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Can we salvage this walkway?

Posted by kaisermust Upstate NY ( on
Sat, Apr 13, 13 at 13:46

We tried to lay flagstones on a backyard walkway but they keep sliding around. To be truthful, I bought the wrong materials--they were actually flat retaining wall rocks which I really liked the look of, and especially liked the price. The total walkway is approx. 3 feet wide by 30 feet long. We excavated a winding pathway about 4 inches down, laid truckloads of pea gravel by hand the entire length and then nestled the stones in like flagstones. It took us hours, mixing and fitting the stones to the path, tapping them down with a rubber mallet. It really looked good when we got finished with it. But then as time wore on the stones settled as we and the dog walked on them and the stones slipped around. We live in the northeast so we have ice and snow in the winter but the backyard pathway doesn't get much use in the winter. So without calling the $550 in materials a complete loss, is there any way we can make a usable, stable pathway??? Take all pea gravel out and set the stones in concrete? Or sell the stones on craigslist and start over and get pavers?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Can we salvage this walkway?

sounds like the pea gravel is your problem. Setting stones on pea gravel is like setting stones on ball bearings. If you like the look of the stone steppers and that aspect is working for you, I'd recommend removing the pea gravel and replacing it with a #8 (3/8") chip gravel. You want a gravel that's very angular so it all locks together.

To go the concrete route, especially where you are it's not setting "in" concrete as much as it's setting ON concrete. You'd pour a minimum 4" slab and mortar the stones to the slab, then mortar and point up the joints. If I'm envisioning your stone correctly I imagine it varies a lot in thickness, which would make laying on a slab very tedious.

RE: Can we salvage this walkway?

ditto what marcinde said. Every part of the country seems to have slight variation in what is available for walkway material that packs, so explore options where you live. I'd also suggest an aggregate where the largest pieces are 3/8," but that includes sand and dust sizes so it packs tight.

RE: Can we salvage this walkway?

I think it's six of one, half dozen of another whether you use 3/8" clean stone or the 3/8" minus that Yard mentioned. If I was doing a totally clean install with an appropriately thick (4-6") base, I'd absolutely use a 3/8" or 3/4" minus for awesome compaction, and then a bedding layer of clean 3/8" stone.

Reading your description, though, I'd wager you have some spots where you have, at best, an inch of stone under your steppers. At that point you have no base, just a bedding layer. Depending on which is cheaper, go with the cheaper ANGULAR aggregate stone.

RE: Can we salvage this walkway?

just in case I wasn't clear, what I'm saying is either solution (mine or Yard's) is wholly appropriate. Don't want anyone thinking otherwise.

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