Pea Gravel vs. Sand: Prices & Uses

Pea gravel vs. sand is a common question. Both pea gravel and sand are very popular materials for use in landscaping and recreational applications. There has been some debate between homeowners, however, with regard to which is more desirable.

Just a few moments of browsing through online forums may leave you feeling confused about which material is right for your specific project. In the battle of pea gravel vs sand, which is the right fit?

Pea Gravel vs. Sand: Which is Right for You?

If you’re feeling unsure, you’ve come to the right place. Despite what you may have heard from internet contributors, pea gravel and sand each have their advantages and drawbacks. The truth is that both materials have certain projects and applications that they are better suited for. Because of this, you should clear the “pea gravel vs sand” mentality from your mind altogether.

Instead, you should be seeking to educate yourself about the capabilities of both materials in order to determine which you need. To assist you in doing so, here’s a quick guide to pea gravel and sand.

Pea Gravel Uses

Many homeowners choose to incorporate pea gravel into their landscapes because it is beautiful and highly functional. Some common uses for pea gravel include:

  • Play Areas – As pea gravel is small, smooth, and rounded it is often chosen as a surface material to surround children’s play areas. The gravel provides shock absorbency and has been deemed safe for falls. There are a number of parents who, after researching about the pea gravel vs sand debate, make the choice to construct rock boxes that are filled with pea gravel. This can reduce messes and can be great for sensory learning in very small children.
  • Beaches – Although sand is the more traditional option for beaches you may find that you prefer the look of pea gravel in the beach area surrounding your residential pond. One benefit of pea gravel is that it is less likely to erode and it creates less mess.
  • Patios – Some owners make the decision to construct a patio that is surfaced with colorful and textural pea gravel. This adds interest and dimension to your outdoor living space.
  • Walkways – Pea gravel is an excellent choice for creating paths and walkways. The stones are small and smooth enough to comfortably walk upon and the coloration is warm and inviting to guests.
  • Edging – You can utilize pea gravel to develop borders between various features of your landscape such as walkways, planters, gardens and water features.
  • Lawn Replacement – Pea gravel can act as a beautiful alternative to grass lawns and will reduce the time and expenses associated with regular lawn maintenance.

Pea Gravel Cost

Pea gravel is a very affordable landscaping material. For obvious reasons the cost of pea gravel will depend on the size of your project and the volume of gravel that you require to complete it. Prices will also vary based on where you buy the gravel. Buying locally and directly from a stone supplier will yield the most reasonable and competitive rates.

Sand Uses

When considering the pea gravel vs. sand debate, it’s important to consider the various uses of each material. Sand is also a very useful material for various uses in landscapes. You might choose to use sand for purposes like:

  • Play Areas – Sand is often a “go to” option for surfacing children’s play areas. The soft texture of sand makes it safe for falls.
  • Beaches – Homeowners who have ponds on their properties with beach areas will enjoy the comfort and warm aesthetic of sand along their shoreline.
  • Desert Landscaping – Southwestern style is growing increasingly popular throughout the country and many homeowners are seeking ways to incorporate this trend into their landscapes. Creating a desert oasis begins with a layer of sand. Interesting rocks, cacti and other plants can be used to enhance this look.
  • Base Material – Sand is often a key base material when laying down stone pavers and other landscaping materials.
  • Weed Wrapping – When weed wraps or landscaping fabrics are laid down in gardens, flower beds and other areas of the landscape, sand is often applied on top in order to further inhibit the growth of unwanted weeds.

How Much Does Sand Cost?

Sand is considered to be a low-cost landscaping material which is why it is so commonly used. Prices will vary based on the amount of sand that you actually need for your project and the location from which you choose to make your purchase. As with pea gravel, the best prices will come from a prominent sand supplier.

When you really understand what each material should be used for, it’s easy to see that there really is no “pea gravel vs. sand” debate. Both have their own unique set of strengths that can enhance your landscape. By following this guide, you’ll have the ability to choose the right material for your project with confidence.

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By | 2020-03-31T13:41:53-04:00 January 21st, 2018|Pea Gravel, Sand|0 Comments

About the Author:

Dirk is a Project Manager at Braen Stone. He's an expert on a variety of construction materials and prides himself on helping the company meet the needs of companies large and small.