How to Design a Gravel Patio How to Design a Gravel Patio

What You'll Need

There's a large variety of materials such as patio stone, decorative tiles, pavers and gravel are used to create the desired look for a unique patio. Gravel is one of the most commonly used loose materials for a patio, and can be easily installed by any enthusiastic do-it-yourselfer. Keep these tips in mind when designing your own patio.

    Step 1: Survey Yard

    Survey your yard to decide the best location for the patio. Take into account the summer and winter sun and any existing view. If your house is raised or on top of a hill and you get a better view behind the house, consider making your patio there. Decide if you want the patio flush against the house or will allow for a little path or cobbled trail.

    Keep in mind the present and future uses of the patio. Leave space for a fire pit, barbecue pit or even a fountain that you will want to add later. Also decide where you want to install other fixtures such as benches, trellises or arbors, planters, flowerbeds and lighting in your patio.

    Step 2: Leave Slope

    Leave an inch of slope for every 8 to 10 feet of patio to allow for proper drainage. Tie a taut string between two stakes installed on both ends of the patio to determine the level.

    Step 3: Use Colored Gravel

    You can use gravel in different colors to create an interesting and unique patio. Divide different sections of similar colored gravel by installing stones as separators, or use plastic or wood edging material.

    You can also mix gravel with large slabs of stone or tile on which you can place benches or chairs. Play around with colors of black and white for a checkerboard effect. As with any patio made from loose material, the key is leveling to make it uniform.

    Step 4: Include a Retaining Wall or Steps

    If there is an area that slopes into your patio, consider building a retaining wall there. Make sure it compliments the patio and surrounding landscape. Also, decide if you want to add a step or two to serve as an entrance or exit into your patio.

    Step 5: Compliment the Surrounding Landscape

    Keep in mind the surrounding landscape and shape of your house when designing the shape of the patio. If the existing shapes consist of straight hard lines, incorporate them in your patio instead of soft curves. But add ovals and curves to your patio shape if your house has these. The main purpose is to make sure the patio design compliments the surrounding landscape instead of standing out.

    Step 6: Sketch Patio

    Draw a sketch of your patio on paper or the computer. There are many software products that are inexpensive, easy to install and use. You can use it to design your patio according to your tastes. Constantly experiment and play around with designs until you get one that you are satisfied with. This basic layout will help you make your gravel patio.


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