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You are correct.Pea gravel is NOT a good base for a patio or walkway.Tell him you use crushed w/sand base or crushed /w stonedust base.
Then if he insists you can use pea to fill in the cracks bettween the stones.I won't use pea in this manner because of possible liability problems if someone takes a step on a stone and it slides right out from under them.
It just wont compact.Not only that,your clients hire you to perform work,they tell you what they want,but they hired you to do it the way it should be done.
Never allow your clients to dictate and decide how you do your job.That is yours to decide.
It's ok if he wants flagstone but you make the decisions on the base materials.
Most customers just dont know so don't expect them to be correct in their material decisions.
 
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