The Proper Way To Install Gravel Strip Around Your House

Having a gravel strip is a fantastic way to spruce up your lawn. It can complement your lawn’s style, giving it a touch of class.

A gravel strip is also easy to install and maintain, so many homeowners opt for it. But how do you install a gravel strip around house? We will answer this question via a guide showing you the benefits of a gravel strip and the steps of laying it down.

Step-by-Step Guide To Install Gravel Strip Around House

You should first determine the purpose of the gravel strip to know the type of gravel to opt for. If the gravel surface is for decorative purposes, you pick the gravel stones you desire to radiate your surroundings.

Aquarium gravel is one of the best options for your outdoor décor. Pea gravel and white marble gravel are other alternatives.

For drainage purposes, you go for porous stone, like lava rock, which allows water to pass through. Hardy gravel stones, such as crimson stone, river rock, and crushed stone, are ideal for creating borders, walkways, and driveways. 

With an idea of the stones you need, you create a budget. The cost will be significantly lower if you handle the installation, as labor is pricey. Next, you assemble the required tools.

Tools needed for gravel strip installation are:

  • A square-edged shovel
  • A tape measure
  • A tamper
  • Hammer
  • Metal rake
  • A cutting tool

Once you have these tools, follow the guide below to install gravel strips around your house.

Step 1: Get the Outline of The Strip

The first step is determining the outline of the gravel strip. Locate the target spot and measure the length and width of the strip. The shape is another essential aspect of the outline. Depending on its purpose, it may follow the house’s configuration or go a different way. 

Finally, you mark the edges with poles or spray paint for visualization. Make the necessary adjustments before you break ground.

Step 2: Dig Out the Base

A square-edged spade is an ideal tool for creating the gravel strip base. Its square tips ensure you have defined lines on the sides and bottom. The floor should be at least 4 inches deep, going up to 18 inches for a gravel driveway. Check the depth regularly as you dig.

Remove the soil and level the surface with a metal rake. Compact the ground with a tamper to strengthen the base. You may need to fill uneven spots with soil for uniformity.

Step 3: Add Crushed Stones

Pour crushed stones or sand into the trench to create a stable foundation for the strip. This material should be around 2-3 inches deep. Use the rake to spread it evenly over the base.

Step 4: Bring in The Stones

It’s now time to introduce the stones into the base. You must wet the rocks with water before placing them on the bed of sand or crushed stones. A watering can or garden hose pipe will do an excellent job of dampening the rocks. Wet stones are easy to compact and prevent the area from getting dusty.

Lay down the stones and spray more water on them. Pound the gravel/rock layer with a tamper to form a sturdy surface.

Step 5: Roll Over the Landscape Fabric

Lay the landscape fabric, shiny side up, over the bed of compacted rocks. For bends and covers on the bed, contour the material by slightly cutting the edges and folding it over. Use pegs or sticks to hold the fabric in place.

While landscape fabric is not necessary, it is advisable to have it. The covering material enhances stability, prevents soil erosion, and acts as a weed barrier. Additionally, it reduces the amount of gravel needed for the strip by shielding the stones from falling deeper into the bed.

Step 6: Set Up the Border/Edging

A border is a crucial part of the gravel strip around house, handy for keeping the gravel in place, so they don’t spread into the yard. Edging materials include plastic, wood, and metal. 

Plastic is affordable, easy to install, and comes in several colors, which can amplify the lawn’s beauty by highlighting the strip. Metal edging is durable and perfect for areas with a lot of traffic. Wooden borders are durable and customizable. Be careful when setting up borders. Ensure they are level and firm.

Step 7: Spread the Gravel

The final step in installing a gravel border around house is spreading the gravel. Pour your preferred rocks above the landscape fabric and disperse them uniformly over the surface. The gravel should be roughly an inch or a half below the edge of the borders to prevent spilling.

Add more gravel to areas where the fabric is visible and rake them flat. Compact the top surface with a tamper and rake once more for an orderly appearance. 

Maintaining Your Gravel Strip

It would help if you routinely tended to your gravel landscape to have it in perfect shape. The good thing is that maintenance is effortless. Let us look at how to take care of your gravel border.

Remove Debris

Leaves, twigs, trash, and other debris may land on your strip. You remove the materials by hand if the strip is small. However, you may need a leaf blower for a bigger area. You can use a rake to remove the trash and straighten the surface. 

Attend To Bare Spots

The small rocks move with time, leaving unsightly bare spots. Pour more gravel into the strip and spread them with a rake to cover the exposed parts. 

Fix Borders

Be keen with the edges, as they are prone to damage, specifically in high-traffic spots. Replace the worn-out parts to prevent rock spills. Repaint metal borders to avoid rusting and revamp their look.

Remove Weeds

To prevent weed growth, lay the landscape fabric before spreading the gravel layer. Promptly act if you notice weeds growing on the strip before the situation gets out of hand. Use homemade weedkillers, like vinegar and hot water, to wither small weeds. Pull out the plants once they wither. You will need high-grade herbicides for excess weed growth. 

Advantages of a Gravel Strip

Are you unsure whether you want gravel around the house? Here are the benefits gravel strips offer.

Easy To Set Up

The first thing to love about having a gravel strip in your yard is its easy installation. Many people get discouraged by hectic yard tending tasks, even if the outcome will be incredible. 

With a gravel strip, you are sure of a desirable outcome if you correctly follow the installation instructions. It is a beginner-friendly task and an appropriate starting point for heavy yard tending duties.

In case of any trouble, you can ask for professional help. Otherwise, it is a perfect way to spend your free time, especially if you are a hands-on person.

The Aesthetic Factor

A gravel strip will do justice to your home’s aesthetic appeal. You can nail a preferred look using different types of gravel on the set strip. The strip should not always be straight. Use a configuration that matches your taste to create a specific theme.

Additionally, gravel around the house can complement your lawn’s plants and accessories. The strip around your home will highlight its excellent features. 

Hassle-free Maintenance

You don’t have to stress about maintaining your gravel landscape, making it a suitable way to go with your lawn if you don’t have ample time to attend to it. Raking, blowing leaves, and occasionally defining borders is crucial to uplifting your yard. 

Prevents Dirty Sidings

A gravel strip around house will shield the sidings from muddy water. You experience this problem mainly when it rains, as the water falls on the soil and splashes on the sides. With time, the browned walls will be unsightly. 

The gravel surface is hard and will prevent splashing. Moreover, the strip will prevent soil erosion by providing anchorage to the soil.

Improved Drainage

You can install a gravel strip to help channel water away from the house’s structure to control water damage. You should design the gravel strip in a way that water can quickly move to prevent pool formation, which can be destructive. 

Control of Pests and Weeds

Many homeowners have to deal with weeds and pests on their lawns, which are very hard and expensive to control. Gravels are a cheaper way of keeping weeds and bugs away from your compound. 

Deep gravel foundations are bare, and plants will hardly grow. You are sure of zero pests with no plants on the bare surface. The strip can act as a buffer zone, protecting your yard from neighboring yards, which may have weeds and pests.

Drawbacks of a Gravel Strip Around House

Before setting up a gravel border around house, you should know its drawbacks. Let us look at the disadvantages of a gravel strip.

It Can Cause Injuries

You cannot walk barefoot on a gravel surface the same you would on a grassy lawn. Gravels are hard, and some stones may be pointy. Stepping on them barefoot will leave you bruised. It is not the best option if you have toddlers around.

The Heat Problem

Gravels absorb and retain a lot of heat. When it is scorching, the strip’s surface will absorb the heat, which may spread to the surroundings, including your house. The excess heat may make the house uncomfortable.

Weed Removal Can Be Challenging

While a gravel landscape can prevent the growth of weeds, some stubborn plants can grow, especially if the rock cover is shallow. Removing the weeds can be difficult and destroy the strip, prompting a retouch.

Furthermore, the gravel surface will look unkempt if not tended to for a long time or due to heavy foot traffic. 

Gravel Strip vs. Paved Strip: Which Is Better?

Paving is another way to create a border or pathway in your yard. How does paving compare to the use of gravel? Both are excellent ways to go, each with its respective appealing attributes.

Aesthetically, a paved strip brings its best courtesy of its uniformness. It is an ideal option if you want a touch of modernism. A gravel strip looks impressive but offers a traditional or minimalist touch. 

Gravel strips are easy to install and do not need a professional. On the other hand, you will need an experienced hand to set up a paved border. Furthermore, a paved strip is more expensive than the gravel option. 

How much does it cost to install a gravel strip around your house?

The cost of gravel strip installation depends on various factors, like the area covered and the type of gravel. Larger areas and use of high-grade stones will be costly, going up to $3000. Depending on the area and stone quality, the cost will be lower if you take on the task, around $1000-$2000.

What is the purpose of a gravel border?

A gravel border separates your house from the lawn. It helps prevent muddy splashes from staining the walls, controls erosion, and makes the area look neat.

Can I put a layer of gravel on bare soil?

While you can put gravel directly into the base, the outcome won’t be pleasing. The area can get muddy when it rains, and weeds may grow. Also, the trench won’t be stable and can collapse anytime, leaving a huge mess.

How frequently should I tend to a gravel landscape?

Taking care of a gravel landscape is less exhausting than one with plants, requiring you to clear debris, remove weeds and fill up exposed areas. To preserve its form, you can tend to it twice to thrice a week. 

Final Remarks

A gravel strip is an incredible way of upgrading your home to improve its looks, channel water, and control erosion. It is a manageable alternative to a grassy lawn, as maintenance is less demanding.  

Detailed above are the proper steps for installing a gravel strip around house. Have all the tools and utilities with you, including the landscape fabric, for satisfying results.