Patio Design: Understanding Crushed Stone

Patio design with crushed stone is easy, practical and more affordable than pavers or poured concrete. It stays confined between borders, and resists sinking below ground. Its shape creates a mosaic effect on your patio surface. Crushed stone is any stone material, including granite, shale or slate that has been reduced to small 1 cubic inch-sized pieces. It comes in a variety of colors, most commonly light gray, dark gray or red shades. The stone is most commonly used in landscaping projects.

Advantages of Crushed Stone

Crushed stone provides good traction and is easy to walk on when wet. Also, it does not sink into subsoil, or shift into grass borders, so your path surface will stay intact for many seasons. Crushed stone resists weed growth while allowing water to permeate through into the soil below.

Crushed stone makes a good patio surface. It can support the weight of cast iron patio furniture, along with barbecues and other large outdoor furnishings, better than other small-volume ground covers.

How You Can Use Crushed Stone in Your Patio

You can use crushed stone as your patio floor. Rake it smooth over a deep sand base and make paths with it through garden beds. You can also add solid flat stepping stones, or patio pavers, in your crushed stone pathway. When your budget allows, use crushed stone as a non-compacting base for pavers or large concrete patio slabs.

Edge your crushed stone path with pavers or field stones. Border a rock garden with a crushed stone pathway for a harmonious appearance. Add a crushed stone circle around a fountain or ornamental tree to highlight it in your landscape. Design a crushed stone maze for fun and entertainment in a separate section of a large yard.

Crushed Stone Patio Base

Crushed stone is one of the most reliable base materials you can use under a patio surface of pavers or slabs. Dig a patio base 10 inches below grade and lay a flat base of 2 inches of sand. After leveling, place sheets of erosion-reducing fabric over the sand. Place a 6-inch depth of crushed stone on the fabric. Add another 2 inches of coarse sand on top of the crushed stone, and level with the compactor.

Patio pavers that are added to this base will resist frost and weed growth for years, staying level and stable. If you live in a frost-free climate, use 3 inches of crushed stone as your base. You could also choose flagstone or bluestone over a crushed stone base for your patio. These hard, durable stones will make a beautiful and smooth patio surface.

When Not to Use Crushed Stone in Patio Design

Avoid using crushed stone in your patio or landscape if you have dogs as pets, or if you have very young children. The sharp edges of crushed stone will cut your dog's paws and your children's hands and knees. Also, keep in mind that the legs and bases of wood and plastic lawn furniture can be scratched or chipped if used on a crushed stone patio surface.