Stabilizing Pea Gravel?

i2landscape(5)April 25, 2007

I have a large backyard, with 150+' x 5' wide pea gravel walkways.

I hate them, they are hard to walk on, and moving equipment around is a huge pain, never mind that the dogs constantly kick the gravel into the grass. The gravel in some places is as much as 4" thick, so removing it is really the last thing I want to do. (The previous owners thought a pea gravel front yard would be nice as well - so I already have that on my plate to remove).

I was wondering if anyone has tried to stabilize pea gravel using concrete sand, DG, or other material and tamping? Thanks in advance.

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swanoir(Zone 5)

We didn't try to stabilize it, but what we did do is to put down flagstones in the pathways. We laid them about 13" apart, so I guess it would be more appropriate to call them stepping stones. Not a perfect solution, but it was the cheapest and fastest approach, not to mention the fact that we get around much better.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 1:15AM
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I also have a pea gravel area (about 20X20') that I want to stabilize. Unfortunately it's about 3" deep! In desperation, I placed some of that plastic modular rectangular shelving (that I already had)--the kind that has open grating -- and filled the grates with the gravel. Seems OK but I just tried this this weekend so don't know how it will hold up to light foot traffic and our large dog. Also, I just placed about 4 of them to see how it might work. Maybe some other kind of inexpensive metal grating would also work. Nothing I've found that binds pea gravel.The flagstone sounds lovely but my area is more a "patio" area--not a path. Other solutions, please?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 4:58AM
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Hi I have dog kennel for my dog and I was wondering .Should I use pea gravel or cement I wont something easy to clean. Jim

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 7:06PM
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careytearose(z9 NoCal)

Ditto what had been said here about using pea gravel. We decided on pea gravel as a less cost interim before we could afford brick or slate for our back patio area. HATED IT!!! It became the neighborhood cat litter box... yuck! This year we had the finances to redo it (had our concrete co. remove it) with Connecticut Bluestone slate. No more cats, WOOHOO! Looks great, easy to maintain...

weed 2007: would use concrete- can always be scrubbed and washed down easily.

To see pics of out slate patio and other recent landscaping projects, ck out my Picture Trail:


Here is a link that might be useful: look at Landscaping Projects 2007, Favourite ROSES We Grow albums

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 9:50PM
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I wonder if mixing the top layer of pebbles with stone dust might not stabilize your pea gravel somewhat, kind of like crusher run?. The result might be messy, but would probably be a good base for something else (brick or stone?).

Weed 2007, FWIW, I would forget the pebble idea for a dog run. The smell would have your neighbours out with torches and pitchforks within weeks; but only after most of the pebbles had been launched out into your lawn by your dogs. I see no upsides. Concrete is your best bet.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 12:01AM
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Hello....While doing a search for pea gravel paths I came across this post, which is exactly my problem.
Did anyone ever come up with a solution?
OP, how did you solve your problem?
Thanks for amy help out there. I wish I had read the forum BEFORE listening to the landscaper. Sigh!!
Thanks in advance

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 7:51AM
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felicity(7 GA)

I have done this, for a client. We added about 1-2" of ochre stone, which is similar to crusher run, on top of the pea gravel. Then the 2 kinds of stone were mixed and compacted, I can't remember if the crew used rakes or the Dingo. It seemed to work pretty well.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 9:55PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Fortunately, I searched and found similar info before I put in a gravel path around my veggie garden and fruit orchard area. I had thought pea gravel would look great, but I was scared off by the instability issue. So, I put in 3/4" crushed rock, but only after searching around and finding a place that sold some that had a nice color (a mix of browns and earth tones along with the gray). I have been extremely happy with it -- it looks great and has stayed neat, clean, and stable for two years now. Here's a photo:

I don't know if you could mix larger crushed rock with the pea gravel to stabilize it. Probably not if it's as thick as you said. Another material I had considered was decomposed granite, which I recall seeing a lot in California. But I couldn't find it in Utah, and I also read that it sticks to your shoes and becomes a sanding agent if you have wood floors, which I do. So, I gave up on that.

My stepdad used to buy something called tufa that he would put on paths to the horse barn to keep them from getting muddy. It would compact into a pretty hard surface over time. I wonder if you could mix something like that in with your gravel? Maybe a dry concrete mix without the rocks in it? I suppose that may be the same thing as mortar mix, but I'm not sure. Might be able to spread it around and then water it with a sprinkler to activate its stickiness.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 12:30AM
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Thank you for the responses. Stevation, I like the look of your path. It is just what I was after and while the pea gravel has the "look" it does not have the stability. Felicity, I am not sure what ochre stone is but I went to a "stone retailer" and explained the problem. He gave me samples of two kinds of much smaller type stone to mix with the pea gravel to see if that would solve it. One of those might be ochre stone. Haven't had a chance to try yet. Just going to do a small area to see if it compacts. He also suggested going to a cement company and asking about their sand. I believe there are different kinds of sand and one of them might work. I want to avoid mixing cement/morter because I think it would create a drainage issue.
Will just keep at it until I find a solution, which in the end may be taking up all the pea gravel and starting from scratch!
Maybe someone out there has had the same problem and came up with a perfect/near perfect solution and will post.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 7:26AM
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felicity(7 GA)

Ochre stone is actually a byproduct of ochre mining, it's kind of like brown crusher run. I think that any crushed stone with a good variety of sizes would work.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 10:24PM
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BecR(zone 9 CA 19)

Had a similar problem when we bought our current property. The PO had installed pea gravel in the planting beds; in some areas it was more than 4 inches deep--I hated it. My solution (short of removing it) was to dig the pea gravel into the soil by about 1 spade deep. After completing the digging of holes for the plants that I added, I topped the beds off with mulch and bark chips. It's been over 5 years, and still doing good, although I've had to add a few bags of mulch here and there. Incorporating the gravel into the soil seems to have improved the drainage, too. Hope this helps...


    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 1:23AM
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lilamy(zone 8a)

Hubby and I are in the process of building our first home, so I will probably be on this forum quite a bit in the coming months. I was thinking about trying a 4' wide path going back to the horse barn. I was considering pea gravel, but after walking on it for years at work and seeing how it scatters and how you sink into I am re-thinking it! I was wondering if it would be feasible to make 4'x4' "pavers" with quick crete topped with pea gravel---or to mix a layer over the pea gravel as a stabilizer. I love the look of pea gravel, but it sure doesn't handle traffic well.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 9:07AM
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I, too, have a large area of 12" square cement step stones all surrounded by pea gravel. Keeping the gravel in-place seems to be a full time job. I was recently offered this solution (although I have yet to investigate this sounds promising):
" I've been on several pathways that have clearly been some sort of stabilized agg product. They're sold as soil stabilizers (type that into google and settle in), but the principle is the same. I haven't used them myself, don't know how they're affected by climate (the website below is for a mfr in Phoenix), and don't know how well the product works as a "retrofit"- but it *could* work. Come to think of it, one of the private residences in Colonial Williamsburg has a stabilized pea gravel front walk. "

Here is a link that might be useful: Stabilizer Solution

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 2:57PM
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I have a kennel enclosure with 4 10'x10' kennels and an exercise yard 30'x40'. I have pea gravel in the entire enclosure. I have put 2"x4" around the border of the exercise yard to keep the gravel from migrating out of the enclosure. It does shift when the dogs play or work here. This requires re-raking.
The four dog kennels are relatively easy to maintain. I find cleaning up the solids simple with a disposable glove and plastic bag. I re-rake the kennels every few days to keep the coverage even. The gravel helps toughen up the dog's pads without damaging them. For urine & feces odor control I spray the kennels occasionally with yard odor killer, which works great.
I don't use cement because it is damaging to the dogs pads.
To address my problem:
I have a long driveway made with reject ab. This is hard for the dogs to walk on (sharp edges). How can I create a smoother surface?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 3:39PM
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Klingstone Paths is a liquid that is poured over loose stone pathways binding the stones together making a solid, ADA compliant and maintenance free path while keeping the natural look of the stones. It is easy to apply, environmentally friendly and allows water to percolate. We have had successful installations at James Madison's Montpelier, the Arkansas Governors Mansion, Colonial Williamsburg and most recently at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.

Here is a link that might be useful: Klingstone Paths

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 11:00AM
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Thank you for the great tip! I'm excited because I can do a number of project now.... and it will still look natural.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 2:36PM
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Wow if this stuff does work, I can start to use it on my jobs. Anyone with real life experience using it?

From reading the MSDS it appears to be a resin that forms a binding polymer unpon activation. It did say that clean up was with ammonia, so isit stray cat proof?

Couldn't other binding agents like lime/ash or cement be used?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 8:48AM
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I haven't used it but was impressed that Colonial Williamsburg and other historic places used it. I called
and spoke to someone and am getting a free small sample.
This stuff is ingenious... I'm not about breaking
and rules here, but if it's a solution to many
landscape problems, win/win.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 11:18AM
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Sherwood Botsford(3a)

Kern in his book, "The Owner Built Home" talks about no-fines concrete. In this he mixes 1 part water, 2 parts cement and 7 parts peagravel,(or was that 2 water 1 cement...) but no sand. The cement coats the peagravel and gatehrs at the contact points. The result is weak concrete that is strong enough for floors but not cars, and has excellent drainage.

An experiment that would be worth a try would be to sprinkle a few cups of cement on a few square feet of pea gravel, rake litely, and mist thoroughly a few times,


and see if it hardens in a day or so.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 1:55AM
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