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Gravel Pathway over French Drain...Help Needed!

Posted by ahirasaki 10 (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 24, 14 at 13:22

We're a year into this project, and SICK of it, and looking for advice to finish it up.

We have drainage problems, so we put in a French drain system along the back of the house, going around the side to the front, and emptying water out at the street level.

The trench we dug is about 2' deep. It's about 18" wide at the base, which is filled with 3/4" drain rock. The perf pipe is at the bottom, and there's a solid pipe above it that takes the downspout water out to the street as well.

The surface of the trench is 3' wide, and is a pathway, with 3/8" aluminum edging.

We took the 3/4" clean rock up to about 4" from the top of the aluminum edging.

Plate compacted the whole thing repeatedly.

We then put down a layer of weed barrier (the thin stuff, not the heavy black) and topped it off with about 3" of 1/4" gray "roof" rock (sharp edged, not smooth) and compacted this out too.

Didn't stay.

Walking on the path is like walking on the beach. We're sloshing around in it, and gravel is in the house, in the yard, and spilling over the sides into the surrounding planter areas. It's a huge mess, and we're sick of it.

We're looking into a few options, and desperately need your expertise.

First, did we totally mess up by putting the fabric between the 3/4" and the 1/4" rocks? It seemed logical so that the two wouldn't mix up. We didn't want 3/4" rocks making their way to the surface, and the whole thing getting all mixed up and making a huge mess, we're wondering if by preventing them from being on top of each other we've taken away from the potential stability of the whole thing. UGH!

If that's not our problem, then moving forward, we're looking at the following:

1) We found this honeycomb material from Core6. It looks like a decent option if we remove the 1/4" layer, put down that stuff on top of the 3/4", then fill it back up with the 1/4" rock, with just enough to cover the grid pattern. But even with this, we're concerned that the dog, the kids, and the garden hose are going to make a mess of the loose gravel, and it's STILL going to go everywhere. The walking in sand part will be fixed, but the rest will still be annoying as hell.

2) Can we use decomposed granite with the honeycomb material instead? We know we couldn't use it on top of the drain rock as is because we don't want all the dirt filtering down to the base of the drain and clogging up the works, but is the honeycomb material solid enough to keep the particulates up on the path while still allowing water to make it down to the pipes?

3) Has anyone had luck with the stuff like Gravel-Lok or any similar product (all recommendations welcome!) that bonds the gravel together while still - supposedly - allowing water to penetrate? If we could "glue" all the rocks together then we wouldn't have to deal with the loose gravel issues. Has anyone done this in conjunction with the honeycomb material, or could we do it just on top of the 3/4"?

We don't have a TON of money to do this, but we know we need to do it right, so any and all advice is welcome and more than appreciated.

We're getting desperate. :/

Thanks all!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Gravel Pathway over French Drain...Help Needed!

Gravel-lok works well. The challenge is that if it's like the other epoxy binders it will foam if there's too much moisture in the rock, and that foam "freezes" in place. It's crazy ugly.

The clear Gravel-Lok that won't really change the color of your gravel is pretty pricey. The one that's amber/brown in color is less costly, and there's another vendor called Klingstone Path that makes a competing product. But you have to be ok with the way it'll change the color of your stone.

And yes, it allows water to drain through. Have you seen a sample? Think rice krispie treats made with gravel.

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