What I Learned From My First Landscaping Project

We’ve talked about putting in some sort of stone patio in the backyard since we  moved into this house. With the arrival of Fall, and all the time I’ve spending outside with the chickens, it seemed like the perfect time. Who else wishes we could have Fall all year? Love. It.

The previous owners at one time had an above ground pool. After removing it, it left a perfectly shaped circle a couple of inches above the rest of the yard. And it just so happens it’s near the back deck and the area where we use the grill. So it was the perfect place to put the stone patio! My plan was to install a basic pea gravel area with a firepit, but we have since decided to add some stone pavers as well. As soon as I find something I like.



This is the first landscaping project I’ve ever done and I have to say,  I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t all that difficult but it was time-consuming and definitely a learning experience. So I thought I would share the top three things I learned from tackling my first landscaping project.


You WILL Need a Tiller 



Before you do anything you have to remove the grass. Let me save you some time here. Use a tiller. You will be hating life if you try to remove it by digging it up with a shovel.  And I promise, I have read other blogs where people claimed they simply dug up the ground. Uh-uh. They must know something I don’t.

I started by shoveling, thinking I could knock it out pretty quick. I shoveled for TWO HOURS and barely removed about a 2 x 3 foot area. Luckily I was able to borrow a tiller from a friend and it took me about twenty minutes to till what took my two hours with a shovel. If you don’t want to invest in a tiller and you don’t have a friend to borrow one from you could rent one from a home improvement store.

Math Is Important. Who knew? 



If you’re using pea gravel, or any kind of stone in bulk, you have to be a wizard to figure out exactly how many bags you’ll need. It’s sold in half cubic foot bags and my brain doesn’t work in numbers, okay? Trying to figure out how many bags I needed almost broke my brain. I’m sure you’re thinking, “why didn’t you just google it”? Oh, I did. I googled. But every online calculator I found was for square or rectangular areas. So I called two different landscaping companies to ask them how much I needed and I got two very different answers.

So I just started with  20 bags. Which wasn’t even close to being enough. I ended up using 45 bags for a 20′ round area, and it’s probably close to 2″ deep. If we weren’t planning on putting in the pavers I could use some more pea gravel but the area is completely covered.

I guess I should have paid more attention in Algebra.


Pea Gravel Comes in Different Color Palettes


I had no idea that pea gravel comes in different colors. I just thought pea gravel is pea gravel. Actually, I didn’t even see it before I bought it the first time. When I got home and unloaded it I wasn’t loving the orange and brown, but again I just thought that was what it looked like. Then I went to get some more at Ace Hardware and was thrilled when I saw it. These were the prettiest shades of greys, whites and blush.  It completely lightened up the whole area.


I ordered some outdoor furniture and I CAN’T WAIT to have out first Fall bonfire. I’ll add the stone pavers eventually, but for now I’m just glad the hard part is over. Here’s a quick before and after.




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