Need help with a better simple gravel and stone path

may_flowersMay 11, 2014

I find the directions for building a gravel path confusing, and I'm not sure it all pertains to NW soils since we seldom have frost heaving. My path is about 8' x 2' and is lightly used. I dug out the grass a few years ago, laid the bricks out flat, and filled it with pea gravel. The brick wasn't holding in the gravel or keeping out the soil from the beds, so I've turned them on their sides, which will give me 4" depth if I dig out the compacted clay. I've removed the pea gravel as I know I need to use crushed gravel to lock it into place.

I want to dress it up a little by adding 4 or 5 stepping stones (flags probably) and fill in between the stones with crushed gravel. We bought some 1/4"- 10 washed gravel for the top layer.

What is needed as a base layer? Do I need to lay landscape fabric? What depth do I need to dig out the soil? Can I just fill with gravel or sand, lay the stones, and fill in between the stones with more gravel?

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A paver pathway can be as simple as just laying down pavers or flagstones on the sod and cutting out the sod around them and removing it so they are flush. This can work just fine for a secondary, not heavily traveled path.

If you want a more long-lasting, durable path that can take any sort of foot traffic, you may want to prep a bit more, including using a proper base and leveling carefully. Typically you want a compacted base material (gravel/crushed rock) of 4-6 inches and then a 1-2" layer of coarse sand. Lay your pavers on the sand, level and fill cracks with more sand - or if openly spaced, more crushed rock or pea gravel. I do recommend weed/landscape cloth as an underlayment for any hardscaping project but that's about its only valid use. I also recommend using rigid edging to define the pathway and adequately contain both the base, pavers and whatever surrounds them.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 1:51PM
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Thank you, gardengal. I use the path to bring the lawn mower back and to go to the yard debris container. So it doesn't need to be extremely durable. I think I have to remove the sod though because the path floods and it will make a muddy mess of the pavers. The flower beds are sloped toward the path--we made mounded beds.

I would love to lay pavers from that path to the front of the deck and avoid walking on the lawn. I know I can lay them down and cut around them and place them right in the lawn. But it's too much work at our age to carry rocks to the backyard. Maybe small broken pavers is the solution. I always pictured large flagstones.That might be a project for fall when we work on the lawn. Poor DH. He turns 70 this summer! I'm trying to get the yard work done quick!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 2:28PM
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