The Quick Answer
Decorative Stone is often used as a surface solution for Gravel patios. It offers a natural look at a much more affordable price than other types of paving.
If you are thinking of joining the increasing number of people sprucing up their outdoor living areas but have to keep an eye on your budget then a gravel patio may be the option for you. Gravel offers a natural appearance which often compliments seating areas, planters or even water features. If you have outdoor furniture then it may not be the best option as the furniture legs may sink.
Is there a gradient?
If your garden/patio area sits on a sloping base then it may not be the best idea to choose a gravel surface. Whilst the gravel won’t necessarily start to slide, you may find yourself struggling to get a firm footing. It definitely is NOT recommended if the homeowners area elderly or have movement difficulties. If you require disabled access to the property then we would also advise against gravel as a surfacing solution. The aggregates can often become logged in wheelchair voids.
Do you have Children?
Although Gravel is a very versatile paving solution, it can be quite unforgiving if fallen on. If you have children please be weary that the unfixed aggregated that builds up a gravel patio can slide on top of each other which can cause an uneven surface. I may be best to use gravel as a decorative solution rather than a practical solution.
What Size Stone For A Gravel Patio?
Gravel patio’s are unlikely to receive the same volume of traffic as a gravel driveway unless the area is for communal/public use. With this in mind you are able consider a slightly smaller size stone if you wish. We do not recommend using anything under 8mm as it becomes easily disturbed, can leave you with large dents where footprints are made and can get stuck in the sole of you shoes. Using anything over 20mm will make it hard to walk on and may be an uneven surface for outdoor furniture.
Gravel Patio Maintenance
Maintenance levels for any type of gravel surfacing are usually quite high. You may find that depending on the surrounding environment (trees, bushes, grass) there could be a frequent occurrence of weed growth within the gravel, especially if the contractor doesn’t use a permeable membrane. The best way to combat this is too use weed killer on effected areas and then remove them once the weeds are dead.
There’s also the issue of gravel displacement. Frequent use will cause the gravel to spread where footprints have been made. Gravel grids are a great way of combating this issue.