Line the path with non-toxic flowers or ornamental garden vegetables.

How to Landscape a Gravel Path

by Lorna Hordos

Gravel comes in a few different forms and colors, and the style that you choose greatly influences your home’s curb appeal. More importantly, some forms of gravel are not as child-friendly as others. Before putting shovel to earth, explore your gravel and pathway layout options.

1. Choosing Pathway Gravel

Different gravels create different finishes. River gravel is multicolored and may blend in with its surroundings better than ashen quartzite, for example. However, if the kids -- or you or your spouse -- tends to traipse the yard barefoot during the warmer months, or you have a child who is just learning to walk, boycott jagged, black lava rock in favor of smoother river gravel or sandy-colored pea gravel -- tender tootsies will thank you.

2. Forming the Path

The beauty of using gravel to form a path lays in its ease of shaping. You can have it snake, meander or beeline across the yard, however you like. Create a test “path” using a couple of garden hoses to imitate the edges -- keep the hoses parallel and at least hallway width or 3 feet or more apart.

3. Dig the Trench

Gather a few shovels, a wheelbarrow and any shovel-operating-aged family members to chip in with digging the path's trench -- they’ll be using the path, after all. A lawn edger would come in handy to cut the path’s edges neatly. Your pathway will be about 4 inches deep to allow for its layers of materials.

4. Compact a Base

The base is the first of your path’s bones or structure. You can use sand or crushed stone as a base; either way, compact the material using a tamper.

5. Landscape Fabric and Edging

Cover the compacted base with landscape fabric to help keep determined weeds under control. Once you have the fabric in place, run aluminum or rubberized edging along your path’s sides to contain the gravel and help keep any grass, mulch or dirt running alongside the path where it belongs. Lastly, shovel your gravel into place and rake it level.

About the Author

Lorna Hordos has owned a home-flipping business for more than two decades. She uses her construction and interior design experience to write friendly, conversational home and lifestyle articles for Daltile, Marazzi, Lowes and numerous other publications. She also enjoys writing for children, and has been featured on the cover of Humpty Dumpty magazine.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images