Can I Use Gravel As a Paver Base 2023

If you’re considering laying a new patio, this article will help you get solid, leveled foundation for your pavers.

Gravel may be used as a paver base since it serves the same purpose as a paver base.

While gravel is coarser and binds more firmly than paver base, they are both utilized to build a thick covering over your landscape fabric, which is then covered with sand you lay the pavers on.

Is Paver Base The Same as Gravel?

In conclusion, yes it is. Paver base, on the other hand, isn’t the same kind of beautiful gravel you use on your driveway or in your garden.

It’s a more coarse aggregate that’s generally manufactured from local rock (coarse gravel comes from whatever rock is most readily accessible).

It’s also known as road-bed gravel, or sometimes crusher rock. Your supplier may refer to it as “¾ minus gravel,” because the biggest pieces are usually 1.5 inches (in inches), but you can also buy bigger 1½ inch gravel.

This rough-looking stone, on the other hand, will be less expensive than decorative gravel. However, its unfinished nature is perhaps its greatest selling point.

Those jagged edges and unpredictable forms cling together to form a sturdy foundation (smooth gravel won’t stick together).

Alternatively, you may choose to buy recycled gravel, which is both cost-effective and environmentally responsible. Builders’ sand is another option for paver base gravel.

Some home contractors claim that pavers don’t need to be set on gravel, and that laying them straight onto the ground is sufficient for simple tasks.

This seems like a high-risk strategy to us: how can you be sure the earth will remain solid and level?

Before laying the slabs, you should use a gravel paver base. You may be risking destabilizing your ground’s natural drainage properties (or in some cases, lack of) if you don’t use gravel.

What Size Gravel Should I Use?

Paver base gravel comes in three different sizes: fine, medium, and coarse.

The type of gravel you choose for your project is determined by the size: a fire pit will require a different kind of gravel than does your driveway.

Gravel is ideal for places with sandy or well-drained soil. It compacts into a firm base, so we don’t recommend it unless you have excellent drainage and good drainage.

It’s also great for garden use, but it isn’t the best base to put under driveways or parking lots. The gravel pieces should be about ⅜ of an inch thick.

Gravel is a wonderful all-around option, as it’s both strong and permeable. It compresses nicely but allows water to pass through it.

Because it may be used on a number of soil types, it’s also used for lighter household activities like mowing the lawn or sweeping the floor.

This popular gravel is composed of tiny pieces that range from ⅛ to ¼ of an inch in size (hence the “⅛ minus gravel” name).

Play it safe and order coarse gravel for heavier usage. This is, without a doubt, the best and safest choice if you have poor drainage (for example, clay soil has little drainage) or want to construct a driveway for many vehicles.

If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, or if you have drainage issues with your yard paver installation, we recommend using coarse gravel beneath your pavers.

The pieces are typically 1½ inches: bigger is possible, but super-heavy gravel isn’t commonly used for yard paver installations.

Consider your tasks, the sort of soil you have, and how you’ll be using your paved area before placing your order.

How Thick Should The Gravel Layer Be?

Again, this is dependent on your application since a heavy-traffic driveway will require stronger foundations than a low-footfall walkway.

And (yes, we’re repeating ourselves), different soils have varying characteristics and may require offsetting for poor natural drainage.

We’ll look at the paver base’s anatomy in greater depth later, but here are the essential guidelines for gravel layers.

At least 4 inches for the gravel or crushed stone layer, then an inch more for a sand layer is recommended by most specialists.

We’ve always gone with at least 6 inches for the gravel layer: yes, it’s a bit more work, but we think it’s well worth the trouble.

Some contractors demand that you dig down a foot for driveways, ensuring that you have one solid and dependable paver base layer.

Of course, the local dirt has as much of a role to play in paver creation as the application itself. The deeper the drainage layer, the better if you live in a rainier state or have clay soil.

Even if you live in a region where it is not necessary to overcompensate for drainage, it is prudent to do so.

You could get hit by a burst water main, a flash flood, or an unexpected runoff, so be prepared (sorry if this doesn’t sound very pleasant; nevertheless, we want to safeguard your yard against any future issues).

After you’ve chosen the depth of gravel you want, it’s a simple math problem (depth multiplied by surface area) to figure out how much paver gravel you’ll need.

We usually add 10% extra as a contingency – you might need it, and if you don’t, gravel rarely goes to waste in the busy gardener’s world.

The Anatomy of a Patio Base

We’ve spoken about sub-auluses in the past, but what exactly are they, and what function do they perform? Here’s the structure of your new driveway or garden dining area, from dirt to bricks.

The first thing to put on top of the dirt is a layer of landscape fabric, which should be excavated to your chosen depth before being laid over the soil.

It’s made of plastic or woven fabric and is there to prevent plants from growing up through your construction.

The top layer should be permeable and porous so that water may drain through it. Use a heavier-duty material for heavy gardening duties than you would for light gardening tasks.

The gravel layer is the next-largest component, followed by the sand stratum. Gravel is a fantastic substance for your paver base since it is strong and long-lasting, compresses to form a tough layer, and aids drainage.

Select your type of gravel depending on the soil and application you’re using.

A layer of coarse sand is added on top of the gravel. This provides a level, smooth surface over the gravel that serves as a foundation for your pavers. The majority of contractors recommend an inch-thick covering here.

After removing the aeration stones from the pavers, moisten them and press them down to create a solid layer for laying the final pavers.

Finally, we come to the best part: your selection of pavers, which include an incredible variety of colors and textures.

We should also note that there is a new option for a gravel base. Some builders don’t employ the traditional structure, replacing the gravel layer with plastic pavers.

They’re made of a heat-reflective material and can be used in regions where frost damage is common. They’re also highly insulating, so your layers will be dirt, cloth, sand, paver panel, and paver.


Can I use gravel as a paver base?

Yes, you can use gravel as a paver base. It is a popular choice for many homeowners and contractors because it is affordable and easy to install.

What kind of gravel should I use for a paver base?

You should use crushed stone or gravel that is angular in shape and ranges in size from 3/4 inch to 2 1/2 inches. This type of gravel will provide a stable base for your pavers and help prevent shifting.

How thick should the gravel base be for a paver patio?

The gravel base should be at least 4 inches thick for a paver patio. This will provide enough stability for the pavers and prevent them from sinking or shifting over time.

Do I need to compact the gravel base before laying pavers?

Yes, you should compact the gravel base before laying pavers. This will help to ensure that the base is stable and will prevent the pavers from sinking or shifting over time.

Can I use sand instead of gravel for a paver base?

Sand is not recommended as a paver base because it is not as stable as gravel. Sand can shift and settle over time, which can cause the pavers to sink or become uneven.

How do I calculate how much gravel I need for a paver base?

To calculate how much gravel you need for a paver base, measure the area of the project in square feet and multiply by the depth of the gravel base in inches.

Then, divide by 12 to convert to cubic feet. Finally, divide by the number of cubic feet in a ton of gravel (usually around 1.5) to determine the number of tons needed.

Do I need to install a weed barrier under the gravel base?

It is recommended to install a weed barrier under the gravel base to prevent weeds from growing up through the pavers over time. This can be a simple layer of landscape fabric or a more advanced geotextile fabric.

Can I use recycled concrete as a paver base instead of gravel?

Yes, you can use recycled concrete as a paver base instead of gravel. This can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option, as long as the concrete is properly crushed and screened to the correct size.

How long will a gravel base last under my pavers?

A properly installed gravel base can last for many years under your pavers. However, the lifespan can vary depending on factors such as climate, soil conditions, and the weight of the traffic on the pavers.

Do I need to slope the gravel base for drainage?

Yes, you should slope the gravel base for drainage. A slope of at least 1/4 inch per foot is recommended to ensure that water drains away from the pavers and does not cause damage over time.


You may, in fact, use gravel as a base when laying pavers in the same way that you might utilize it while building a patio.

Gravel can be used to build a thick layer on top of your landscape fabric, just like the rougher paver foundation.

The main distinction between gravel and paver base is that the more pointed edges of paver base allow it to bind more effectively than gravel when compressed under the sand and pavers.

However, if you tamp down the gravel sufficiently, this does not negate its usefulness.