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Gravel Garden Path problem!

Hello everyone! I have recently moved into a new house and there is a large part of the back garden covered in decorative white gravel - I’ve no idea how long ago it was laid but the whole gravel area is now absolutely full of earth/mud underneath the stones, which is causing no end of problems with weeds and ants nests! 
Ideally I’d like to collect all the gravel up, clean it, replace the weed liner underneath and re-lay it, but I’m not entirely sure this is practical, nor am I very sure how I’d go about cleaning the existing gravel as there’s a lot of it (maybe half a tonne?!). Has anyone got any suggestions? I’ve seen similar posts about offering the old gravel on gumtree etc and replacing but I doubt anyone would want my stuff as it’s so full of soil?! Any suggestions / thoughts or tips are most welcome! Thank you! 


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,047
    Are you sure there is a liner under it at all? It sounds very odd that there's so much soil, unless the liner has broken down very badly, and the layer of gravel is very thin. If you're on clay soil, it's possible. 
    If you do decide to clear the gravel and relay it , use a heavy duty fabric. Once you get decent rain, it'll help to clean it. 

    Half a ton isn't very much, so don't underestimate how much you may have to clear  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • muzz1586muzz1586 Posts: 4
    There’s definitely a liner underneath it - I’m just assuming over time all the dirt etc has accumulated underneath it. I dug out a buckets worth and tried to wash it in the sink but it wasn’t particularly effective! 
  • muzz1586muzz1586 Posts: 4

  • muzz1586muzz1586 Posts: 4
    Here’s a photo of that helps - I’ve just dug down a little bit and as you can see it’s full of muck. 
  • SuesynSuesyn South Somerset Posts: 606
    My husband has been known to put our gravel in a garden seive and use a hose to wash it through. It's a mammoth task as we have loads ot it but he likes a challenge (and playing with the hose pipe) but we're not on a water meter, he probably wouldn't do it if we were. 
  • I had a similar problem with slate chippings . On a sunny day i sat outside with a garden sieve , a hose and containers , one for dirty chippings and one for clean . Then put down a new membrane and put chippings on top .
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,366
    Without actually seeing the whole garden, my first question is, would you have chosen to lay gravel there if your new garden was a blank slate and you were laying it out from scratch? If no, you could just hire a mini skip, scrape the whole lot off and start again, Alternatively dig it over, removing the liner as you go and mixing it with the soil beneath, then add some topsoil so it forms the base for new turf or planting areas. The gravel beneath would help with drainage. It depends on the overall levels though, as this will raise the area a little. Gravel is also excellent as a base for deep raised beds, so could be repurposed that way. Depends on what you want to do overall with the garden tho.

    Gravel is often seen as a quick fix, but it is high maintenance, especially if it’s white! Weeds seed into it, leaves fall on it and rot down, it gets dirty… as you have discovered.
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