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Old 08-08-2019, 11:47 AM   #1
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Stepping Stone Installation question


I am planning on putting in 24" square and 3/4" thick stepping stones on a renovated path with a brick border. The is going to be about 4" between each stone and about 6" from the side of the stone to the brick border. I plan to use pebbles between the stones.....the pebbles are larger, about twice or three times the size of the smallest pea-pebbles. There isn't going to be any walking on the pebbles, they are just ornamental - the path is also in a very low traffic area. Because the stepping stones are only 3/4" thick, is there any reason why I can't get away with just about a 1/2" depth of pea-pebbles around the stones?
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Old 08-08-2019, 11:55 AM   #2
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Re: Stepping Stone Installation question


I would want that real heavy filter cloth on top of the sand then the stone work and just enough gravel to hide the cloth. Our landscape shop will cut the fabric to what we need.

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Old 08-08-2019, 01:52 PM   #3
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Re: Stepping Stone Installation question


@tonesf , nice to meet you!

Where are you? City or county and state and province are enough.

The reason is that location matters a lot sometimes.

I've lived in California and in Ohio and one never gets frozen soil and the other does. In my limited experience you might get away in a warmer place with half an inch of gravel, but, if there's any serious moisture, it might not provide the "dimensional stability" you'll want.

I'd go with a lot more, like 4" if you can. More money, but a more permanent installation.

If you're in a cold place, use a lot more, I'd say at least 6" though if someone from a cold spot says more, I'd go with them.

And, give us a picture when you're done!
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Old 08-08-2019, 02:56 PM   #4
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Re: Stepping Stone Installation question


I'm in the Georgia flatlands, hot summer, warm fall and spring, relatively mild winters, snows once every five years or so...We had a couple of big rain storms recently and I had just enough pea gravel to cover the sand, less than a half inch deep, and the pea gravel stayed in place...The main reason i'm trying to get away with 1/2 " or so pea-gravel is the stepping stones are only 3/4 of an inch thick so the more pea-gravel I use the higher the stepping stone needs to be raised and I haven't found an easy way to do that......People have mentioned stacking two pavers on top of each other, or using about an inch of crushed stone under the pavers to raise them.....there is a lot of info on pea-gravel where people are walking on the gravel but none regarding when the pea-gravel is just ornamental. One advantage that a more shallow depth of pea-gravel might have, it seems, is if there are weeds they will be much easier to pull, reach, through a 1/2 inch of pea-stones.....
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Old 08-08-2019, 04:00 PM   #5
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Re: Stepping Stone Installation question


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One advantage that a more shallow depth of pea-gravel might have, it seems, is if there are weeds they will be much easier to pull, reach, through a 1/2 inch of pea-stones.....
A 1/2" of pea is like 3 pebbles high nicely seated within each other. When you pull the weeds, which you will have to, it will pull the dirt into and on the gravel. And without fabric the lower ones will sink and only have a couple to cover the dirt showing through. One advantage of thicker gravel is you then have enough to "kick" it over and move some around to cover any dirt or dirty looking areas. Also, thickness will prevent some of the tiny weeds from popping up. Just food for thought.

But you could always add more gravel and raise the patio blocks later.
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Old 08-08-2019, 04:03 PM   #6
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Re: Stepping Stone Installation question


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A 1/2" of pea is like 3 pebbles high nicely seated within each other. When you pull the weeds, which you will have to, it will pull the dirt into and on the gravel. And without fabric the lower ones will sink and only have a couple to cover the dirt showing through. One advantage of thicker gravel is you then have enough to "kick" it over and move some around to cover any dirt or dirty looking areas. Also, thickness will prevent some of the tiny weeds from popping up. Just food for thought.

But you could always add more gravel and raise the patio blocks later.
They put that heavy fabric under the top gravel of a gravel driveway to combat weeds and it works well.
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Old 08-08-2019, 04:41 PM   #7
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Re: Stepping Stone Installation question


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They put that heavy fabric under the top gravel of a gravel driveway to combat weeds and it works well.
He doesn't mention any use of fabric or agreed to try it after your recommendation. Besides, it would probably just be the woven cheap stuff from the big box and weeds go through it like melted butta.
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Old 08-08-2019, 06:25 PM   #8
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Re: Stepping Stone Installation question


Thanks for all the advise.......i'm leaning towards the shallow stones.....as someone mentioned above, if you lose some in weeding you can top it off with more stones. There is only going to be about 100 sq.' of pebble area....
if it were a much larger area, i'd probably go another route....as the 3/4" thick pavers become popular, i imagine other people are going to run into the same issue.....wish there was a cost effective simple way to raise the stepping stones.....
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Old 08-09-2019, 09:50 AM   #9
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Re: Stepping Stone Installation question


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He doesn't mention any use of fabric or agreed to try it after your recommendation. Besides, it would probably just be the woven cheap stuff from the big box and weeds go through it like melted butta.

What type of fabric works? From what i've read, and i'm new to this, so no first hand experience, a lot of landscapers are recommending not to use fabric, for a variety of reasons, but if there is some fabric that works, it would be worth checking out. I had to move some gravel off the path yesterday that was put there to see what it would look like, and in moving it, it pulled up a bunch of sand and was a mess, it seems that that is likely to happen when weeding as was mentioned...but it also seems, a deeper depth of pebbles wouldn't necessarily solve that problem.....of bringing up sand/dirt as one weeds.
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:53 PM   #10
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Re: Stepping Stone Installation question


Landscapers don't use weed fabric because its a PITA. They get paid to maintain landscape beds using their hands or cultivators/tillers/claws/etc. With fabric many grass and weed roots spread out under and interweave in the fabric making it difficult to pull. Poly is an option with no other plantings, but washout and a thin layer of gravel may not be a good combination. It's really just your preference and habits in maintenance.

The deeper bed doesn't stop all weeds and pulling up dirt, it slows some growth and allows you to move gravel around to cover it with clean gravel, or allows some washing and raking the top layer.

This is all just my experience in seasonal climates. Do as you wish, simple patio blocks and pea gravel can be added to or torn out easily if it's not to your liking.
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Old 08-10-2019, 09:59 AM   #11
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Re: Stepping Stone Installation question


What's "poly"? Is that generally good?
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Old 08-10-2019, 11:46 AM   #12
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Re: Stepping Stone Installation question


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What's "poly"? Is that generally good?
Polyethylene sheeting (plastic)
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Old 08-10-2019, 04:49 PM   #13
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Re: Stepping Stone Installation question


Looked into the poly sheeting, seems the same stuff as is in our crawlspace.
The path is on a slight incline and if I put in a slight lateral incline also, it seems like water pooling shouldn't be a problem, and there isn't going to be any planting in the path.....seems like poly is, in this situation, a better option than the weed fabric.....thanks for suggestion.
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Old 08-10-2019, 05:06 PM   #14
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Re: Stepping Stone Installation question


The fabric that I suggested is not the cheap thin stuff people refer to as weed fabric it is real filter cloth. It allow water thru it instead of a river on the surface that has to be dealt with some where.
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Old 08-10-2019, 05:35 PM   #15
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Re: Stepping Stone Installation question


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Originally Posted by tonesf View Post
seems like poly is, in this situation, a better option than the weed fabric.....thanks for suggestion.
Actually alluded to not using it in post #10. I hate the stuff in landscaping. But, this is a simple install, either:
- thin/thick over dirt
- thin/thick over fabric
- thin/thick over poly

You should just go with one, then after some time passes you will gain an opinion on which way is better, then you can advise others here on your experience
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