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What to Know About Maintaining a Pea Gravel Path

I absolutely adore our pea gravel paths in our yard. They help make the areas no only seem special, but I love the crunch of the gravel under my feet.  We have a few pea gravel paths around our yard, and I have learned a few things about maintaining a pea gravel path over the last few years that they really don’t tell you about, like weeding and settling. Every site I see talks about giving it a “gentle rake” once in a while;That is the least of maintenance. I thought I would share  some of the tips I have about caring for and maintaining your pea gravel path that we’ve learned along the way.

Maintaining a Pea gravel paths in backyard

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IN 2016, we installed a pea gravel path in an area where my raspberries grew. It was a great solution for that area and created a nice micro-zone in our yard.  We did all of the proper steps including installing landscape fabric under the pathway area. At first weed control wasn’t an issue, but now that we are a few seasons in, I’ve learned a few things. You can also see a video of on of the ways I maintain our gravel paths weed-free (for the most part!).

What you need to know about your pea gravel pathways

Over time, fine dirt and soil will settle between the gravel and landscape fabric. While this is a natural part of anything outside, is what it means is that it’s easier for weed seeds to take root as the years go by. While you can sprinkle pre-emergents like Preen (conventional) or Corn Meal Gluten (organic), it also means the longer you have your pea gravel pathways or patios, the more weed control will become a challenge. I don’t use any chemical pre-emergents because  our pathways wind around food growing areas.

How to maintain a pea gravel path. Pea gravel path before weeding in spring.


There will be some manual weeding

I’ve noticed, once in a while dandelions make a nice little home for them selves among the pea gravel and need to be vacated. This year, over winter, the chickweed really got a hold of some areas… it was crazy. While I will hit them with a dousing of vinegar over the summer, and they shrivel right up in the hot sun, right now I just needed to get the roots out. This is one of my favorite tool for weeding. It’s a trowel with a forked end on it, and it helps pop the weed up at the root, so I can get the entire plant out, dig or even cut a little.

Garden Knife trowel tool for wee


The pea gravel will tend to settle towards the lower spots in the path.

While our yard seems pretty  flat in some spots, and the path has a slight grade difference, the pea gravel has still settled toward the low spots, leaving the higher areas of the path with a thinner layer of gravel. I have found at the beginning of each season , I’ve had to rake some of the gravel from the lower spots back to the higher areas. You can see more of our pea gravel path in the video in this post.


pea gravel path with raspberry patch

You will need to add fresh pea gravel every so often.

Even though pea gravel is a rock, it’s not a one and done like areas with a lot of larger landscape rocks. I am not sure where the gravel goes, but every year or so, we need to add gravel to “top off” the path. It’s normally about 3 -4 bags for us, which is about $20, So it’s not a huge expense, just a pain to have to pick it up from the home improvement store, pour it on, and spread it out.

While a pea gravel path is a little bit of extra work, I still wouldn’t trade them. There’s nothing like how pretty they are or the crunch of the gravel under your feet. You can read more about our pea gravel path changes here.