Pea gravel, or is there better for walkways?

three3applesJuly 10, 2014

Landscaper said this would be good because its not sharp (we have small children), but I wonder if there are nicer alternatives.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yardvaark

Pea gravel is no good for a walk at all.

Children are not idiots. They learn how to use all the basic things with little problem, actually.

What is the purpose of the walk?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 11:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
littlebug5(z5 MO)

I have cut and pasted the same answer I gave another poster asking about kid pathways:

You'll be sorry.

We had one, with 2 kids and a dog. Worse than worthless. Painful to walk on. Wouldn't stay put. Kids loved piling it, scooping it, throwing it at each other, the dog, the roof, birds, etc. Dog would run through it, spraying gravel everywhere. Then you have to pick it out of the yard. Weeds grew up in it. Hopeless to scoop snow off of.

As soon as I had the money I replaced it with a real concrete sidewalk.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 11:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
three3apples

This is for a formal walled courtyard that is separated from any yard areas by tall limestone walls. It will have a parterre garden and armillary sphere in its center. We have no dog. Still a mistake? Concrete is not an option as that would kill the look for this type of space. Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lyfia

Littlebug is your response to pea gravel or decomposed granite?

Pea gravel is really hard to walk on. I'd look at decomposed granite instead if you want some type of gravel. I would do stone if in your budget instead. Or if you need it to be impervious I'd use grass, or a low ground cover with open pavers.

This post was edited by lyfia on Fri, Jul 11, 14 at 11:04

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
littlebug5(z5 MO)

I am not sure what you call "pea gravel." We had what is called around here "river rock." Smooth (not jagged edges), multicolored, semi-decorative rock, ranging in size from 1" to 2" across each pebble. Pretty to look at, hard to manage.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 1:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Allen456(8)

I line my paths with wood chips.

Often over a layer of corrugated cardboard to keep the weeds down.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 1:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
three3apples

lyfia, what type of stone do you suggest?

out here pea gravel consists of small smooth stones in various colors.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 3:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yardvaark

Neither children nor adults -- nobody -- could walk well on pea gravel. It's like walking on marbles. As lyfia mentioned, decomposed granite is the ticket. It doesn't have to be granite, but stone crushed fine like that. It could be cinders, or crushed brick, etc.See what is available in your locale. It would need an edge to retain the material.

Examples...

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 6:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kswl2

Pea gravel, which comprises small smooth irregular roundish stones in various shades of brown and tan, is the traditional material for formal garden paths. I have never had difficulty walking on it. It does need to be contained with edging, weeds have to be sprayed or pulled, and it looks better when raked-- the frequency would depend upon usage. Threeapples' parterre garden will not be used as a playground, and nothing else will look as appropriate as pea gravel in the setting she describes.

Wood bark or chips is, IMO, the worst path material available. The first hard rain and it washes away....it is too light and it is not at all attractive.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
three3apples

Thanks, all. I agree with kswl and will proceed as planned.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
woodyoak zone 5 Canada

Has anyone ever tried a compromise approach - i.e. a base of compactable material (dg or what is called 'screenings' around here....) either mixed into the pea gravel or as a base with a thin layer of pea gravel compacted in to the top, so it looks like a pea gravel path but has greater stability? I think deviant-designer has talked about some sort of stabilizer product that can be used with the pea gravel. I can't find the thread, but maybe it would be useful to talk to a stone yard about whether there's a product like that....?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 10:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marcinde(7)

pea gravel's only hard to walk on when done wrong. 4-6" base of compacted 21A (crusher run) with an inch of pea stone, done. Women in high heels (or men in high heels too, I guess) can walk across it easily. It's when you have several inches of pea gravel that it's like walking through beach sand.

there are binders (Klingstone Path or Gravel Lok) that can be used to lock pea gravel together but it'll change the look.

props to everyone pointing out the issues with pea gravel as it's important to set appropriate expectations for materials but it sounds like the OP has one of the few settings where it'll potentially be the right solution.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 2:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
woodyoak zone 5 Canada

marcinde - is the pea gravel just laid on top of the base material or is it compacted into it?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 3:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marcinde(7)

just dumped and spread. I haven't seen a benefit to compacting it. Now if I were using 3/8" chip gravel (which is actually a nice compromise if the client's nervous about pea stone, as it's angular and interlocks better) I would compact that topdressed layer.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 4:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
woodyoak zone 5 Canada

I saw that chip gravel somewhere but didn't know what it was called..... That's definitely what I'd use if I wanted the look of pea gravel but the stability of a compacted surface. Thanks for that info marcinde.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 5:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
elysianfields(9b CA)

This is mountain granite I put in behind the house also called golden granite. It stays put and what gets kicked out of place is easy to put back. And I have dogs that run back and forth over it. And I can hear if someone is coming or going from the crunch crunch crunch. Pea gravel is like walking on coarse beach sand or running in peanut butter. Smooth stones just push away from each other. This packs down and stays put from the rough edges.

This post was edited by elysianfields on Sun, Jul 13, 14 at 18:55

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 6:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
elysianfields(9b CA)

This is the path through the dogs level of the garden and the stone is called black and white or salt and pepper which are smaller pebbles. It still stays in place with a border. It used to have a driftwood border but that does rot away through time.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 7:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
elysianfields(9b CA)

This path is a river rock with stone stairs going from level to another in the garden. I add to this path when I dig stones up in the garden that were used in prior owners landscaping. It stays put really well too and is available in bags from big box stores. And yes, I have bark paths too in the gardens out front which I have great luck with. They are easy to maintain and just need topping off once and awhile.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 7:07PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Need privacy in backyard on three sides (zone 6)
I really like my neighbors but I live in the suburbs...
stlmom77
Shrubs need to get pulled out U-G-L-Y
Hi Forum Members: I recently bought my house and the...
dmo12240
Small Tree Suggestions
I have a 20 x 20 concrete patio that I'd like to put...
kristinainaustin
Ditched my landscaper - yellow pine choice
Going to my local Camellia expert's nursery and just...
Bama_Joe
Do any of you see any red flags with this design?
We got a landscape design for our new yard that we...
TyBarr
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™