It's easy to install a gravel patio, and often much less expensive than pavers or concrete. Gravel is also an ecologically-friendly choice, as it avoids the use of toxic chemicals — like those used in asphalt paving — and helps to preserve groundwater by providing a permeable surface for rainwater drainage.
There are a number of different colors and textures of gravel to choose from so we've gathered some ideas for how to create a gravel patio space that's right for your yard.
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Keep It Simple
This little gravel patio is the perfect size for a small dining area and is easily built using bricks to create the outer edge. This can be easily built on a level lawn, and using some cardboard or heavy plastic underneath will keep weeds and grass from growing through.Continue to 2 of 20 below.
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Add Some Art
This charming gravel patio mixes practical and decorative objects for an eclectic and pleasing design. Planters, a wooden bench, outdoor lamps, and small sculptures give this small seating area a touch of artistic whimsy.Continue to 3 of 20 below.
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Imitate a Cottage
There's something so easy and cozy about cottage style. The neutral, natural tones here are a perfect match for the gravel patio. This simple seating area features weathered wood pieces and two cozy wicker chairs, plus a simple wooden daybed with cushions for casual socializing and fair weather ease: just pull the cushions and throw blankets inside if it rains.Continue to 4 of 20 below.
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Don't Forget to Add Some Color
This secluded oasis features a gravel patio seating area surrounded by lush plants. Note how the colorful table linens echo the red flowers: a great way to bring a pop of vibrant color into this shady spot.Continue to 5 of 20 below.
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Bring on the Brightness
This white gravel patio brightens up the space that is enclosed by a shade-giving hedge. White furniture continues the theme, and the seating area extends the bar for a flexible entertaining space.Continue to 6 of 20 below.
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Gather Around the Fire
This classy fire pit design is a perfect match for the house's modern architecture. The sunken gravel patio gives this the feel of an outdoor room.Continue to 7 of 20 below.
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Surround Your Guesthouse With a Gravel Patio
This easy gravel walkway is a low-maintenance way to create a patio space around your guesthouse or shed. Add some planters for color and texture, pop in some chairs, and this becomes a perfect spot for morning coffee or an evening cocktail.Continue to 8 of 20 below.
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Maximize Texture With Ivy Walls and a Gravel Patio
This corner of the yard features many different textures from natural materials: ivy, gravel, wood, glass, and metal. The total effect is a low-key but gorgeous visual feast.Continue to 9 of 20 below.
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Make the Most of a Romantic Vista
This stunningly simple design is a paver-edged gravel patio that lets the picturesque scenery do all the talking. Simple, comfy chairs were added to make this the perfect spot for taking in the view.Continue to 10 of 20 below.
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Make a Gravel Garden
This simple "gravel garden" in England features level gravel beds that are every bit as walkable as the stone patio and pavers. A gravel garden is also an eco-friendly option. The sense of openness and tranquility in this design is even more dramatic with a glorious sunset in the background.Continue to 11 of 20 below.
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Extend Your House's Footprint
Placing this gravel patio near the house makes it feel like an extra room, while the mature shrubs give it a garden feel. Add a metal propane fire dish — which is cleaner and easier than a wood one — and furniture with all-weather cushions, and you have an outdoor oasis steps from your back door.Continue to 12 of 20 below.
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Make a Hang Out Spot for Friends
This desert garden in Northern California sees some chilly nights, even in summer. The gravel patio holds heat beautifully and provides a cozy place for these dogs to warm themselves in the morning sun. Gravel also provides excellent drainage after a sudden rainstorm for the drought-tolerant plants in this garden.Continue to 13 of 20 below.
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Create Cozy Seating
This large gravel patio has two seating zones: one with a table and chairs for meals, games, or whatever your heart desires, and the other with a charming wicker swing chair for reading or daydreaming. The potted plants add some garden charm to this simple, flexible design.Continue to 14 of 20 below.
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Make a Small Stock Tank Pool Area
This easy, inexpensive design can become your summer backyard retreat with a minimum of fuss. All you'll need is some gravel, natural stone pavers, a metal stock tank for a simple shallow pool or foot-cooling tub, and some sleek comfortable chairs.Continue to 15 of 20 below.
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Light Up the Night
Fairy lights, candles, and soft golden lamplight make this cozy patio a fabulous spot to hang out as the sun goes down.Continue to 16 of 20 below.
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Create a Casual, Shady Oasis
This simple seating area features stackable fiberglass Adirondack-style chairs and a lightweight metal table for an impromptu shady outdoor room. The deep teal chairs echo the cool forest theme created by the surrounding shrubs.Continue to 17 of 20 below.
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Design With Simple Structures
This white gravel patio design includes a simple wooden arbor structure that gives definition and shape to this relaxing outdoor seating space. Dark wooden furniture creates an earthy, rustic feeling, perfect for a lazy picnic or drinks with friends.Continue to 18 of 20 below.
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Plan a Pavilion Seating Area
This large gravel patio area has two separate seating areas with pavilions and separate flooring, with striking contrasting color schemes. This is a versatile, attractive space for entertaining or just spending quality time outside.Continue to 19 of 20 below.
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Use Large Natural Stone Pavers
These large natural stone pavers create sturdy surfaces for walking to and from the pool area within this large gravel patio. They can also serve as small areas for chairs or tables as needed.Continue to 20 of 20 below.
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Make a Breakfast Nook
Even with minimal space, you can create a small gravel patio in a corner of your yard. This nook with a table and chair is a sweet little spot for enjoying breakfast or a cool glass of lemonade while working in the garden.
Is Gravel a Good Idea for a Patio?
Gravel is an inexpensive, low-maintenance, easy-to-install option for a patio. Start with a level surface and all you need to do is spread the gravel with a rake and maybe add some bricks for edging. Of course, you can opt for more complex designs as well. There are some downsides to consider: gravel can get quite dusty in dry weather and can be hard to keep clean in some climates. It also needs to be refreshed every couple of years to keep the area level and looking neat.
Which Gravel is Best for Patios?
There are a number of options. Pea gravel is a popular choice as it's widely available, relatively inexpensive, and easy to work with. Crushed stone is a good surface if you will have heavy furniture as it will remain level underneath large objects.