Thicker Sub-base to prevent GA clay tint gravels???

chueh(7B)June 10, 2012

I posted the same thread a while ago, but I did not catch any flood to take a picture of. Here is the picture I took this morning. It did not rain whole lot to make the mud coming to the top. The standing water you see in the picture is actually not bad, compared to the mess after heavy rainfalls.

I have had a lose gravel for some of my yard. I did not read a how-to but just went ahead doing a lousy job. What I lack now is the "compact sub-base." I guess it is why all of my gravel is TINTED with Georgia clay color (gravel with terra cotta tint:very ugly, mind you). Because GA clay is so dense, it does not drain quick enough. I have had puddles of terra cotta rain water floating on the gravel each time when there is a heavy rainfall.

So,, then I read the how-to and posted a question before here. I have gotten all great info about how to do it. My question now is: would THICKER compact sub-base prevent the problem of tinted rain water floating on the gravel?


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Thicker Sub-base and PLANT some rosemary or other shrubs densely to prevent GA clay tint gravels.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 4:50AM
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Sorry, don't have an answer for you. Perhaps you should ask on Georgia Gardener.......plenty of experience with red clay, for sure.

Rosie, Sugar Hill, GA

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 11:14AM
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Hon (as we say here in Maryland), that muddy red water is a drainage problem, not purely an asthetic problem.

If the water doesn't stand there, it will stand someplace else unless you fix the drainage problem. You don't just need a thicker sub-base, you need to make it drain under the gravel. Have you looked at french drains or rain gardens or something of that sort?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 2:11PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I agree that the solution to heavy clay soils that don't drain quickly enough to avoid temporary ponding will require providing drainage swales to take it away. It is unlikely to resolve the standing water issue by simply adding more depth of sub-base gravel unless the subgrade has sufficient slope to drain that surface water away more quickly. In the meantime, it is more an annoying issue of aesthetics than a true problem that threatens structures or drowns your plantings. You may need to adjust to having low lying spots of your gravel turn the color of your clay, unless you can fix the drainage.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 6:00PM
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Thank you all. I cannot agree with you more; it's more than an aesthetic problem. Unless the drainage problem is taken care of, the water is going no where. Will look into French drains.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 11:52PM
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You don't convey how extensive the problem is. If it's one small place (as in the picture) or just a few, it'd be better to fix the individual area(s) by rebuilding the base to eliminate the depression, if possible. I don't think french drains is a good solution to your problem as installing good, well-functioning ones might be more work than fixing existing depressions. French drains can fail, too. In general, it's better to solve drainage problems at grade than it is to use underground systems... if at all possible.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 10:50AM
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