Using Paver Base as an Outdoor Surface
By: Danny Lipford
Paver base is a crushed gravel mixture used to provide a solid foundation for interlocking pavers. The size of the aggregate usually ranges from 3/4 of an inch down to dust, so the material will lock together when compressed. Paver base can be purchased by the bag or in bulk. Crushed limestone is the most commonly used stone for this application, but the material and color of the product may vary by region.
In order to use paver base as a stand-alone outdoor surface you’ll need to create forms to contain it. Since the forms will remain in the landscape, we’re using fiber cement siding which won’t deteriorate as quickly in contact with ground.
- Cut 8-inch lap siding boards in half to create 4-inch form boards.
- Use marking paint to outline the surface to be created and dig a small trench 2 to 4 inches deep along each line.
- Insert the form boards into these trenches and stake every few feet to hold them in place and keep them vertical. Use treated wood for the stakes and drive them down into the soil on the INSIDE of the forms, so they’re not visible when the project is complete. They should be an inch or two below the top of the form before you attach them to the fiber cement with coated deck screws.
- Depending on the terrain you may need to excavate a little or a lot of dirt from within the forms.
- Compact the soil within the forms using a tamp before you begin spreading the paver base material out in the space. The idea is to fill the forms up to the top so that the only part of them that is visible is the narrow top edge.
- After you compact the base with the tamp you may need to add more material keep the surface at this level. The finished surface will be hard, stable and won’t spread into the landscape because it’s packed tightly together.
Watch the video for details.
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