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I would like to know how to lay gravel over a section of grass in my back yard which is currently a boggy mess.

Is it a case of putting down a layer of hardcore mix followed by weedblock and then layer of gravel.

Should I put a soak area (Small french drain) in also or will the hardcore base be enough long term.

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Without more information my advice would to definitely install drainage. If you have nowhere to drain TO, you can easily create a 'dry well', a pit lined with LS fabric, filled with drain rock, covered with fabric and then covered with gravel, more drain rock or cobble...the trench would be landscape fabric, perforated pipe wrapped in landscape fabric then backfill the trench with drain rock, then landscape fabric, then soil or mulch or sod. Keep the soil thick enough to support your sod so it doesn't dry out faster than the rest of your grass.

Get rid of some of your mucky soil to allow a bed of 4" of crushed gravel. Install 2X4 edging with stakes, line the bottom with landscape fabric then install your 4" crushed gravel (3/8 minus if you can find this smaller size rather than 5/8 minus). For a professional touch, rent a compactor and compact your gravel.

  • If you contact a road building contractor or maybe a driveway contractor ask for geotextile fabric. That goes over the scraped dirt and under your first layer of rock. It won't block weeds but helps stabilize the 4" rock and gives strength to the upper layers. – Dano0430 May 17 '17 at 18:16
  • @Dano0430 For this use geotextile fabric is a bit overkill. That is meant for rip rap and to be driven over. Landscape fabric was made for using gravel in the landscape for the same purpose but lighter traffic. Was NEVER meant for 'weed block'. Weeds don't germinate or grow from roots that deep (well Chinese Knotweed might and blackberries). This stuff makes sure that when weight is applied the larger gravel doesn't go down allowing the fines or soil to come up, losing your gravel. 4" rock (rip rap never river rock or drain rock) is for roads not residential landscape uses. – stormy May 17 '17 at 18:26
  • ...what gives strength to the road bed are the fines and compaction. Fabric is just so one doesn't have to replace their gravel. – stormy May 17 '17 at 18:28
  • sorry but that is not true. Fabric does add significant structural value to the road and spread deflection. – Dano0430 May 17 '17 at 18:33
  • I won't argue the amount of value for structure. When I 'taught' road building for grading and drainage there weren't tests done for 'structure' and spreading the weight because of the fabric. What I do know is one has to use broken rock; 8 inches of rip rap over the geotextile and another 6" 1 1/2 inch gravel with fines that works down into the rip rap. Then major compaction. I can see that that fabric would add some structural benefit however. Wish they'd add this fabric more to roads. That step is usually skipped. Thanks for the clarification, Dano. How did you learn this stuff? – stormy May 17 '17 at 18:42

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