Landscape Design forum: Do I need to insert a Hardcore base before laying gravel down?

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MC1234
Jul 1, 2020 10:24 AM CST
Hi,

I dont have a clue about gardening so might seem a rookie question. I'm having gravel inserted in the garden. One person has quoted me saying I need hardcore put down first but another has said a membrane will do the job fine. The gravel will be rarely walked on, if at all!

Thanks for your help
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Jul 6, 2020 12:30 PM CST
Is this for a path?

MC1234
Jul 8, 2020 1:37 AM CST
Hi,

Nope, decorative area that will very rarely be walked on
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Jul 8, 2020 6:54 AM CST
Welcome to the site!

Do you plan on planting in the gravel mulch?
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Jul 8, 2020 7:48 AM CST
How deep , how coarse.

Gravel /ˈɡrævəl/ is a loose aggregation of rock fragments. Gravel is classified by particle size range and includes size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. In the Udden-Wentworth scale gravel is categorized into granular gravel (2 to 4 mm or 0.079 to 0.157 in) and pebble gravel (4 to 64 mm or 0.2 to 2.5 in). ISO 14688 grades gravels as fine, medium, and coarse with ranges 2 mm to 6.3 mm to 20 mm to 63 mm.

Why, would you put this in a garden?
With out a hard base if you ever walk on it, it will sink into the dirt.
I put crushed grante in an area with very little foot traffic some years back and now it is a dirt patch that has a little crushed granite showing.

[Last edited by RpR - Jul 8, 2020 10:01 AM (+)]
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Missouri (Zone 6a)
Frillylily
Jul 8, 2020 10:15 AM CST
I would not do a base, because 1 it won't be walked on as a path, 2 if you put down a quality liner first it should be possible to take it back up later in the future if you want to get rid of it for some reason. W a base under it that will be VERY difficult. For just a decorative area, spread a liner, then a thin layer of rock to cover it. That's all you need. I have an area I am doing this too.
Name: GERALD
Lockhart, Texas (Zone 8b)
Hydroponics Greenhouse Region: Texas
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IntheHotofTexas
Aug 5, 2020 9:35 PM CST
Gravel is just the devil to get back out, and it can be a continual pain, because although you have a liner, seed will take in it, and you can have an ongoing grass and week problem. I think I'd rather have a path of a natural mulch that cold one day be turned under with the soil if I changed my mind.

You can line the path with cardboard as a stop for weeds and lay mulch on top of that. The cardboard will eventually become soil. If I wanted a permanent path, I'd put down pavers or stone over leveling sand and fill spaces between the stones with concrete.
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Frillylily
Aug 7, 2020 1:25 PM CST
The problem here with 'natural' mulch, is my area is sloped a little and when we get heavy rains it all washes out. I have used wood mulches and they just rot in a few years and then you end up with a muddy nasty mess that also washes out. I have gave up on it, and decided to go with gravel. But mine will be walked on a pathway, not just a decorative filler as the OP is wanting.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Aug 7, 2020 5:06 PM CST
Frillylily said:The problem here with 'natural' mulch, is my area is sloped a little and when we get heavy rains it all washes out. I have used wood mulches and they just rot in a few years and then you end up with a muddy nasty mess that also washes out. I have gave up on it, and decided to go with gravel. But mine will be walked on a pathway, not just a decorative filler as the OP is wanting.
If you can afford it avoid "gravel" as the term is most used; get crushed rock class 2 or larger.

Gravel, as found in a gravel pit is is rounded water washed rock and moves easily , often where you do not want it, even by simply walking.
Crushed granite, which is best, is angular with sharp edges that keep it in place.
If you compact it in place it will stay in place.

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