Pea Gravel Landscape Design
For smaller projects, homeowners will need about 200 square feet of coverage which costs around $350 with most homeowners spending between $300 and $400. For this size of project, consider purchasing pea gravel in bags of 0.5 cubic feet. These bags are available at most home improvement stores. The price will vary by location, but it’s generally in the range of $4 to $6 per bag for plain or neutral pea gravel. More vibrantly colored stone generally comes with a price tag of up to $8 per bag.
For larger projects, homeowners can buy pea gravel by the cubic yard or by the ton. You’ll generally need to contact a landscaping supplier to purchase this quantity. The price will vary by location and is dependent on the distance from a quarry or a distributor. The general range for a cubic yard of plain pea gravel is about $30 to $35, and a ton will cost about $40 to $45. For a colored variety, expect to add an extra $20 to $50 to those prices.
If you buy in bulk, or 10 or more tons at a time, you may be able to get the price down to as low as $15 to $20 per ton. A gravel distributor can provide these amounts at wholesale prices.
Hiring a professional to lay down pea gravel for you will add about $13 to $67 per hour in labor costs. The time to complete a job will vary by its size, but most jobs take at least two hours.
There are some other expenses to consider before installing pea gravel. The bigger the project is, the more additional expenses you’ll encounter.
When ordering pea gravel by the ton, a landscaping supply company or gravel distributor will generally set a minimum order amount for delivery. This varies widely by company and can range from one cubic yard to 20 tons. Wholesale pricing generally requires at least 10 to 20 tons per delivery. Companies also may charge a delivery fee, which usually varies depending on the delivery distance. When moving tons of gravel between cities, expect the delivery fee to range in the hundreds of dollars.
Other Pea Gravel Considerations
Depending on the location and scope of your project, you may need to consider additional factors. These could add to your total cost, so be sure to speak with your landscaping professional before investing money in your pea gravel project. Some other considerations to take into account include:
- Style: The least expensive pea gravel is sold in a form that still has rough and sometimes sharp edges. If children or animals will be playing on the gravel, you’ll need to install the more expensive form, in which each piece of gravel is rounded and polished.
- Depth: The recommended depth of pea gravel varies depending on its use. For example, when installing pea gravel around a garden or plants, two to four inches is generally recommended. A simple walking path may require just one inch. For larger areas that will see a high level of foot traffic, such as a patio or significant portion of a backyard, you may need to go as deep as six inches.
- Drainage: This is also a factor in pea gravel's depth. If this is a DIY job, you need to determine exactly what’s underneath the soil in your project area before beginning.
- Border: Edging is required around the entirety of any pea gravel area in order to contain it. If you’re installing in an area prone to heavy rains or flooding, the pea gravel may wash away. You can use a wide range of materials to create a border, as long as the height exceeds the pea gravel’s depth.
- Discoloration: Some pea gravel may leach ochre, which will discolor anything in its path. Make sure this isn’t an issue in your project area.
- Weeds: Before setting down pea gravel, be sure to kill or remove all weeds. If you simply cover over weeds without killing them, they may be able to work their way up through the gravel. Completely removing weeds can take multiple passes over a period of weeks.
Types of Pea Gravel and Their Uses
Pea gravel is a small, somewhat rounded stone frequently used in home gardening and landscaping. The name of the stone is derived from its size, since each piece is roughly the size of a green pea. In addition to lining residential walkways, homeowners can use pea gravel to line the bottom of aquariums.
Pea gravel differs from other crushed stone in that each piece is smaller and generally more smooth and polished. It comes in colors like gray, blue, red and beige. Though it’s mostly used for decoration, pea gravel can also double as a drainage base in gardens and around flower pots. Other uses include:
- pea gravel makes for a smooth drive for cars
- Pathways: pea gravel helps eliminate weeds and makes for a low-maintenance pathway
- Playgrounds: pea gravel prevents mud from forming around playground equipment and allows accumulated water to drain quickly