How to build a gravel patio

Written by lisa east hunter
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How to build a gravel patio
Gravel is one of the easiest materials to install on a patio. (Getty Thinkstock)

A patio of any type will increase your outdoor entertaining space and give you another spot in your home where you can kick your feet up and relax. One of the easiest and least expensive patios to install is a gravel, or crushed stone, patio. Materials can be purchased from most home improvement retailers and you can do all of the labour yourself. You can have your feet propped up on your new patio by the end of a weekend.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Spray paint
  • Shovel
  • Edging
  • Edging stakes
  • Pack
  • Hand tamper
  • Landscape fabric
  • Gravel
  • Screed

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  1. 1

    Draw an outline of the patio with a can of spray paint. Drive stakes into the ground at all four corners of the patio at the same depth. Attach a string line that runs around the perimeter of the patio. Check that the strings are level all the way across. Adjust the strings until they are level.

  2. 2

    Dig straight down from the spray paint line into the soil. Use a square-head shovel to keep the edges straight. Remove 10 cm (4 inches) of soil from the ground. Discard the old soil.

  3. 3

    Compact the soil with a hand tamper. Fill the area with 2-1/2 inches of pack. Pack is a mixture of sand and small stones. Level the area and tamp it down with the hand tamper until it is 10 cm (2 inches) deep.

  4. 4

    Lay a sheet of landscape fabric across the space. Lay out flexible edging around the perimeter. Flexible edging will hold the gravel in place and create the outline of your new patio. Drive stakes through the small holes in the edging, through the landscape fabric and into the ground.

  5. 5

    Fill the area with gravel. Pea gravel is a good size for this project and is readily available at most home improvement stores. Fill the area with 3.8 cm (1 1/2 inches) of gravel so that the top of the patio sits 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) below the top of the edging.

Tips and warnings

  • There is no need to purchase a hand tamper if you will never have another use for it. Instead, rent a hand tamper from a home improvement store.

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