Looking a Little Decomposed

[EDIT]:To see our almost finished backyard, click here.

After (literally) a year of planning, our decomposed granite patio is done (and for less than $500)!!

Little House. Big Heart. - Decomposed Granite Patio How To

The first step in building our decomposed granite patio was to create an edge to hold back the gravel (you can read about that process here).  Once that was finished, we were ready to have six cubic yards of decomposed granite delivered to our house

Here’s Kevin showing you how big the pile is in the Instagram pic below… his wingspan is about 6’4″.


The first step in actually building the patio was to lay down a layer of weed barrier. We went with Scott’s Landscape Fabric at $39 a roll (we only needed one) and laid it out across the patio, overlapping the edges by about four inches and adding piles of granite to hold it down (in lieu of using landscape staples).

Decomposed Granite Patio Underlayment

For the first layer of granite we decided to work in sections, adding a one inch deep layer then tamping it down before rolling out more weed barrier and repeating the process.

Tamping Decompsed Crushed Granite Patio

We repeated this process until the entire patio had a thin layer of granite, then we started the process all over again, adding granite, leveling it with the garden rake, and tamping it down. We repeated these steps until we had about four inches of granite on the entire patio (which went much faster than expected thanks to a little help from our friends… thanks guys!).

Throughout the construction we left our tripod in one place in the yard and took a photo any time we stopped to take a break and rest our aching muscles. What we ended up with is a great progression of how the patio came together.

Decomposed Granite Patio Timbers

DIY Timber Edging Patio

Decomposed Granite patio how to 3

Decomposed Granite patio how to 4

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Little House. Big Heart. - Decomposed Granite Patio How To

We’re so excited (and a little shocked) that we were able to build a 500+ square foot patio for less than $500! Here’s the breakdown:

– (3) 6×6 pressure treated landscape timbers, $60
– (6) 2′ long 1/2″ rebar stakes, $15
– (1) roll Scott’s Landscape Fabric, $39
– (6) cu. yds. decomposed granite (delivery included), $331

For a grand total of (drum roll please): $445!

We had budgeted over $700 for the project, so this leaves us with a lot of room in the rest of the budget to play with!

The sprinker system is going in today and tomorrow, so we’ll be ready for sod by the weekend! I can’t wait to actually have a yard again instead of a giant dirt hole!


You can see more of this year long process here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Can’t wait to share our Pinterest Challenge project with you tomorrow (even though technically it won’t be finished)! How are your projects coming along? Have you ever finished a project way under budget?


23 thoughts on “Looking a Little Decomposed

  1. It looks great! When we did our closets, we had asked around and everyone told use to budget 1000€ per closet (insane). Sure enough we asked for quotes and that’s what they gave us. In the end we decided to DIY them and did the three of them for around 400€ instead of 3000€!

  2. Maybe you mentioned this elsewhere, but…

    Does the decomposed granite actually harden or is it just like hard packed dirt/sand/etc? I assuming if you’re somewhere where it rains a lot this wouldn’t be an option. Can it handle a lot of weight or pressure like moving your fire pit, around, rolling your grill or pulling in and out chairs at the table? Guess as you figure this all out you’ll keep us updated!

    • Great question, Rebecca!

      Decomposed granite sets up almost like concrete. It will be a little pebbly on the surface, but with good compaction it will be as hard as a rock and strong enough to be used as a driveway (which it commonly is).

      In fact, DG has been used for hundreds of years as the driveway and patio material of kings! Kevin and I got the idea to use it for our patio after seeing it in many of the patios and drives of the castles we visited in France!

  3. Hey you two….take that extra buget money and use it for more plant material….always seems that you need more, even with great planning like you guys do…especially if you want that “been growing for years” look……wish we still had the greenhouse to bring you truckloads of free plants!!!!…..Can’t wait to get down there in March……still not too sure about the crawfish, but Dad is excited!!!!….BTW….10:10 min. mile last night at a 6.0 mph!!!!……We are gettin there!!!!! Loves ya like grapes…….!!!!!

  4. Wow, that’s fantastic! Thanks for the extra info about DG up there in the comments, too. Guess I had assumed it was more like gravel or something. It was the France comparison that clued me in to what kind of material you’re talking about!

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  9. Hi, Awesome job! I am also considering DG but for the front yard. I highly dislike lawns…yawn. Did you guys use a stabilizer for the DG? A contractor friend suggested a cactus mix stabilizer but it is pricey ($100 cu. yd.! as opposed to $49 without it)…he also suggested a more affordable option: mix a small amount of concrete to the DG to harden it. Now that it’s been a few months, do you notice any movement to your patio or is it hard as a rock? Also considering the landscape fabric for weed control but am not sure if it’s necessary if we stabilize it. Also, if I read correctly, you placed the weed barrier first (over the dirt), then compacted a 1″ layer of DG, then repeat…how many layers of the fabric did you end up using? Is it serving you well? Also, is DG easy to keep clean? I have some trees nearby & hoping a simple sweep ever so often would keep it looking good. Thanks & take care!

    • Hi Maria! We didn’t go with any stabilizer in our DG for the patio, but haven’t noticed any shifting or movement. It’s hard as a rock! We only used that first layer of weed barrier and to date haven’t had a single weed come up. Also, we had a tree fall on the patio shortly after we completed it. The patio not only withstood the tree, but was also a breeze to clean up! I just swept the debris from the tree right up and dumped it into a waiting wheelbarrow. It also drains really well when we get the big, sudden thunderstorms; we’ve never had an issue with standing water.

      To sum it up… we love our DG patio!

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