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I want to build a simple path from my driveway to my back yard using individual 24" x 24" pavers. They weigh close to 100lbs each. There is a slight slope, just under 1 inch for each paver. I plan to level a pad for each paver 30" x 30" and each pad will be about 1" higher then the one below. it.

How much gravel do I need as a base for each paver?

My original thought was I would compact the ground below, add an inch of compacted gravel base, and a half inch of sand. At most 1 persons weight on each at a time.

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    That depends entirely on what's underneath the gravel.
    – isherwood
    May 27 at 18:11
  • Mostly a very firm soil. Walking on it makes if compacted.
    – Sting
    May 27 at 18:17
  • That's not a very good description. Soil type and drainage are important details. Please add them to your question.
    – isherwood
    May 28 at 12:38
  • The pavers would average about 6" horizontal separation from one to the next, about 1" elevation change across that 6" gap, and another 1" elevation change across the 24" length of each paver. Then 10 pavers would cover a run of 24.5 feet with elevation change of about 20 inches. Do I understand correctly?
    – Greg Hill
    May 28 at 16:01
  • On a different note: the 1 inch steps form a tripping hazard and might be disallowed by your building code. This could have legal ramifications if there is an accident. Did you consider sloping all of it, in stead of stepping? The 6in sloped gravel in between makes this perhaps a grey area and it might make it ok.
    – P2000
    May 28 at 18:17
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A carefully planned and placed base course is very important for a patio or a continuous walkway so that individual pavers will not heave or settle over time during winter freeze and thaws or when underlying soil becomes saturated with water and turns into a muddy fluid.

Your project is not a continuous patio or walkway, though. Each paver will be well separated from its neighbors and there's a change of elevation at each one too. The generous spacing will make it difficult to even notice if one paver shifts, rotates, or tilts a little bit relative to another. In fact, I question whether loose pavers sitting on gravel and sand may actually be more prone to movement than they would be when sitting directly on and surrounded by soil. Think of the lateral forces involved if a person jogs or pushes/pulls a wheelbarrow or other cart along the path.

My personal opinion is that a base course of gravel and sand is unnecessary for this project. I'd compact and screed the soil so that there's a firm, flat surface (whether level or inclined) and lay the paver right onto it.

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  • I live in Seattle area and am more concerned with drainage then I am from bucking from cold weather. I plan to amend the soil between the pavers to aid in drainage, will adding a layer of gravel below the amended soil aid in drainage. The soil on both sides of the pathway will also be amended for drainage so water can find a path to the low area of the landscape.
    – Sting
    May 31 at 14:45

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