Stepping Stone Installation on Pebbles question

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Old 08-06-19, 08:42 AM
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Stepping Stone Installation on Pebbles question

I am planning to use 24" square and 3/4" thick stepping stones on our renovated 64' x 36" path. The path is bounded by the original brick border which was left in place. The path had a concrete surface for over 60 years that was taken out leaving about three to four inches of mainly sand with some crushed aggregate and firmly compacted native Georgia clay beneath that.

I'm planning to use pea-pebbles. I want to use a two inch depth of the pea-pebbles around the stones. Should I just put 1 1/4" of the pebbles under the stone, place the stepping stones on top of the pebbles, and add the final 3/4" to make the stones flush, or is it better to place the stones on the sand and figure some other way to elevate the sand under the stones the 1 1/4" needed so the stones end up flush with the pebbles?

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Old 08-06-19, 08:51 AM
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Not sure there is a right way to do this but I would think about the pea pebbles, it's not usually used for landscape.

That stuff is pretty small and light and will easily blow away if hit by blower, I'd consider something larger to keep it in place!
 
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Old 08-06-19, 09:06 AM
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Thanks, hadn't thought of that issue.....
 
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Old 08-06-19, 10:09 AM
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Do NOT put pea gravel underneath your stepping stones. Put the stepper stones on the compacted base material. Then you can fill around the stepping stones with pea gravel.
 
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Old 08-06-19, 10:32 AM
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I'm not much of a fan of pea stone in walkways either. I don't think they can help but get into the yard, and of course on the stones, where they might make it feel like walking on bb's. And it definitely wouldn't survive a Michigan winter well at all, which may make my opinion a bit biased. But it does sound nice, aesthetically speaking, would seem to blend into the environment well, and I don't have any better ideas, so certainly not trying to discourage it. If I were to do it, I would probably be thinking two lifts of pea stone. The first lift I would bring the stone up to roughly 1/2" below the edge. Then cut a board maybe a foot longer than the outside width of the edge, another board 3-4" narrower than the inside of the edge, nailed to the first board with one edge extending 3/4" below the first board, and a handle on it. I could pull that tool along the path, working it side to side as I went to fill and level the pea stone. Once I was satisfied with that, maybe having to add or remove some stone in a few spots and swiping it again, I would set the stepping stones. When the stepping stones were in place I would place the second lift of pea stone and level it off with a stiff push broom. May or may not work, but that's how I would be looking at it.
 
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Old 08-06-19, 11:01 AM
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It looks like one person is saying to put the pavers on the pea gravel and one person is saying not to. I'm guessing the reason not to is due to the paver shifting on the pea gravel......or is there some other reason? What about larger stones, is it any better to put the pavers directly on 3/4" stones, or should the pavers only be put on the sand? If I put the pavers on the sand, and use the smaller pea-gravel, would 1/2" of the pea-gravel be enough material between the stones? There is only going to be about 5" between each stone, and 6" between each side of the stepping stone and the the brick borders - stones are 24" square, and there is 36" between the two sides of the brick border. The pavers are only 3/4" thick, so a half inch of the pea-gravel will leave a 1/4" lip.
 
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Old 08-06-19, 11:40 AM
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It looks like one person is saying to put the pavers on the pea gravel and one person is saying not to
Just to clarify, I was not promoting setting the pavers on pea stone, just saying how I would probably go about achieving what you described. I did wonder how well the pea stone would support them, and knew for certain it wouldn't work at all with out freeze/thaw cycles, but there are a lot of things done different ways around the country, and this for example is not something that we see in the north, or at least not often. But PD did emphasize his "NOT" so seems likely he has either seen this done or at least has more knowledge of so I would listen to that. Didn't mean to contradict but his post did not show up when I typed mine.
 
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Old 08-06-19, 12:16 PM
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Understood. To get a flat stable surface it seems the sand is essential. I'm using a 3/4" thick paver which leaves little room, maybe a 1/2" for the pebbles, which might mean the sand may become visible through the pebbles....Guess i'll have to buy some pebbles and see if 1/2" will be deep enough to cover the sand and not roll onto the paver.
 
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Old 08-06-19, 05:15 PM
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sand is essential.
I would not use sand, you cant compact sand and it will just flow out.

If your going to build up the area use some crushed stone and pack it down, its a better material for a non supported base!
 
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Old 08-06-19, 05:53 PM
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My understanding is that sand can be helpful when setting a large number of pavers to help level them with each other. For your purpose I would also recommend against sand as it will just wash away.

The sand is applied over the scree aggregate (crushed stone) because the sand is easier to work with to ensure multiple pavers that butt against each other are completely level. Like Marq1 said, the sand will wash away easily, so if you use sand, you need to ensure a lip such as aluminum or plastic edging around the outside to keep it from running away.

I would approach your project by putting down landscape fabric, putting down 3 inches of scree aggregate and compact that, laying the stepping stones, and then filling in around them with whatever sized stones you decide on.
 

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Old 08-06-19, 08:50 PM
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When you say the path would need a lip of aluminum or plastic, do you mean at the edges of the path? Would the bricks that are there act as the lip? We had a big storm a couple of days ago and the sand didn't move. Whoever built the path 60 years ago used what looks like pretty pure sand for about a third of the path and the other third they used what looks like a mixture of crushed granite
or some other stone, which is almost black, mixed with some sand....the path only had 1" of concrete but held up for sixty years....if it wasn't for the too thin slate tiles poping up from the concrete it may have lasted another 60 years, the concrete itself was actually in good condition.

The stepping stones i'm hoping to use are only 3/4 of an inch thick, so my main worry was that that wouldn't be thick enough for the pea-gravel..but I put some pea-gravel around part of one of the stones today and it seems that even less than an inch of pea-gravel hides the sand.....i'm wondering if there are any other issues related to using that amount of pea-gravel.
 
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Old 08-06-19, 09:26 PM
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When you say build up "the area" are you referring to the area just under the stone to raise it to get more height allowing for more pea-gravel to be placed around it? I can put the crushed stone, an inch or so, under the stepping stone and it will hold up, with no lateral support except the pea-gravel? I hope that's what you meant, as that would solve the issue.
 
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Old 08-07-19, 02:00 AM
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I hope that's what you meant, as that would solve the issue.
That is what he is saying, and as mentioned, look to see if they have small river rock vs the pea gravel!
 
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Old 08-07-19, 08:25 AM
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I did a little graphic to make sure i'm understanding what you're suggesting.....is it accurate? What size crushed stone should be used? Is it basically the powdered stuff?
Is "crushed run" what should be used under the stepping stone, it says it binds together?
 
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Old 08-07-19, 08:30 AM
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In general that is what is being suggested, crushed stone has a lot of variation by region, just something with sharp edges that when packed tends to lock down.

No idea how expensive the steps are but certainly could stack two of them or even find some cheap alternative to eliminate having to deal with the crushed stone all together!
 
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Old 08-07-19, 09:41 AM
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Would like to avoid the extra expense of stacking as they are pretty expensive and i'm using 28 or them.... But, it sounds like the crushed stone should work.....at least no one has stepped in to argue it won't...yet. It seems the layer of sand under the proposed crushed stone shouldn't be a problem.(or should I remove it and replace with crushed stone?)...it doesn't seem to be pure sand, it's got some other stuff mixed in, maybe crushed stone, and about half of the path looks like it's primaraly crushed stone like you're describing...a lot of jagged edged very small (some powder)
material....a lot darker color than the primarily sand mixture - i'd guess 70% sand and 30% something else.
 
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Old 08-09-19, 09:29 AM
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Went to a local quarry and they recommended crushed granite that is like sand...it has the consistency of sand, and is black....will this work, or should the crushed stone have larger pieces? I explained to them what I was doing, the jagged edges, etc....and that is what they came up with.
 
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