Pea Gravel...good idea or not?

keyonneDecember 28, 2006

Hello, I live in SE Houston, TX. and my husband and I just bought our first home and we would like to put pea gravel in our backyard. Our 5 yr old daughter has allergies and exzema really bad and can't go outside and play in the grass we have now. If we put the gravel down she and her sister would be able to play outdoors.We are thinking of putting one of those big wooden swing sets on the pea gravel. Do you think that would work well? Please respond. If anyone knows where we can get some really chaep or Free would be even better gravel from please, please contact me.

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I think the answer is yes and no. I use it in my herb garden and it is really nice stuff. First let me tell you that all pea gravel is not create equally. Make sure you get some that has smooth rather than sharp edges. Also it is not that cheap. I don't know how large an area you are talking abut, but I would think it would have to be at least 6" deep to allow for it blending into the soil. It would be nice to play in and good for allergys. The other issue would be weeds and grass comming through. I definatly wouldn't recomend using a plastic weed barrior underneath it because I guarentee that you will end up "redoing" it within a couple of years and getting stones off or discintigrating plastic is really a pain in the butt. Trust me I know this from experience. What you would want to do for sure is kill any weeds/grass in the area then wait and kill it again and repeat this as many ties as you can stand to live with the mud before you put the rocks down. Chemicals would work, but I don't know how you feel about doing this in a childs play area. Another option would be to use solarization. Remember, you have to kill the existing plant matter as well as sprouting and then killing as many of the seeds that exist in your soil in order to avoid as much of the weeds growing in the rocks as you can. You will not be happy with it if you don't take this important step first. It may take a year or more. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 10:07PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

As far as the killing part, my friend kills vegetation by securing an old rug remnant over the area. But it takes a whole season. You'd think the rug under the pea gravel might work, but I don't know the long term effects of that. For instance, would the rug mould? That wouldn't be a good thing, especially with allergies.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 6:00PM
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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

I have been living with a pea-gravel, stepping stone walk for several years after installing it. The gravel is at least 6 inches deep. I have to use a commonly sold weed, grass killing spray about once a month. I do not worry about it affecting my grandchildren but am careful not to get it on any of my landscape and garden plants. It has continued to look, IMHO, beautiful. A campground my children and grandchildren frequent uses pea gravel in all the play areas, as does the township Castle Park playground, with excellent results. Periodic replenishment and the childrens constant activity prevent a lot of weeds, but, just as I do here, they must use a leaf blower of something to get rid of windblown leaves as soon as possible. I blow away the leaves and pine needles from the paths weekly in the Fall.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 4:07AM
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janet_e(6B PA)

I think pea gravel could work OK, but have you considered recycled rubber mulch? In a play area, kids will fall down, an the softer rubber seems nicer than gravel to fall on. Also, my pea gravel patio always seems to inspire my nephews to through the gravel. Your kids may not be tempted to throw the gravel, though some of their friends may be.

Having said that, I have a pea gravel patio, and I really like it. It looks good, and it doesn't take that much weeding. I should also note that I haven't used recycled rubber mulch myself, so it may have disadvantages I'm not aware of.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 8:59PM
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xanadu(8/9 N.CA)

Would wood chips trigger problems for your daughter? That is the playground surface of choice in this area and you could probably get it for free by contacting tree services and offering to accept their wood chips.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 2:48PM
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Can I use pea gravel around my foundation to help stop water from leaking into my basement. I have been told to put the pea gravel in the area that is leaking. If this is a good idea, how far down do I dig and how much do I use. Any type of advice would be helpful. Thanks

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 7:28PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Pea gravel just around the foundation is a dumb idea. It will make the ground around the house more porous,and water will drain to those areas, rather than away. So water drains into the porous soil you've produced, but can't drain down or out because there is heavier, less free draining soil under and round it. You are creating a reservoir of water to seep into your house.

But if you have a way for water to drain through the pea gravel and soil and out away from the house, that would be good.

In most cases, the best thing is to grade the soil surface away from the foundation, without changing soil consistancy, so that water drains away from the house naturally. (Grading the soil surface away from the house means the soil is higher at the foundation and lower as it goes away from the house.)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 11:16PM
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I was thinking of doing this in my backyard for my dogs. I have 3 of them, and one is allergic to grass oddly. Right now it's hard to grow grass with the dogs urine and when it rains, it gets quite muddy. Any thoughts? Would this be a good solution for the dogs?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 11:22AM
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my yard has lots of pea gravel and my dog uses it fine. I also have plant beds with mulch and he goes there also. But no grass anywhere and he seems happy.

the one thing about pea gravel is when you pick up after your dogs the pea gravel sticks to it also.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 8:20AM
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Greenthumb(Zone 5a, MN)

I would put landscape fabric down before adding the pea gravel. The landscape fabric will keep the soil and the gravel separated so you don't end up with a big muddy mess after a few seasons. Unfortunately, landscape fabric is not that cheap, but it would certainly be worth the investment.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 10:42AM
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daffodillady(7b/8a central AL)

When my daughter was little, her day-care center put down the recycled tire mulch. Although it did seem to cut down on the scrapes and bruises, her legs and clothes were always black by the end of the day. I don't remember how long (or if ever) before the black residue went away.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 10:28PM
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Pea gravel is awesome for dogs, and their owners. Just like a litter box pick an obscure part of your backyard. Make a box out of pressure treated lumber(size of box consider size of dog Lay a pastic tarp within box and poke many holes fill with pea gravel. Train dogs to go to box for their business. Leave a lined garbage can next to box to pick up #2. Then just once a week use warm soapy water with bleach and thenhose off. No yellow grass no messes unexpected and much reli8ef to dog owner especially in rainy weather!!!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 7:23PM
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