Pea gravel is a small, rounded gravel often used on walkways and patios. This popular landscaping material provides an attractive surface that is easy to walk on, economical, and simple to install. Before purchasing pea gravel, you will want to calculate the amount and weight needed for your project.
Preparing to Spread Pea Gravel
Some landscapers sell gravel by the ton, and if you plan to transport pea gravel on your own, it's important to know how much load your truck will have to carry. Ultimately, the weight of gravel depends on its density, but the pea gravel weight per cubic yard is around 1.3 tons. For larger projects, you'll most likely want to pay a landscaping supply company to haul the gravel to your property.
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To calculate the total volume and weight of pea gravel needed, decide on the desired depth first. You want enough depth for a pleasant crunch underfoot, but not so much that the pea gravel creates an unstable surface that visitors will sink into. Pea gravel should be 2 or 3 inches deep at most, with many landscapers recommending a depth of 2 1/2 inches. Using a calculator, a tape measure, and the simple formulas below, you can calculate the cubic yards and tonnage of pea gravel needed for your project.
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How to Calculate Gravel in Cubic Yards and Tons
Step 1: Measure Project Area
Measure the length and width of the area you want to gravel; then multiply them together. If you have multiple areas you plan to gravel, add them all together for total square feet. If you took measurements in inches rather than feet, divide your figure by 144 to calculate the total square feet you want to cover with pea gravel.
Step 2: Calculate Cubic Yards
One cubic yard will cover 324 square feet at a depth of 1 inch, but you'll want to double or triple that depth. To determine the total cubic yards needed, multiply the total square feet of your project by the desired depth in inches and then divide by 324. As an example, multiply square feet by 2.5 (for the depth); then divide by 324 to determine the total cubic yards required for the project.
Step 3: Calculate Pea Gravel in Tons
Multiply the total cubic yards you need by 1.3 to arrive at the number of tons to order for your project. Because gravel can settle, round up by 5 or 10 percent to make certain you have enough pea gravel to fully cover your walkway or patio.