How do I decide about a patio?

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I have an area under a tree and the grass isn't growing well there. I would like to make a patio, but there are a lot of roots from the tree, so I don't know what medium to use for the "flooring". I don't want to dig up large roots and harm the tree. I love the look of brick walkways. My husband says if there is any grass and I use pea gravel or small pebbles, it will be too difficult to weed eat. I supposed I could get rid of all the grass and use pebbles. Is this hard to walk on and what about stability for tables/chairs? Any advice would be welcome! Thank you.

  5 answers
  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Apr 05, 2019

    I would build a deck over the roots, if you don’t want have a pro cut the roots back.


    If you want deck framing instructions, your local city building department should have a hand out that gives framing member and fastener specifications.

    You’ll need to use treated lumber and coated deck screws if you want it to last longer than 5 years.


    I did have my surface roots cut back on my 35’ ficus tree and 14 years later the tree is still happily growing.

    What I’m saying is that surface roots are not the only roots a tree has, they are the lazy roots looking to drink your grass-watering irrigation.

  • We have a patio with pea gravel and it's really nice to walk on and no problems with furniture stability. We leveled the area and put down weed barrier to prevent grass growing. Then the pebbles. Get a truckload brought it because it's much cheaper than buying it in bags.

    • NMB NMB on Apr 08, 2019

      Thank you Emy. I am really wanting the pea gravel, so it was nice to hear that your patio works out well for you.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Apr 05, 2019

    Hi there,

    You could do either of the above or you could use recycled rubber chips

    as a spongy cerface for you tables and chairs or raise the area with more soil bordered by a low retainer wall or fence. PS: Grass really doesn't ever do well under large trees...

    • NMB NMB on Apr 08, 2019

      Thank you! That is an interesting idea. Hadn't thought of the rubber chips. Will have to look for them.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Apr 05, 2019

    I would go with the weed barrier and the pea gravel, too, just don't put it too close to the tree, you could damage the tree and lose it by bringing up the level on the tree higher than soil level. If you have furniture that you are worried about being wobbly and unsafe to use, put down a few pavers to make them level and more stable. Have fun and enjoy your new seating area!

    • NMB NMB on Apr 08, 2019

      thank you! I am really looking forward to this project.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Apr 05, 2019

    Hello! Just be aware pea gravel can potentially be somewhat of a nuisance, I had a 200 foot peagravel driveway and it always filled with weeds. They need to be chemically sprayed or flame weeded several times a month! Getting rid of that pea gravel driveway was a happy day.


    Please also be aware that pea gravel can get trapped in your athletic shoes traveling to your house potentially damaging your hardwood or laminate floors or collecting inside your car on the mats. It could be somewhat of a nuisance —tho it provides rustic country charm and sound when you walk on it.


    Consider your options and consequences carefully. We were investing several hundred dollars for replenishing pea gravel and consequenly were happily rid ourselves of the pea gravel after a year or two to switch to a solid surface -concrete drive way.

    • NMB NMB on Apr 08, 2019

      I was going to get rid of the weeds first, but I know what you mean by getting the pea gravel stuck in shoes! Thank you.

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