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I have a small space in front of my townhouse that I would like to put a paver patio.. There is a great tree that I would like to keep there. I would like to fill the whole area with pavers, but dont know if i need to keep a certain distance from the tree, or if there will be enough water and oxygen getting through the base rock and leveling sand. Can I still do this project without killing the tree? enter image description here

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The base rock and leveling sand should not be a problem. The photo below shows crape myrtles (which is what I believe is pictured in your photo) planted in a compacted bed of small crushed gravel and natural fines (rough sand) soon after planting.

Crape Myrtles in compacted base

These trees have been in place for almost 4 years now, and they are thriving.

With a structural base like that in place, compaction should not be an issue. However if too much of the surface area is covered with slabs of stone, oxygen exchange and water infiltration could be an issue. Leaving open spaces (un grouted) between the stones will reduce the negative effects of cutting off so much soil surface from the elements, but it will still be important to leave some space around the tree as shown below to provide contact with the atmosphere and leave room for growth.

Patio planting

enter image description here

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    There is a big difference between planting a tree in a bed where it grows into the rooting area and changing an existing planting. Making changes to the area where an established tree can absorb oxygen from is difficult if not fatal in many cases. – kevinsky Aug 24 '16 at 13:39
  • This is a very good point. – That Idiot Aug 24 '16 at 13:50
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    since my original posting, we have decided to just go out from the house a few feet with the pavers, and leave the entire rest of the area open for the tree and just mulch it. I will post pics when we complete later this year.. thanks for the help! – scott.schaffer Aug 26 '16 at 12:28

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