The back yard of the house my boyfriend and I got a year and a half ago has a porch, a wooden deck in the middle, and almost all of what's left is covered in pebbles and small, smooth stones that are, at maximum, an inch wide. The dogs went through a phase where they ate a few of them from time to time (it took witnessing Bones throwing up a rock one night to wonder where individual rocks came from in their kennel), but on the whole, that has worked out well. The pebble layer is wearing a bit thin from where the dogs have worn down little trails, so I may have to go out with a rake one day to try to do some repaving. Makes sense for us in Texas to have pebbles instead of grass (pebbles don't need watering!); there is a large shade tree to prevent them from getting too hot in the summer.