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My back yard has a lot of 3/4" crushed gravel that was backfilled around my basement foundation. This is intended to keep the clay soil from heaving the foundation up during the rains, and it lets the rain water drain safely down into the foundation drainage system. And so I'm not going to plant anything over it.

As far as the landscaping is concerned, I would like to use something that looks more like a pathway than a driveway. So I'd like to spread pea gravel over the crush rock, and I'm wondering if I can just do that, or if I need to use landscape fabric to keep the pea gravel from mixing in and falling through the voids in the crush rock.

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    Pea gravel is terrible for walking on. This area isn't going to be walked on like a pathway?
    – popham
    Mar 19 at 19:50
  • @popham also, it tends to get everywhere—good luck keeping it in the path!
    – Huesmann
    Mar 20 at 14:04
  • I'm not sure why you would say pea gravel is terrible to walk on. It is the most recommended type of gravel for landscaping garden pathways. I will definitely use the pea gravel, because it looks better and feels better underfoot. I just don't know if I need to use a weed barrier between the 3/4" crush rock and the pea gravel. I'm hoping to hear from some experienced landscapers. Mar 20 at 23:04

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Clean 1/4" crushed rock ("clean" meaning "with the fine particles screened away") is commonly used as the bedding layer over clean 3/4" gravel when installing pavers, and that's without a layer of geotextile between the two layers. See the permeable base and bedding options at Unilock, for instance.

You're worried about the voids, so I assume that your gravel is clean 3/4" (this stuff is also called "open graded 3/4 gravel" or "poorly graded 3/4 gravel"). Since clean 1/4" crushed rock is suitable without any landscape fabric, then similarly sized pea gravel should work nicely without any landscape fabric. If you're going to be deeply offended by a single 3/4" rock that has been kicked to the surface of your pea gravel, then maybe the landscape fabric is a good idea, though.

If there's any walking on this surface, then I would use something with angular faces like clean 1/4" crushed rock. The angular faces interlock so that the stuff doesn't squirt out from under your feet. Pavers can look nice surrounded with decorative rock, so that's an option for carving a few walking paths through the pea gravel.

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  • Yes, I would consider pavers, particularly a permeable type, since drainage considerations are important here.
    – Huesmann
    Mar 20 at 14:05

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