Our DIY gravel pathway with built-in drainage

It’s hurricane season in Texas and with that comes a lot of rain. I’m excited that it’s finally cooling down a bit and that we don’t have to water our plants as regularly, but I am not so excited about how muddy everything is. Thankfully, Michael had a little trick up his sleeve for how to remedy the situation, and that included a little landscaping design project for me! 

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The standing water by the door. 


The muddy path from the back door to the fence door.

Michael started this project with building a trench. He dug out it out in the middle of where our path would be and sloped it down to the end of our driveway. It takes a lot of manpower, but the concept is pretty simple. Just keep in mind that water moves from high to low and you should be able to move that water to wherever you’re aiming for. The next step was filling in that muddy trench with rocks. We used these from Home Depot. We used about 50 bags for 30 feet of trench and path.

Before laying the top layer of rocks, Michael tested out his trench by simulating a flood and running the hose for a while and waiting for the water to drain. It worked! He then dug out another mini gutter along the edge and laid the edging bricks. Once he gets those in the desired spot, he packs them in with mud so they don’t go anywhere. Then we put down weed blocker in order to block weeds and to filter out silt so it doesn’t clog up our trench in the future. It also kept our rock path a little tidier. 

With the edging bricks in place and the weed blocker down, we poured out our bags of marble chips and officially had a successful DIY gravel path with built in drainage! 

Of course, it doesn’t stop there. Since we had all that mud and mess next to the path, we thought we would take full advantage and add in another garden bed. I have been wanting to move our potted herbs to the ground, but had been waiting to put in some raised beds. We opted for suuuuper simple raised beds that are literally just pressure treated pine planks nailed to some stakes that we hammered in so they will stay put. We only built three sides of the bed and used our cedar fence as the fourth side. It took no more than an hour to put together. 

We dug out another gutter before laying the long board so that it would have a level and sturdy base. We packed the board in with mud.

Michael made stakes by sawing a sharp angled piece off of the 2×4.

He nailed the first stake directly to the fence.

The last step in prepping our beds was mixing in a good potting soil with the sandy clay that was left behind. We aim for about half and half so that our plants have enough nutrients to get a healthy start. And then we were ready to plant! We don’t have quite enough herbs to fill the entire beds at the moment, but we are hoping they spread and fill out over time. We planted some drought resistant plants on the lower bed, similar to what we already had on the left side. They’ve been doing really well for us so we are hopeful that they take off in this bed as well. 

This post was written for the  Collected Eclectic blog.

Collected Eclectic was a passion project focused on recording the process as Grace and Michael van Meurer transformed their builder grade home in to something special.

124 blog posts were published between 2018 and 2021. Explore the complete Collected Eclectic archive here

Learn more about the project here

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