When it comes to creating a safe, solid, and fireproof seating area around your fire pit, nothing beats gravel. It’s a top-notch material that ticks all the boxes. Not only is gravel easy on the wallet, but it also boasts excellent drainage and requires minimal maintenance—except for those pesky weeds that like to pop up now and then. With gravel, you get a rustic charm that blends harmoniously with nature.
Constructing a gravel patio or seating area is also as easy as pie. The small stones in the gravel reduce the chances of any heaving or cracking during the harsh winter freezes and thaws, unlike solid surfaces.
But hold your horses, we are not done yet! Let’s dive into the different gravel options you can choose from.
Table of Contents
1. Pea Gravel
Let’s look at the star of the show: pea gravel, also known as pea stone. This is one popular gravel material that’s all the rage in landscaping. The particles of pea gravel are about the size of a pea, ranging from 1/8 to 3/8 inches. That’s where it gets its catchy name from.
These little pebbles are usually rounded and come in a variety of colors, like different shades of gray and brown.
Pea gravel brings more than just good looks to the table. It’s got a smooth finish and boasts excellent drainage properties. Plus, it adds a touch of beauty to your seating area, making it a real eye-catcher. You’ll also experience a satisfying crunch underfoot; like music to your ears.
Now, due to their shape and the air spaces in between, pea gravel can shift around when you walk on it. But fear not, as there are ways to address this.
One trick is to use mulch glue to hold the particles together, so they stick in place. And to keep that gravel from shifting too far, you can use edging material like steel edging or pressure-treated wood to keep it contained.
Decomposed granite, also known as DG, is a fine gravel material that’s a lot like sand, but it’s got more fines, which are clay and silt sand, and larger pebbles mixed in.
You see, unlike regular sand, decomposed granite is a lot more stable. It compacts easily to form a solid and stable surface. When you walk on it, you’ll find it nice and soft underfoot. But here’s the catch: loose material tends to stick to shoe treads. So, when it gets wet, it can track indoors, and that’s a recipe for potential scratches on your beautiful hardwood floors.
But some suppliers add a binding agent or stabilizer to the DG. This addition gives the material more stability and helps address the tracking issue.
And just like our pal pea gravel, decomposed granite comes in a range of colors to suit your fancy. You can find it in shades like red-brown, tan, and even bluish hues.
Now, if you’re fancy and want the resin-coated version, that’s going to cost you a bit more. Typically, you’re looking at a 50 to 100 percent increase in price compared to the non-stabilized version.
3. River Rock
River rock or creek stone is highly sought after for its downright gorgeous decorative properties. These stones are a product of water eroding at their parent rock. They smoothen and shape those rocks into rounded material.
These stones come in a whole range of shades, from cool gray to blue. You’ll find tones of tan and brown too.
Now, here’s the cherry on top—these river rocks are soft underfoot. They’re comfortable and gentle on your feet.
Lava rock is a coarse and porous gravel best used to line around your fire pit.
It comes in sizes typically ranging from 1/8 to 2 inches. And the colors. You’ll find shades of reds, blacks, cool grays, browns, and even a mix of colors.
Some lava rocks have rough edges, while others are smoothened.
You have probably heard of crushed stone or crushed gravel. Crushed gravel is a derivative of mechanically crushed rock such as limestone, slate, sandstone, trap rock, gneiss, or granite.
The crushing breaks the rocks into smaller angular pieces that lend themselves well to compaction and provide excellent drainage.
They are available in various colors depending on the parent rock that was crushed. You can find options such as gray, blue, and purple among others that are downright visually appealing.
However, they are not the best material to walk on barefoot due to their jagged texture and are best used as a base or bedding material for laying pavers, bricks, flagstones, or poured concrete.
Marble chips are a by-product of the marble industry. Instead of letting the waste go to waste, they crush it up and give it a whole new chance at life.
These marble chips come in a wide range of colors. We’re talking white, black, rich browns, cream, cool greys, ivory, pinks, reds, yellows, and even silver.
However, marble chips have a rough texture. So, it’s best to keep your boots on when you’re stepping on these chips.
Sand is trusty material mainly used as a bedding material for laying down precast concrete pavers, cut stones, bricks, and flagstones. It provides a nice, stable foundation for them.
But sand has a knack for holding onto water. When that happens, things can get slushy and messy. As the elements start acting up, it tends to shift and create a mighty mess. So, it’s best to stick to using sand as a bedding material.
When it comes to your wallet, sand won’t leave you high and dry. It’s a budget-friendly option that won’t break the bank.