How to Create a Gravel Patio
- 2 x 2 Pressure-Treated Lumber
- Wood Chisel
- 2 in. Flat Corner Brace
- Loctite Premium Adhesive
- Vigoro Pea Pebbles
Step 1: Measure and Prepare
Start by measuring the area you’d like to fill. In my case, an existing retaining wall runs the length of one side of the patio, so we built the gravel barrier around the other three sides.
If you’re filling a dirt area, you’ll also want to make sure you’ve leveled the area as well as possible, but with careful attention to flattening the outer edges so the lumber will lay flat on the ground. If your ground is particularly soft, you can consider covering the area with a layer of landscape fabric.
Determine where people will be entering the area and accommodate for easy access – we built a little concave landing area outside of our back door to decrease the tripping hazard of the wood.
Step 2: Gather Materials and Lay Out Your Wood
Once you know how much wood you will need, you can either have it cut at your local Home Depot store or take it home and cut it yourself.
To ensure water drainage, use a hammer and chisel to create notches on the bottom side of the 2 x 2 wood. In our case, we made about four notches at the ends of the wood farther away from the house.
Once you’ve laid out your wood, connect the corners using corner brackets. Use a 90º angle to ensure accuracy and make sure to screw in the brackets on the bottom side of the wood so they’re out of sight.
For the pebbles, the standard recommendation is to use about a third of a bag per square foot, however, perhaps due to the foundation layer being concrete and providing no sinking for the rocks, I ended up using less gravel than I expected. I covered 524 square feet with 105 bags of Vigoro pea pebbles.
Step 3: Secure the Wood and Adhesive
To secure the wood, we originally planned on screwing the wood into the concrete, but the concrete proved way too difficult to drill into for our screwdriver!
Instead, I used an indoor/outdoor construction adhesive. It was easy to use, and it’s very secure. I glued the bottom of wood at the ends and corners. After about 30 minutes, I could already feel the adhesive setting. It’s important to secure the frame first because once the gravel is down it can be difficult to keep it from slipping under the wood and preventing contact with the slab.
Step 4: Spread the Gravel
I mainly used my feet to spread out the rocks, but you can also use a rake to smooth it once you’ve poured all the pebbles out.
You may also consider putting your patio furniture in place before spreading the gravel to make sure it’s sitting on even ground.
Once it’s all spread out, sit back and enjoy your new gravel patio!
Kevin O’Gara is editor and founder of Thou Swell. He’s inspired by a mix of traditional and contemporary design.
He built this gravel patio as part of a total patio makeover–A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue.
Check out more DIY projects here on The Home Depot Blog, and follow our Outdoor Living board on Pinterest for ideas on how you can make the most of your outdoor spaces.