Gravel between flagstones

Chapel Hill, NC(Zone 7b)

DH made a wonderful walkway in front of the house with flagstones which he set in very small gravelly stuff (gray).
The problem is that this gravel keeps coming out and is all over the stones and I wish there was a way of gluing it down.

I was thinking that maybe some of you know a solution for this problem. Is there a liquid (maybe cement in water - ratio??), that one could carefully pour on the gravel and it would glue or bake it down? Or is there something else you can think of? I would not like to have to take it all up.

The attached picture does not show the problem, but just part of the path.

I would so much appreciate any ideas you could share.

Thumbnail by Clementine
Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Is it round pea gravel, or does it have sharp edges? If it's got sharp edges, you might try renting a compactor and running that over it, that should compact all the gravel and then it won't come out as easily. If it's pea gravel with round edges though it won't compact. You probably could do cement, but keep in mind that water will run off it then rather than soaking in through it as it can through the gravel. I don't know if that would cause any potential problems for you or not.

Chapel Hill, NC(Zone 7b)

Thanks, ecrane, the gravel has sharp edges. We used a compactor when we built the path originally, then set the flagstones on top of the compacted gravel and filed the cracks with what is coming loose now. We can't run a compactor over the flagstones. DH says eventually the gravel will shift some more, but I guess I am impatient and I don't really like the loose gravel. The path is in its second year.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

When you installed the path, you wiggle the flagstones down and embed them in the compacted gravel layer, or did you just set them on top? If you just set them on top, then there's nothing to keep them from wiggling around a little as people walk on them, and that could be contributing to popping the gravel out from in between the stones. Typically when I've seen instructions for making paths like this, you can do a gravel base, but then on top of the gravel you put down a layer of sand or crushed rock (which is crushed up much finer than the gravel), you compact this layer, then wiggle the flagstones down into it so they're embedded in the compacted sand, then sweep more sand/crushed rock into the cracks and hose it down.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

We have the same problem - loose gravel and weeds popping up. We wanted mortar but the landscaper convinced us to stay with loose gravel - that it would settle over time (but then he doesn't do concrete). After our first big rain, several areas washed most of the gravel out. The landscaper's response was that we should've put mulch outside the patio area to prevent the washout (we won't be using him anymore). My wife wants to rip out a large area of it and have it paved but I'm not ready to do that yet.

(AnjL) Fremont, CA(Zone 9b)

When I did my flagstone walkway, I was planning to put down base rock, and then sand similar to what you have. The salesperson advised us NOT to use sand/pebbles or baserock because it creates a slip joint and because we have ants in our area that love that atmosphere :-) We also have heavy clay soil and a horrible weed problem. We put down wet newspaper and wet cardboard underneath the bricks, then filled the cracks with soil. WE are now planting blue star creeper between the stones and hope these fill in before the weeds come back. I wanted more of a rocky/cement look but the dirt and plant look isnt so bad after all :-) . Maybe there is some type of moss or low growing fast spreading plant that will grow in the existing gravel and help hold it all in place?
Good luck to you :-)

Chapel Hill, NC(Zone 7b)

Interesting that this thread was picked up again.

I think we did our path correctly, like ecrane suggests, wiggling the flag stones into the gravel (the size is 1/8" roughly, maybe some a little bigger), it is called rock dust. The base is clay and this rock dust on top, tamped down with a commercial tamper(???), then flagstone, and filled in with more rock dust. we do get some weeds in it, but also some flowers, LOL, I got a couple of violas and in one spot some snow-in-summer (Cerastium), I also had vincas last year. So that is not so bad, but what I really don't like is that the little pieces keep coming out and I should sweep that stuff back into the cracks or to the sides or even remove it on a regular basis.

I was thinking I could try some creeping thyme, I bet it would grow, but can't find any here now.

I guess we'll just have to live with it, Like Anjl says, maybe it not so bad after all.

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

You might consider sprinkling portland cement over your gravel. Sweep any excess off your flagstone and then mist/spray the gravel/portland mix with water. The portland will set up and form a crust and it will help keep the stuff in place. There are also soil stabilizers that you can spray into the gravel to help keep things in place. or

Oops: Stabilizer Soutions is rebuilding their website but FWIW I've used their products with great success. The soilworks folks looks like they have some sample sizes that would work for you smaller areas. Hope this helps.

This message was edited Mar 4, 2008 8:46 AM

Chapel Hill, NC(Zone 7b)

Thank you so much, j, I will check this out. It sounds like what I may have been looking for.

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