If you are putting in paths or a driveway on your property, you may want to consider using decomposed granite rather than concrete. Decomposed granite gives you a natural look that you can use to enhance your natural landscape. Depending on the decomposed granite installation method you choose, you can expect to use the pathway or driveway for years with minimum maintenance.
Decomposed Granite Selection
Choose decomposed granite for your project based on what you want the surface to look like. Decomposed granite selection ranges from ¼-inch pieces to pieces no bigger than grains of sand. The larger pieces can provide more surface texture to your pathway or drive where smaller pieces provide a smooth surface.
Pick the granite color best suited to your landscape and house colors. Just as granite counter tops come in a variety of colors, the small granite chips of decomposed granite come in similar color ranges. There are many shades of blues, greens, yellows and reds as well as natural stone colors. It is possible to use one color of decomposed granite for the main portion of the path and use a separate color as edging or accent.
You also need to decide how you plan to stabilize the decomposed granite. You can just pack the granite pieces tightly on the ground for a loose path or drive. Stabilizers are another option. These allow you to create a path that can last up to ten years and come already added to the granite. Adding resins to the decomposed granite allows you to set your driveway in place for up to fourteen years with a minimum of maintenance.
Decomposed Granite Preparation
Decomposed granite needs a solid bed to lie on. Preparation of the subsurface is important to the success of this project. Depending on whether this is a pathway or a driveway, you need to put down a bed of crushed rock. For a pathway, the rock needs to be at least four inches thick and a driveway needs a base at least six inches thick.
Before you lay the crushed rock, decide if you want the finished path or drive to be level with the ground's surface. If you do, you need to dig out enough dirt to allow that.
Put the crushed rock in place and wet it down. Run a compactor over the base to settle all the fine rocks into place and to provide a hard surface for the decomposed granite.
Decomposed Granite Installation
Place the decomposed granite over the crushed rock. Level it as much as you can by hand. Use a hose to water the decomposed granite down. This helps plain decomposed granite set up. The water activates the stabilizer or resin if you chose that type of application. Follow directions from your granite supplier for the proper amount of water to apply.
Once you can walk on the decomposed granite without sinking in or feeling muddy underfoot, use a roller to pack it down. Make several passes to ensure that the surface is smooth and has no marks from the roller.
Allow the decomposed granite to dry. Look for signs of chipping or cracking. You can repair problems with the addition of more water and decomposed granite. While the finished surface is solid, it's normal to hear the crunch of the rock in the sublayer.