DIY Cottage Garden Pathway: Pea Gravel Path with Natural Stone Edging

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The farmhouse landscaping is really shaping up y’all, and I’m so excited to share a progress update with you today! We added a white pea gravel walkway, lined with cane creek stones as a natural stone edging. The walkway runs all the way from the porch steps to the driveway. No more trudging through the wet grass and the mud when it rains!! Just wait till you see the photos… it’s honestly turned out to be the cottage garden path of my dreams.

white farmhouse exterior in the country with a pea gravel path leading to the front porch steps

Today on the blog I’m excited to finally share this finished DIY project and show you how we created this cottage style garden path here at the farmhouse. There’s a ton of helpful info I want to share from the pros and cons of using white pea gravel and cane creek stone gravel path edging, and my best tips for installing and maintaining a pea gravel path in your home’s landscaping, and of course tons of photos for you to save and Pin for inspiration! It’s a long one, but it’s jam packed and definitely something you’ll want to save for later if you’re planning this type of project for your home’s landscaping.

cottage style pea gravel garden path leading the way to a white farmhouse in the woods

Our Farmhouse Flower Beds & Walkways

This project originally started as a farmhouse flower bed / landscaping project. In my mind, the landscaping would be done in phases. Phase 1 = flower beds… and phase 2 = walkways. When we started the flower beds, we were in a hurry to get them done before our home’s photoshoot for BHG’s Farmhouse Do It Yourself Magazine last summer.

farmhouse hardscaping with pea gravel walkway, lined with natural stone edging

So we did just enough landscaping to have it looking “done” and presentable for the photos. Basically we just put in the flower beds in front of the chimney and down the length of the front porch. We had the materials to go further, but not enough time. So the rest of the rocks sat and waited for their time to shine. In between that photoshoot and now, we never got around to laying the rest of the stones and finishing phase one of the project.

side porch steps leading to a gravel path, and cottage style landscaping with white hydrangeas and pea gravel flower beds around a white farmhouse

Fast forward a few months, and it was a very rainy spring here. One day I just decided I had had enough of walking through a wet muddy mess of a yard just to get from the porch to the car after a rainstorm. So I switched gears and decided to use the rest of the materials we bought for the flower beds, and get a jump start on phase 2: our cottage garden walkways! Because I was using the leftover stones and gravel, I didn’t know if the material would go as far as the walkway needed to go. But I was willing to start and get as far as my rocks would take me! (Spoiler alert: we had just enough rocks and gravel to go all the way to our gravel drive!)

pea gravel walkway with cane creek stones as a natural stone border edging

I’m so glad I made the decision to tackle the walkway! It’s way more useful than a flower bed on the back of our home. Plus having this gravel path really makes all the difference when it rains! Now that you have the backstory, let’s jump into the details of the project…

white farmhouse exterior with simple country landscaping and a pea gravel walkway leading to the front porch

Why We Chose White Pea Gravel for our Cottage Garden Paths and Farmhouse Flower Beds

Technically, the white pea gravel we chose is called pea pebbles. I looked everywhere for white pea gravel, and I even visited a few different local stone yards, but what they called pea gravel was actually small jagged, almost sharp feeling, rocks. It wasn’t what I envisioned when I thought of pea gravel. I wanted a true rounded, pea-shaped gravel. I wanted small rounded stones that we could walk on without hurting our feet, like river rocks, only much smaller. So we went with these white pea pebbles from Home Depot.

pea gravel path as a sidewalk alternative for houses in the country
pea gravel path lined with large cane creek stone border edging

I will say that the photos on Home Depot’s website don’t show the true color of the pea pebbles. The pebbles come in 50lb bags, and they are coated in a reddish orange dust. But once you rinse the rocks off with the garden hose, they are a mix of tan, white, gray, and pink. But from afar, they look very neutral and not red at all. The photo below is a pretty good representation of the true colors.

cane creek stones used as natural stone edging along the sides of a white pea gravel walkway

Pea Gravel Pros

When I think of a quintessential cottage garden path, I envision pea gravel. So aesthetically, I think the pea gravel just works for our cottage garden paths! I love the look of pea gravel, and I think the color is beautiful in person! I love the way it sounds underfoot. And in comparison to pine straw, and mulch, I have found our pea gravel to be pretty low maintenance and also pretty cost effective in that we don’t have to continually buy more each year. The weight of the rocks allows it to stay in place after installing, and installation was super easy. Just cut the bags and dump it out.

white pea gravel path lined with cane creek stones as a natural stone border edging

Pea Gravel Cons

It was definitely an investment, though you might be able to shop around and get a bulk discount from a rock & stone supplier near you. When the kids and the dog run through it, they sometimes kick a couple rocks out into the yard. This doesn’t bother me and it’s never more than a couple rocks. We just remind everyone that it’s a “walkway, not a runway”. (If ya know, ya know haha!)

pea gravel with a natural stone edging in a country farmhouse walkway
white pea pebbles lined with natural stone edging in a country farmhouse walkway project

Why We Chose Natural Stone Edging for our Gravel Paths

The gravel path edging we chose really made a huge difference in the overall look and feel of our cottage garden paths. I knew we would need some sort of gravel path edging to keep the pea gravel inside the walkway and inside the flower beds. But I also wanted something that looked natural and fit the farmhouse / cottage garden aesthetic we were going for. So natural stone edging was the obvious choice to me. We ended up purchasing 3 pallets of large cane creek stones from The Stone Garden in Wilmington, NC. We used almost 2 whole pallets to edge the beds around our farmhouse as well as the pumphouse. The remaining stones allowed us to line the walkway from the porch steps, to our gravel driveway.

pea gravel walkway in a country farmhouse style landscaping
cane creek stones used as natural stone edging along the sides of a white pea pebble walkway

Pros of Using Natural Stones as Gravel Path Edging

Cane creek stones are beautiful, natural stones. They look authentic to our property, like something my ancestors could have slowly collected from the river over time to use around the farmhouse as they gathered them. Appearance wise, they get a 10 out of 10! They are very durable and will last forever. I looked at some of the rubber edging at Lowes and Home Depot, and all I could think about was the day those products eventually wear out. That won’t happen with natural stones like these. They are also very heavy! Which is great because they will stay in place and won’t be easily moved, so they do a great job holding the pea gravel in place.

cane creek stones used as natural stone edging along the sides of a white pea pebble walkway

Cons of Using Natural Stone Edging for Gravel Paths

They are an investment, but you will literally never need to replace them. You may have to lift them out of the ground or adjust them over the years if the ground around your home is especially soft as the stones may eventually push into the ground. I haven’t found this to be a problem so far, and it’s been over a year since we installed the flower beds. Just thought it may be worth mentioning. They are super heavy! I know I listed this as a pro, and it is a pro. But it could also be a con in that they are heavy to move and put in place. You’ll definitely be sore after moving a few wheel barrow loads of these bad boys.

cane creek stones used as natural stone edging along the sides of a white pea pebble walkway

How To Create Your Own Cottage Garden Paths

To create our cottage garden paths, we started off by laying landscaping fabric out where we wanted the path to go. I curved and folded and tucked the fabric as I went, allowing the pathway to have a natural curve to it. We arranged large cane creek stones down the sides of the landscaping fabric to act as a natural stone border edging that would hold the pea gravel in place inside the pathway. The final step was adding pea gravel from Home Depot down the center of the path.

diy pea gravel path with natural stone edging to hold the gravel in place

How long did the project take, and what exactly did you use?

In total I probably spent a 2 full days worth of work on our cottage garden path project. Though that time was spread out over several afternoons. But it’s totally a weekend project depending on how long of a pathway you’re building and whether or not you have your materials on hand and ready to go.

Materials needed:

country farmhouse front porch steps leading to a gravel walkway

Eventually we plan to add a second gravel path that will connect the other set of steps off the front porch to the pumphouse. I learned a lot during this project, and there are a few things I would do differently the next time around. But there are also a few things I’d do the same way! Let me share a few tips with you below…

How to Create Cottage Garden Paths in Your Home’s Landscaping

#1: prepare the area before installation

You’ll want to mow the grass before starting but that’s really all the prep work that’s needed. The landscaping fabric and the rocks should stifle out the grass below your pathway.

DIY cottage garden path with pea gravel and a natural stone border edging

#2: Lay Your Base Layer of landscaping fabric

I rolled out landscaping fabric right on top of the grass where I wanted our path to go. Don’t cut the fabric into sections. You want to use one long continuous piece of fabric so that you don’t lose pea gravel in the cracks. If you’re worried about weeds and grass growing up through the gravel, you could double layer the fabric, or you could even start with a layer of cardboard underneath the fabric. I included the cardboard in the materials list above because I wish I had done that! But I’ll share what we’ve been doing about grass a little further down.

#3: Arrange the Large Stones down the edges of your fabric

Work as you go arranging the large natural stones along the edges of the fabric. Remember the fabric is what will hold the grass out, so you want to make sure the stones are all the way on the fabric, to cut down on the maintenance your path will need later on. You also want to make sure the stones overlap and fit tightly together with as little movement and shifting as possible. Take your time with this part. Play with it until you get it just right! It’s worth the extra time because the stones are what will prevent your pea gravel from spilling out of the walkway and spreading.

a cottage garden path lined with natural stone border and filled with white pea pebbles

#4: Fill in the path with Pea Gravel as you work

Our pea gravel came in 50lb bags which made this part pretty simple. Just cut the bags open and dump the pebbles out on the path.

#5: Add a Natural Curve to the path as you Go

I wanted our path to have a natural curve to it, winding through the grass from our porch steps to our gravel driveway. So as I unrolled the landscaping fabric, I would slightly adjust it a little to the right, folding and creasing the extra fabric where the path curved as needed. Then I would do the same, as the path slightly curved back to the left. Also it really helps to step back and look at the path from different angles as you are working to make sure you like the look and the feel of the path.

winding gravel path that leads to a renovated 1800's 2 story farmhouse with white board and batten siding and a red brick chimney

#6: Use Landscaping pins to secure the landscaping fabric

Landscaping pins / stakes are your friend! I thought the weight of the pea gravel and the stones would be enough to hold the fabric down. But I found that over time, if there are folds / creases in the landscaping fabric, like there will be where you curve the path, the fabric can lift up in the walkway as the gravel shifts and moves under foot. In the parts of the pathway that I had folded and tucked the landscaping fabric, the folds started to lift up and show after a few weeks. So I had to go back, push the pea gravel to the side, re-fold the fabric, and add a few landscaping pins to hold it down more permanently.

white farmhouse exterior with simple country landscaping and a pea gravel walkway leading to the front porch

Tips to Maintain and Care for Pea Gravel Paths with Natural Stone Border Edging

To me, a quintessential cottage garden is a little wild and whimsical, informal, playful… but it’s not without maintenance. Any pathway or landscape project can become overgrown with weeds without a little maintenance from time to time. So I thought I’d include a few tips to help maintain and care for your pea gravel paths with natural stone edging.

  • Rake the gravel to remove debris and to loosen any weeds that may pop up.
  • Try weeding after a rain when the ground is soft. Any grass and weeds tend to come up much easier when the soil is wet.
  • Use a weed killer to keep the grass at bay. There are even some natural options you can try if you don’t like using the heavy chemicals.
  • Use a weed-eater, or better yet, an edger along the natural stone edging to keep grass from growing in between the stones and into your walkway.
  • Replenish pea gravel as needed. – We have not needed to do this yet. But there are some low spots in the pathway that I only notice after a heavy rain. So we may add a few more bags of gravel to fill in those spots.
  • Know that it’s easier to prevent weeds than it is to pull them. So go for the thicker, better quality landscaping fabric. It’s worth the extra money! Also consider double layering it, or layer the fabric over a layer cardboard to really knock out the grass below your path.
winding gravel path that leads to a renovated 1800's 2 story farmhouse with white board and batten siding and a red brick chimney

3 Design Ideas for Incorporating Pea Gravel and Natural Creek Stones in Your Home’s Landscaping

I love how this project turned out, and it totally has my wheels turning for more future projects here at the farmhouse. So I thought I’d share 3 of my favorite landscaping design ideas with you!

#1: Use Pea Gravel and Natural Stones to Create Your Own Cottage Garden Paths

The project this post is all about. I’d love to add more paths over time, and plan to add one that will connect our front porch steps to the pump house next!

country farmhouse front porch steps leading to a gravel walkway
white wedding hydrangeas in full sun around our NC farmhouse

#2: Line Your Flower Beds with a Natural Stone Border Edging

Whether you fill your beds with pea gravel, mulch, or pine straw, if you like this look you can use cane creek stones or another large stone to line your flower beds. I can’t wait to watch the hydrangeas fill out more over time. We plan to add more hygrangeas each year to cut down on the cost

white wedding panicle hydrangeas in our NC farmhouse landscaping surrounded by pea gravel
white wedding panicle hydrangeas in our NC farmhouse landscaping
white wedding panicle hydrangeas by the porch steps of our NC farmhouse landscaping surrounded by pea gravel

#3: Build a Pea Gravel Patio for Outdoor Entertaining

I’d love to create an outdoor space here on the farm with pea gravel as a sort of natural flooring. We actually have a little spot in mind that we’d like to add a fire pit to one day. So maybe we could combine the two ideas and create a pea gravel patio space with a firepit in the center! I’ll have to show you photos of the spot I have in mind, along with some inspo pics I’ve been saving as we daydream and plan our someday projects. I’m making a note in my planner now because that would actually be a fun post to write!

a cottage garden path lined with natural stone border and filled with white pea pebbles

Our Farmhouse Before & After Adding Cottage Garden Paths

Prior to adding landscaping, we just had grass right up to the farmhouse which looked ok for a while. The only time it truly ever bothered us was when it rained, because that meant trudging through the mud to get from the front porch to the cars.

So adding this cottage garden path was definitely an upgrade! It’s a project that has added so much curb appeal and charm to our farmhouse. And let me also say that this was some backbreaking work y’all, but the end result was so worth it!!

It’s amazing to see the progress and to see my visions become a reality here on the farm!! Whenever we make big changes like this, I always like to look back at the before photos of the old house to see where we started and see just how far we’ve come. (BTW, if you’re new here be sure to check out this tour of the old house to see more of the before photos of our home.)

And if you’ve been following for a while, you might remember when I shared this post of simple country farmhouse landscaping ideas. I was wanting a classic, “always been there” kind of look for our farmhouse landscaping. Using pea gravel and natural stones as a gravel path edging in our cottage garden paths and in the flower beds around the farmhouse totally exceeded what I had in mind when I wrote that original post. And I can only imagine loving it more as our hydrangeas fill out, and as we continue to add in more plants and more pathways over time!

Thanks for stopping by the blog and hanging out with me today. I hope today’s post was helpful and inspiring to you in some way! And as always, thank you so much for following along…

Love, Brittany

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