4. Stylish Gravel Patio Is Unstable

"I put in a pea-gravel patio with flower beds around it to conjure a Parisian garden. I love to hear the atmospheric crunch of the stones. Then I put on a big party. All the women complained that they couldn't walk in their heels—they just sank! And it isn't so comfy on bare feet, either. Plus, pebbles pop up all over the zinnia beds."

How to cope: Try settling flat pieces of bluestone in the gravel at strolling intervals.

Next time: A hard surface is not only easier on heels but also easier to sweep clean of leaves, snow, and debris—and big stones don't roam into adjacent lawns or flower beds. (For tips on putting down a small bluestone patio, go to This Old House Bonus.)
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