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You didn't say what you have for landscaping now around the patio. Is it grass? Or what?
Let's assume it's grass. And let's assume you don't want plants. Then, dig out about 6" of the grass/dirt. Maybe you can make it about 16" wide. Then, lay in a double-layer of Landscape Fabric to prevent weeds and such from growing up. Then, set in about 4" of gravel. Then, set in some landscape timbers (pressure treated wood) around the grass edges AFTER you TAMP down the gravel. Then, backfill the remaining gravel and tamp again.
To determine how much gravel you'll need, measure the lenght, width, and depth of the area in question and bring that info w/you to the Gravel Yard (or Stone Quary.) There, you can order your gravel. Take a look around at what type of gravel it is you like. YOu can even do the following to save some $$$.
After you dig and lay in the double-layer of Landscape Fabric (NOT Weed Block), ONLY use a 'cheap gravel' for the BOTTOM 4". THen, lay in another layer or 2 of Fabric, and put the GOOD/PRETTY gravel on TOP as the top-most layer!
I don't know how big your patio is so you'll have to talk to the Yard about the economics of doing it 1 way vs. the other. And, if my 'idea' isn't along the lines of what you'd like to do, come back w/more info.
My best to ya and hope this helps.
Jay J -Moderator
PS: By adding a perimeter to the patio, your weed-wacker and such are 'kept away' from the patio ...