I am installing a rock paver walkway in my backyard. It won't be walked on frequently except by my dog. Approximate dimensions will be 9 x 4 feet. A base of about 4 inches of sand will be needed based on the size of the rocks I'm using.

Do I need a crushed rock base under the sand? I'm trying to do this as inexpensively as I can, because I'm only renting the house. I live in South East Pennsylvania if it matters.

2 Answers 2


Do you need? No. You could technically lay them down on grass and they'd probably be OK for a short period of time. But the next person who rents the house will be annoyed, and so might the landlord when the pavers settle.

A 30kg of gravel is about $5 at my local HD - so how much money are you really saving here? And lets say you save $50 - if they settle while you are still living there, it will cost you more than $50 to fix after-the-fact.

Do it right the first time.

  • Makes sense, I will throw some rock under the sand.
    – Ryan
    Apr 18, 2013 at 3:16

The main reason for using gravel is to allow drainage, which prevents frost from heaving your pavers. Just replace 3 of the 4 inches of sand with gravel (crushed, with fines).

A hand tamper or even a chunk of 4x4 with handles (should be about chest height) will allow you to tamp and compact the gravel.

  • The problem I will have with replacing some of the sand with gravel is that the pavers I'm using are actually just rocks with a flat side. Some are 4 inches thick, some are 2 inches thick, some are 2 inches on one side and 4 on the other. The 4 inches of sand will, hopefully, allow me to make them all level and even (height wise). I appreciate that help.
    – Ryan
    Apr 18, 2013 at 3:19
  • Ahh, late breaking info :'(. The problem with that much sand is washout. Do you have slag sand in your area? It molds like sand, but will pack like (a bit) gravel. Sharp builders sand is another option.
    – HerrBag
    Apr 18, 2013 at 11:51
  • I'm not sure about slag sand, but will look into it. Thanks
    – Ryan
    Apr 19, 2013 at 3:18

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