at my house. ;) New to your blog, and so far I’m inspired.

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    I lived in France for a year… Most families had gravel pathways and patios… It is so charming, I think you will love it…!

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    Thanks for the inspiration and beautiful ideas. We also have a (small) patio area below our deck that I have envisioned as a pea gravel patio oasis. We got it ‘tidied up’ to the point of being functional but have stalled ever since. You have given me new ideas and confidence to move ahead in the spring.

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    Don’t forget to put your membrane down before the pea gravel, or you will curse every weed that pops up next year! I have a run of what we call Scottish pebbles (about x10 the size of pea gravel) in what was a bedding area right by the house wall. We dug it out because it blocked an airbrick and this is an old cottage with no damp proof course. I love how it looks, and often put 3/4 large pots of things in a group on it. Go for it and enjoy!

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    This will be wonderful, sooooo Provençal. I think you’ll love it (I certainly would). Jo @ Let’s FAce the Music

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    I’ve been wanting to take in a bit more of our back yard and put in gravel and a fire pit (less grass to maintain is a plus where we live). I can’t WAIT to see how it turns out. I’m ready to be inspired!

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    It looks like you have a good flat space for your patio, so hopefully it will be a fairly quick project. It seems like the bare fence really jumps out at me right now. I’m sure you have plans, but I wonder if you have thought about staining the fence white or soft gray and maybe planting some kind of plant that would hug the fence. I don’t know if sasanquas grow there, but they are basically camellia bushes that bloom in the fall. I love them planted along fences because you can plant them right along the edge and they adapt well without taking up too much room.

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    I love pea gravel. Your yard is going to look stunning. Thanks for all the inspirational pictures.

    Cynthia

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    Great sample photos!! I’m sure you will do a fabulous job of your backyard. I love the look of gravel and we did put a couple of loads in where it is very shady along with a large selection of hostas. I do have a problem with it though and maybe you or your readers will have a solution for me. I don’t know how to get rid of the fallen leaves and twigs and just natural debris that lands on the area. And because it is so shady this year I noticed the gravel is even turning green. It’s starting to look a little unkempt. Any ideas?
    Love the Inspired Room—it’s an…….inspiration for sure!
    Eileen

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      You might try just using a blower to blow the debris off of your pea gravel… And I would mix a weak solution of bleach and water, and spray the solution on your gravel to eliminate the moss, or whatever is growing green. LOL

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      For the green… that is algae. You can kill it with a water/chlorine bleach mixture. Buy a sprayer made for yard spraying and give it a good misting. Avoid the plants and any structures as they may be bleached out.

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    I love, love, love the look of pea gravel. Always makes me thing of the Mediterranean and big giant pots of lavender.

    We did a pea gravel fire pit area two summers ago and we use it all the time now. You can see it here:
    http://rindymae.blogspot.com/2011/07/fire-fire-part-2.html

    Can’t wait to see how yours turns out!

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    I love gardening! I can not wait to see the reveal of your backyard. Hope it is everything that you dreamed of. Be blessed!

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    Melissa, Autumn Clematis would be a beautiful addition to your pea gravel garden as well. It is a beautiful vine that has tiny white flowers all over it in the Fall. It would grow very nicely up and over your fence.

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    Looking forward to seeing how your garden takes shape! It is so much fun to follow projects like yours. Since we live in Hawaii I am very familiar with tropical plants, but not so familiar with temperate climate ones. I am interested in reading about what plants you pick for your space!

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    Good luck with the gravel patio. I love your inspiration photos but none of them show what it can look like without maintenence. Weeds (in our rainy Seattle climate) just love to shoot up everywhere. Weed supression fabric is a good idea but eventually dirt blows in and the weeds follow quickly. I hadn’t even thought about tracking gravel inside.
    My neihgbor has a gravel path and for several years I’ve weeded it for her as a favor. Do your research on how to properly lay the gravel and what kind to use. You may have to dig down quite a few inches … maybe bricks laid in sand? That at least can be power washed…

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      So true! We have three enormous gravel driveways/ parking areas so we know about the weeds! Most any surface has its maintenance or drawbacks. My mom fell in love with a brick patio in one of the houses we lived in when I was growing up. But it wasn’t long before we had to rip it out because, if I remember right, it got really slimey, mossy, slippery in our NW damp weather! Same with our cement driveway, front walk and wood decks. Slippery all winter! We had a paver patio I loved at one of our houses that we put in so we didn’t have to deal with grass — but it too would get weeds between the pavers. But at least we didn’t have to mow, fertilize or edge it! :-).

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      The weeds come up between the cement pavers even when they are very close together. I’m using anti emergent to see how that works. I am going to use 3/4 minus gravel so it will pack down and be hard. Will still have to use the preemergent though.

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    I love your idea for a pea gravel patio! They are so charming and should be fun to putter around in and add some potted plants and gardens bit by bit. Such a good place to relax and enjoy your backyard.

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    This is such a lovely and inspiring post! We have been working on a similar project with the gravel and fire pit. Can’t wait to see how yours turns out, Melissa! I know it will be awesome!

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    That fenced in garden is so dreamy!! I’ll take one of those, please! :)

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    We live on a lake and have a pea gravel fire pit that we encased in large rocks with aderondak chairs, and we love it. I also use pea gravel as mulch in my flower beds and a walkway of pea gravel leading to a brick and flagstone walkway. I love gravel and rocks!

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      I hardly have any weeding to do in my grave led areas, if you make it deep and as your out and a bout in your yard pull a few weeds here and there , very low maintenance. Plus you don’t have to add gravel every year like you do mulch. I never have gravel tracked in the house and we have a dog too.

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    Iam looking to do the same. Great inspiration pics! I have pea gravel on the side of house where I have my hose and pot my plants, never had problems with tracking in the house. As for weeds popping up, I just pull up after a rain or spray with vinegar, no worries, go on with your lovely project. It will be great!

    Reply

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