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Gravel Patio query


So i am a novice gardener who is trying to build a low maintenance garden (you know, the one that just needs a trim every month or so) and I decided that a small gravel patio to extend the existing paved patio would be a good idea.

Now, I've done some research but thought I'd ask those that know more than me about how to actually do what I need to do.

At the moment i have cleared a patch of grass and dug down to roughly 50mm in preparation for the next phase. As it would be a busy patio, i thought that putting some Gravel Grids/Mats would be a good idea to stop the gravel shifting too much. 

My query is, in what order should they be laid? Should it be:

Compacted soil > Compacted Sand > Weed Membrane > Grids > Gravel.....     or 

Compacted soil > Weed Membrane > Compacted Sand > Grids > Gravel.....   

Your thoughts are much appreciated for this stumped novice image




  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,942

    Not sure what you'd need the sand for Chris, or the membrane really. The grids have to go into the ground a bit, so the membrane would prevent that. If you're removing the turf, the grids would sit into the clean soil. Then gravel on top. image

    If you don't use the grids, you can simply lay membrane on the soil and put the gravel on top. Either way, you need a retaining edge of timber or brick, or similar, to stop the gravel travelling elsewhere.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Hi fairygirl,

    My theory is the sand would give me a level surface if the soil isnt flat enough and a stable base. The membrane is to stop the weeds coming through as it was grass before.

    I was thinking paving blocks for the edges/border cemented in to make a mowing strip?


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,942

    A thick enough layer of gravel should prevent grass coming through. You might need to experiment a bit with putting membrane down. I think that could be tricky.

    I see what you mean about the sand - that's fair enough. The really gritty stuff would be best - the kind they lay paving onto without mortaring.  How about just putting it down on the soil instead of bothering with membrane at all? That may be the best option. Blocking the light thoroughly will prevent grass coming through image

    Paving blocks will be ideal for your edging.

    A lot depends on the size of the space and the slope if there is one. If everything's well contained and firmed down, it should be fine  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks for the input guys.

    I am kind of leaning towards putting down a decent quality membrane (thanks Lantana for the advice on quality of the membrane) and then layers of 20mm gravel compacted (thanks Tetley for the size warning). That way I won't need the sand or the grids which saves me £££ image

    I've never done a project on this scale so there is always a bit of hesitation about it.

    What do you guys n gals think?

  • We had our driveway gravelled just over a year ago - it was a big area so we got some professionals in to do it. They used a digger, a roller, membrane, plastic grids and gravel.  We selected the gravel that we wanted and having already used small gravel (I think 10 mm) on another job where the gravel stuck to tyres, got into the house etc. we opted for the 20mm size. Yes it was a big job but the other alternatives were cobbled stones (too expensive) or tarmac which was a definite no. Since the picture was taken in Feburary last year we have put some colourful plants along the sidesimageA membrane, if laid correctly will keep the weeds down to a minimum

    Last edited: 23 August 2016 15:16:11

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,942

    Yes Chris- I should have said about gravel size too. I use 20mm for all my paths. The smaller stuff is too much like a giant cat litter tray....image

    The grids would have to go straight onto soil to get pushed in Chris, so I think it's wise to forget them. I still think you'd be fine just with the gravel in them anyway. 

    Membrane and gravel on top is the ideal solution  image


    Last edited: 23 August 2016 17:38:53

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,462

    We just had gravel laid in our front garden.  They dug out to 125mm, laid membrane then 100 mm of compacted aggregate, covered with 25mm of 20 mm gravel.  All depths approximate.  If we hadn't wanted it to a standard which would permit parking a car on it, they said they could have got away with 50 mm of aggregate.

  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,145

    From my recent personal experience I would definitely recommend a layer of type 1 aggregate topped-off with a lesser depth of 20mm. I got advised that it would be OK to go 100mm depth of 20mm gravel but unfortunately it has too much movement and is actually quite difficult to walk on. Fortunately it's a little used path. 

  • I like the idea of the slabs Lantana, looks really nice and I have some large slabs that would blend in nicely with this.

    As the ground is pretty hard I am hesitant to dig further to lay a sub base but that could just be me being lazy Dave Humby but it is worth thinking about.

    The picture below is what I am dealing with so hopefully that gives you all a better idea.


    Last edited: 23 August 2016 21:20:34

  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,145

    Your project seems similar to mine Chris. If you have a solid base then you can probably get away without the type1. My 'mistake' was having too much depth (c100mm) of gravel. Can't quite recall why I ended up digging out so much! I think I had originally planned to put type1 down but was advised it would not be needed - after I had dug it out. Anyway here are before and after photos including the use of some occasional pavers as shown elsewhere. Breaks it up a little.



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