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Gravel area on clay soil in garden

Apologies if this has been asked already. I am new to gardening and need some advice about preparing clay soil for gravel.

I have an area in my garden which I have dug up manually. It is clay heavy. I want to level it and put gravel on it to make a seating area in the garden. It previously had turf on which has been dug up and turned upside down. What else should I put on it before putting gravel?

Thanks in advance


  • 2oaktrees2oaktrees Posts: 160
    Im new to gardening myself but can tell you that it’s ideal to put down a good quality weed suppressing membrane on the clay and first then gravel on top. It’ll stop any weeds growing through the gravel and a headache in the long run. 
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,624
    I agree with 2oaktrees. Just make sure you put a thick layer of gravel over the mulch fabric and peg this down with the special pegs you can buy - either plastic ones or metal ones. This stops the fabric from curling up and poking thro the gravel which looks horrible.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • thanks! should i put sharpers sand down on the clay soil? I am trying to stomp on it with my feet, but it keeps sticking to me because its so much clay! or is there no need for sand?

    And if I want to raise the level, should I put compost down first or just raise it with more gravel?

    Thanks again!
  • ShepsSheps Posts: 2,104
    We didn't use sand, just leveled the soil out to somewhere near, then used a thick membrane and then laid about 12 tonnes of 20mm gravel. Any hollows will be filled by the gravel, just give it a couple of weeks to settle before trying to get it dead level.

    Also, I agree with Lizzie re the thick layer of gravel, mine is about 6 inches deep on average.


    And After

  • 2oaktrees2oaktrees Posts: 160
    I love the colour of your raised beds and your climbers @Sheps :)
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 8,190
    edited April 2018
    We have a large gravel patio across the back of the house (11m x 6m semi circle). It required significant levelling work and was prepped with hardcore, compacted, hoggin, compacted, then about 3cm of pea shingle.

    The shingle sort of embeds into the hoggin slightly so it doesn’t move around too much. 

    We also have a couple of small shingle seating areas (each around 3m x 2m). They were prepped just by compacting the soil (with a proper whacker plate) and then laying pegged membrane and shingle.

    The second method is fine for small areas (you can hire a whacker plate - they’re not hard to use). Anything larger probably needs the more substantial work.

    If it’s a large area which will be regularly walked over it is better to keep a shallower layer of shingle (otherwise it will be like walking through shingle on a beach) and membrane will eventually show through which looks very untidy.  That’s why the hoggin is a good solution there. Alternatively you can lay a path through it as Sheps has done. 

    PS - Lovely garden now Sheps. :)
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • ShepsSheps Posts: 2,104
    Thanks 2oaktrees and Topbird  :)
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