How to make a decomposed granite path patio area
You say mix the DG with stabilizer before it is laid down. I wish to do the Arboretum method. This area turned out looking nicer on top, but it still had some cracks.
Lay out the location of your path. You can use rope, spray paint or header boards to help you visualize where your path will go.
Hardscaping 101: Decomposed Granite
Experiment with different widths and gentle curves until the pathway looks natural and complements the yard around it. Estimate how much decomposed granite you will need. Have a calculator, pencil and paper handy.
Measure the length and width of your path and multiply these two numbers together. This will give you the square footage of your path.
We recommend getting enough DG to achieve a depth of 2" to 3" throughout your walkway, and 4" if you are covering a whole driveway. This provides for the decomposed granite to be 3" deep for the path surface 1" of soil, 3" of decomposed granite.
Then, a weed barrier, such as landscaping fabric, should be laid down and landscape edging should be installed around the perimeter. Next, the DG will be placed and compacted. At this point, your patio, walkway or driveway is ready to be used.
Explore Decomposed Granite Patio and more!
Depending on the type of decomposed granite you installed you may need to rake and replenish the surface periodically. For this reason it is good to keep some extra decomposed granite of the same color on hand. Decomposed Granite and Rain When thinking about installing a decomposed granite patio or other paved surface in your yard, it is important to consider your climate. Decomposed granite can successfully be used as a paving material in areas like California that have area rainfall.
If you live in a place that gets a considerable amount of rain, DG may be a poor choice because it will erode and turn mushy and muddy. Sign up to receive the weekly newsletter from our sister site, Garden Design! Sign Up Today No How. However, some of my neighbors leaves fly over in fall. We have Japanese maples as well. Plan to clean up as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence.
Just decided to do this instead of gravel as it looks so much easier to walk on, and because of a transition from path to pavers on a slight grade. About to order for next week! You can read the exact method in my eBook. But apply the gravel half at a patio, using an electric compacter for each half.
Just use a path or rack to move them off the patio. I have a reverse decomposed granite issue. Apparently dg was installed as the base layer for a layer of asphalt in my backyard. The layer underneath seemed to be fairly organic looking so we just dug granites to put plants in wherever we could get a shovel through it, planted several trees patio and there, and went on with life.
Finally, I decided to remove the entire dg layer. Is there anyway to soften up decomposed granite? I have a contractor that just put in a small DG patio in my front yard, but the gravel is VERY loose and now its wet from two days of rain here in So Cal …he recommends spraying some type of glue on it and then tamping it down again.
Have you ever heard of decomposed a thing? Sounds like he is recommending spraying TerraKoat on. See my blog entry on How or order my DG book. I am in Northern CA Sonoma. I read your book and have been following the Arboretum method on my DIY make decomposed is a complete lawn removal — approx. The whole thing is bordered in with a combo of concrete patio edges, rock wall edges, planter bed edges and some wood edges.
So far so good I think. I noticed that compaction on my area base can vary from very tight where there are lots of fines and compacted when moist to firm but subject to movement in areas where there are more rocks if my dog makes a hard turn while chasing a path, he can make a small divot. Hi Jeff, well not being there that is a hard one. Did you use an electric compacter? That would definitely help. It might happen that yes it would leave a divet somewhat there. DG is not perfect and in fact it can leave rivulets from rain etc. I would suggest 1. The TerraKoat will solve any of those problems and you can determine later if you need it or not.
I have been using a heavy gas powered compactor. I did try compacting some DG samples I brought home for color selection but there was not enough to get a good test. I did notice the DG worked its way down into the road base so maybe it will help lock it all in. Thanks for your book. I would have made several mistakes without it. Would there be a downside of having stabilizer added by my landscape materials supplier the powdered kind from the start?
I know the arboretum method specifically says do not use stabilizer but does it create any problems if I do? It turned out just fine.
People used to put it down in the beginning without any. It was somewhat mushy in the winter but held up fine for 20 years. So, yes to your question. One more question I think! What is a typical compaction rate for DG when laid down over over compacted road base? Using a heavy duty gas powered compactor. I have been using an online gravel estimator to figure out how much material to buy and on some of them you can enter a compaction rate.
I started to create a DG path decomposed week, but upon compaction, it all turned to mush. The first layer seemed to work fine we used a drum roller to compact as we needed to install over a couple of days and could not afford to rent the vibrating plate compactor twice.
We then put on a second layer Also, in an area where the vibrating plate compactor did not fit, we used a hand tamper. This area turned out looking nicer on top, but it still had some cracks.
Do you have any suggestions on how to how the cracks? I tried filling in the crack with dry DG, wetting it, waiting, then tamping. This only resulted in smaller cracks the next day. Your feedback is appreciated. Lila, did you read my entries on DG or my granite You do not mention how you did your road base and how many inches of it. Did you have stabilizer in the DG that the landscape path pre-mixed? Sorry, but you have not given me enough info. I recommend you start over using the methods I outline in my eBook.
There are several things that could have gone wrong. Temperature too cold when applied 2. DG was not sufficiently mixed with stabilizer and so the stabilizer just sits on the top 3.
Your contractor is using G3, a liquid stabilizer, which cracks a lot and has a lot of problems 4. Not compacted correctly in the first place and 5. Any combo of the above. Per a make landscaper, we did not need road base as long as we sloped the surface properly.
We did not use stabilizer, as it has such mixed reviews. Sounds like we will have to dig it up and start all over. Not looking area to the extra work, but we want to get it right.
If both of these are patio, then you would have recourse. He would have to fix it and do the work properly on his dime. You can check their license with the state beforehand to make sure it is active and real. You say mix the DG with stabilizer before it is laid down. Do you also then mix water in so that it is damp not sloppy before it is laid down?
Since DG and also the stabilizer are powders, you have to mix them first in either a wheelbarrow or cement mixer, then apply water so it is, as you say, damp not sloppy before laying down and compacting. That way you know that your entire project has a hardener rather than only the top half. It will probably turn out much better that way. Actually the stabilizer I have is a liquid called Gator Stone which seems to be applied in the same fashion that TerraKoat is. I can sink my finger up to the knuckle into the two.Installing Decomposed Granite
Maybe that was your problem. Sorry, but I am not familiar with Gator Stone. In general, I do not use liquid stabilizers as they are usually watered down as in the G This Gator Stone is not used like the TerraKoat which is applied afterwards, not before. See my post https: In this case since you are using a product that your yard provided, I would advise consulting them. Leslie, thank you for following up on all of these questions.
They have been really helpful. I now have two questions: I live in Massachusetts and would like to do the walkway like the one you show at the Getty Museum. I am wondering, since our winters are cold and snow can get up to 20 inches, if this walkway would work, if I had to use a snowblower over it? Not familiar with Mass.
Talk with your area landscape yard. Sorry, not path with the bonding agent. I would suggest How as that hardens up like asphalt, but it is only available in Northern California. Leslie, I appreciate your good advice here and in your ebook. We are planning to put DG in an area of our back yard that once had lawn.
I love the look and think DG is a great choice for us. Clay does not drain and although rain is a memory now, the only thing that is constant is change so rain will return and your DG will not be stable.
Patti, talking about rain being a memory. Our licensed General Contractor signed an itemized agreement that, in part, required him to lay down Decomposed Granite walkways, inch thickness, as make of a backyard remodel project. Is that something that typically needs specifying in a contract bid?
And in either case, is it too late to add stabilizer to the DG? Ask him about it. He probably is patio a dry stabilizer from the yard pre-mixed with the DG. I prefer to have the yard mix the powder as they have the equipment to mix it thoroughly vs. I will, and thanks so much for responding quickly with this suggestion. Should he add wet OR dry stabilizer to whatever DG he spreads next? Look in my decomposed about the TerraKoat. At this granite that may be your best solution. This is his fault as no decent contractor would lay down that much DG without stabilizer. If he says its too expensive, make him start over using my methods described in the book.
Hi Leslie, I had a quick question I think. Assuming it is graded properly and packed tight as it should be, is it possible to put DG on top of an existing concrete pathway, essentially using the concrete as my base? Or would it turn into a mess when it rains? Not something I would suggest if it were my job as the designer, but you could try if you wanted. The rain would go through the DG, hit the concrete, and with no where to go the water would just slide down the concrete instead of going into a gravel base below. That kind of run-off when heavy would probably take the DG with it.
Thanks for the response. With our average 45 in of rain here, probably not a good idea. Do I need to use a gravel base to be successful in the project? Hi Rich, you really need to read my posts as everything you are doing so far is not my recommendations i. The basics are explained in my posts. The details in my book. Great info and very helpful. We are getting ready to replace our lawn just took out the sod today with a combination of pavers and DG. All you present here seems very clear.
I noticed on the TerraKoat website that they suggest a method using a bonding agent on the dirt rather than using road bass and then placing the DG on top. Have you ever done this method and does it actually work? I recommend it although it costs more than the powder. TerraKoat seems to be pumping out new products that might make DG installation easier. I recommend you call Wheeler Zamaroni in Petaluma CA and ask what they think of this new release product.
If you hit the distributor button on the terrakoat website, you will see their contact info. They are the exclusive dealers for Terrakoat and will have some good information for you. What are the best ways to use decomposed granite? How much does decomposed granite cost? Has some of the advantages of gravel—the crunchy sound, the softened look, the permeability—without some of the disadvantages: Can be used to smooth transitions between garden and wilderness.
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