A pea gravel patio is an aesthetically pleasing addition to your yard. However, there are also some drawbacks: despite having edging, stepping or walking on pea gravel can displace it to the other parts of the yard or even towards the interior of your house. You will need to clean up the displaced stones and level the patio often. Moreover, if you place tables and chairs on the gravel, they will always be unsteady and be prone to tipping over.
There are some methods to stabilize a pea gravel patio, but what to do will depend upon whether you have put down the gravel or not. If the gravel has not yet been installed, lay down cement plaster prior to laying down the gravel. Next, blow off any loose gravel with pressurized water to allow the aggregate stones to show. If the gravel has already been laid down and you prefer not to scoop it back up to mix it with cement, you can stabilize your patio with a polyurethane solution or epoxy coatings instead.
Step 1 - Prepare the Patio
Measure the area of your patio that contains the pea gravel, and use this measurement to order the correct amount of binding solution material needed. Clean the area from dry leaves and other dirt before using a rake or a trowel to level off the gravel on the surface of the patio. Line the edges of the patio area with paper and tape to protect them from the binding solution. If you prefer, you can also line the edges with wood forms, but make sure that these are greased with oil so the binding solution will not stick.
Step 2 - Apply the Binding Solution
Make sure that the pea gravel is dry for at least three days before the application or else the binding solution will not adhere. Wear rubber gloves and follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines in mixing the binding solution. Pour or sprinkle the binding solution over the pea gravel in long, even, and light strokes. For large areas, apply the binding solution in two or three more coats, allowing to dry for at least 24 hours. Do not let the patio be stepped on or used while the coating is drying.
Step 3 - Test for Stability
Immediately after the application, clean the tools used with the appropriate dissolving solution for the binding material used. After 24 hours, test whether the binding material has dried. Once the patio is thoroughly dry, test it for stability. If the coating made the patio too slippery, apply another coating and while wet, sprinkle sand over the binding solution this time. Let dry for another 24 hours, then peel off the paper lining and, if used, the wood forms.
The above coating method shows the beauty of the aggregate stone without the inconvenience of constantly keeping it in place. You can then enjoy your pea gravel patio for many years to come.