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Pea Gravel Pathway Anyone

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Az Gardener, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    I have a client that has just returned from Europe and is in love with the pea gravel pathways in some of the gardens over there. She wants to change out a couple of garden room pathways from sand set brick pathways to Brick borders and pea gravel field, so it would seem to be an easy switch. Just pull up the sand set field bricks and remove the sand and replace with pea gravel keeping the mortared borders. I have a couple of concerns.

    • How thick to have the gravel? I don't want it to be like wading through thick sand.
    • What base? Is it OK to lay down on clay or do I need to come in with ABC?
    • What am I missing? Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. Steiner

    Steiner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 409

    We have done several so I will divulge some things I have learned. Bear with me as stone changes names and designations based on locality.

    1. Use high quality geotextile separation fabric between the soil and the base so the stone does not make its way into the subsoil. Plant fabric does not work. Also go heavy with staples as walking traffic can pull the fabric to the surface of some stone.

    2. Rounded washed stone #1 or #2 is a difficult size to walk on. Because it is all the same shape and gradation it tends to roll over another and makes for a terrible walking path (think ball bearings). You are looking for trouble and sprained ankles going with a rounded stone with no fines.

    3. What we typically use in a walking path is a round stone that either degrades over time producing fines which stabilize the surface, or is crushed in the plant with fines. (you can almost hear it crunching and breaking down as you walk). It is generally lower on the Mohs hardnesss scale so it tends to crumble which I think causes a very desirable effect. The name of these products vary from region to region but here it is a yellow-ish crushed gravel. It looks like corn kernels but you can find it in other colors. I wish I could give you a specific name but it is hard to pin down, even our suppliers call it totally different things. It is very popular in florida and wealthy areas, I see it often on Jupiter Island when I am vacationing....:)

    Hope this helps
  3. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    My experience is that more than 2" tends to get difficult to navigate. Around here it is a real pain to keep clean from debris. Thankfully I only have 2 that we deal with. There is some maintenance involved with raking and what not. When I used to work in CA we would have to rake the paths at least once a week, but we were already raking the gardens and beaches anyways so it didnt really matter.
  4. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    you got it, old world - old school pea paths were just that paths with random meandering rows of pea separating plantings and flower beds. over time and as the garden progressed you end up with a peaceful place you would want to stay. 4 to 6 inches of pea layed upon landscape fabric, No hard rules hear if you get to techie with precise measurements doing this and that the look your customer wants will be lost. their will be a thousand posts after this giveing you a laundry list of must do and dont's when their is no such thing. just enjoy this..... I love projects like this.
  5. Dirt Boy

    Dirt Boy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

    Have any of you ever tried the "Gravel-Lok" products?
    It seems like a good idea, aprox. 4" of "rock" and the lock product to keep it all together.
    I have no idea what the cost would be, so this is just a thought.

  6. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 621

    Mix your pea gravel with soil stabilizer from the Rock Source. Use a geotextile underneath as mentioned before.



  7. New2TheGreenIndustry

    New2TheGreenIndustry LawnSite Senior Member
    from GA
    Messages: 925

    I have a customer who would like to install a pea gravel path. Is there good oblong paver to use as edging? I believe I have seen one where the paver and spike are one unit. Anyone know of a product like this, or have edging recommendations?
  8. WGrnd21

    WGrnd21 LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Messages: 73

    belgium blocks work well.
  9. cudaclan

    cudaclan LawnSite Member
    from Zone 5
    Messages: 152

    I can provide my experience as a homeowner/DIY. I have granite edging that supports a raised walkway of pea gravel and granite flagging slabs. This is crucial so that any lawn edging work done does not displace grass clippings or its seeds. ¾ minus is the sub-base (18”) compacted with geo-text on top. 6” of pea gravel on top and the granite flgging slabs placed on top of the gravel. I have not had any weeds/seeds survive this method. Once you introduce any fines, you run the risk of weeds. Since snow is not an issue, I will advise others that you will lose gavel with every toss of the shovel. Gravel is a magnet to snow. Come springtime, I find myself picking up the gavel in the lawn.

    A word of caution: Some gravel contains stones with high iron content. It tends to “bleed” the rust. This may present an unsightly appearance with certain edging or flagging.
  10. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,142

    18" of 3/4- and 6" of pea stone? That is way overkill. 3/4 minus is a good base but 18"is way to much. It should already have a good base though there were pavers on top of it. I would get rid of the bedding sand and either put the pea stone to the top or use stone dust or 3/4 minus to bring it up a little. compact and pea stone.

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