DIY Gravel Patio with Solar String Lights

This post first appeared on Hometalk and was sponsored by Worx.

Our backyard has been a project from day 1 of moving into this house. I’m happy to report that we are almost to the finish line. One of the last DIY’s we finished for this outdoor space was adding a DIY gravel patio with solar string lights. Who would have thought that a little rock could make such a difference! I’ve always wanted pretty string lights and I can’t wait to share my new lighted gravel patio.

Let’s rewind and look at our backyard right after we moved in.

You see the space next to the porch with the grinder pump well? That’s the space I’ll be transforming into a DIY gravel patio.

A few months ago, in an effort to hide that round thing in the ground, I made a DIY outdoor table to hide the ugly grinder pump well.

DIY outdoor table to cover a grinder pump well

I couldn’t think of anything else that was removable to cover up that unsightly round thing in the ground.

We recently finished our cottage style back porch addition, and I couldn’t be more pleased. The problem now is that the other side of the patio is still an eye sore.

Cottage Style Porch Makeover

The master plan for the DIY gravel patio is to create a metal border around the perimeter and lay gravel inside, solar string lights hung above and then sod everywhere else.

Since I wanted to add the string lights, I knew I needed to find something to attach it to. I thought if I added another 4 by 4 post and attached the lights from it to the roof that would look nice.

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How do you hang string lights in an open outdoor area without trees?

You can hang string lights in any formation, as long as you attach them to a secure structure. Here are a few ideas below:

  • Attach the string lights to large posts that are secured in the ground with concrete
  • Attach the string lights to the side of a house
  • Attach the string lights to a fence post

Installing large posts like 4 by 4’s and stringing the lights from the top works well. We used concrete to secure the post in the ground.

solar string lights

I ordered the solar lights from World Market. I love their vintage look.

outdoor solar string lights

I screwed small hooks into each side of the house and the 4 by 4 post. I wanted the lights to hang in a triangle configuration.

hanging string lights on a house

Then I painted the 4 by 4 post white. I used regular old white outdoor paint.

installing a post to hang string lights

I love how it matches the other posts on the porch. It makes this space look more cohesive and planned like it was always a part of the porch.

outdoor string lights

We drew a line with white spray paint to visualize where the end of the gravel patio would be. Can you see the line in white? It looks like a bell curve.

You can see we opted for a more “decorative” line around the post rather than a straight one.

Once we knew where the gravel patio would start we proceeded with plans for the sprinkler system. I won’t go into details about that, let’s just say it’s labor intensive and time consuming!

trenching around DIY gravel patio
trenching around DIY gravel patio

What a mess! It’s got to get worse before it gets better right?

trenching around gravel patio

After the sprinkler system was complete, we proceeded with the gravel patio before laying the sod.

How to make a DIY gravel patio with Bahama Rock and metal edging

We had gravel and metal edging hauled in from a landscape supply company. We opted for regular gravel (specifically Bahama Rock #57) and not pea gravel.

In our previous home we added pea gravel around our fire pit. It looked great, but it moved with every step you took. My OCD got the best of me and I found myself constantly raking it. Also, some of the neighborhood cats thought it was a litter box. EW! Not to mention the fact that I had two toddlers who also used it like a sandbox.

fire pit with pea gravel and pavers

Due to this, we decided to put down a larger rock that would stay put better AND not resemble a litter box (let’s hope!).

gravel for the patio
metal edging

We chose metal edging (over plastic) because it’s easier to weed around and more durable.

Also, don’t forget about that weed barrier! THIS is so important or you will be pulling weeds out of the gravel from here on out.

How to prepare the ground for a gravel patio

  1. Remove the grass (or weeds)
  2. Make sure the ground is mostly level (it doesn’t have to be perfect)
  3. Lay the weed barrier
  4. Install the edging
  5. Pour gravel and level it out

Y’all that’s all there is to it!

laying weed barrier in DIY gravel patio

I started at the edge of the house and rolled the weed barrier out.

cutting the weed barrier

I used regular old scissors to cut the weed barrier around the grinder pump table.

weed barrier for DIY gravel patio

Before you get started with the metal edging determine if (and where) you need to bend it first. We started installing the edging at the corner of the house near the walkway. You can see where we measured the length from the edge of the house to the walkway. Here’s how you bend the metal edging.

bending metal edging

Once you measure where the bend should be, lay a piece of wood on it.

bending metal edging

Hold your foot on the wood and use your other hand to bend the metal. It’s pretty easy!

Once you’ve made a good bend, see if it fits!

metal edging for gravel patio

We used the same piece of wood to hammer the edging into the ground.

installing metal edging

Once the metal edging is where you want it to be, hammer the stakes into the slots on the edging.

We stopped the edging on the side of the house at the porch. We used a hack saw to cut the edging.

It’s time for the gravel! Lucky for us we still had the front loader.

Once enough gravel was hauled in, we used rakes to smooth everything out.

Side note; I purchased an “outdoor screen” to hide the old grinder pump light.

Almost done! Time for the sod.

We also hauled in top soil to lay on top of our old ground before we put the sod down. This isn’t necessary, but our soil is so sandy we wanted to add a little more dirt.

laying the sod
laying sod around the gravel patio

The gravel patio refresh is almost complete!

I did decide to give the wood top on the outdoor table a new look. I wanted to tie in the blue tones I decorated with on the porch.

painting the outdoor table around the gravel patio

Almost done. I added a few hanging flowers and a pillow or two from Walmart.

After about two weeks of watering the grass, we decided it was time to mow!

This was our first time using our new Landroid Mower. I think we were about as excited to try the robot lawnmower as we were for our new backyard!

After waiting about two weeks, it was was time to mow. I think we were as excited to try the robot lawn mower as we were for our new backyard! First we set it up. Let me explain how awesome this is;

  1. The Landroid adapts to the size and shape of my lawn and automatically decides when to cut it!
  2. It’s super quiet so it can run at night and we can’t hear it!
  3. When it’s done it automatically returns to its charging station. 
  4. It has a rain sensor so it knows when (and when not) to mow.
  5. Best part- I can control everything from my phone! 

After the barriers were put down around the perimeter of our yard, I downloaded the Landroid app and we put it on autopilot! 

It took a little time and thought to set up the barriers, but it was worth it!

Landroid mower

Having new grass is amazing, but having new grass AND not having to mow it is a dream!

Landroid mower
landroid mower
DIY Gravel Patio with Solar String Lights

Ta Dah! What do you think?

Who would have thought that a little gravel would make that much of a difference?

DIY gravel patio
DIY gravel patio with solar string lights
gravel patio
DIY gravel patio
DIY gravel patio
gravel patio with solar string lights
backyard with gravel patio
DIY gravel patio

SHOP THE POST:

Gravel patio with string lights before and after

Do you have a space in your yard that you can transform with a little rock?

Lindsey**

2 thoughts on “DIY Gravel Patio with Solar String Lights

  1. Hi Lindsey! It looks amazing! I was hoping you might share the name of paint color on your house.. love it!

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