Removed above ground pool.. can I put pea gravel over compacted sand?

by Andrea

I’ve read that base rock (crushed stone) is normally used as the base for a pea gravel patio? I have removed my above ground pool, and I am left with compacted sand. Can I put landscape fabric over the sand and pea gravel on top of the sand? Will the compacted sand be sufficient, or will this surface erode over time?

  7 answers
  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom Holly Lengner - Lost Mom on Jul 27, 2020

    The sand should be fine to leave under the landscape fabric and pea gravel.

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Jul 27, 2020

    Yes, but I would recommend a crushed rock instead of pea gravel. Pea rocks never compact and you will be kicking them loose and they will be moving around. Crushed rock will firm up and make a solid surface. I use crushed rock in all of my walk ways. Get 1/2 of 3/8 minus. That means the largest stone is the fraction and minus means it graduates down to sand size.

  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Jul 27, 2020

    I agree that sand should do just fine. I would dig down and put a border around it to keep the pea gravel in and give it all a little more support. Consider placing landscape fabric under the pea gravel as well to help keep weeds down.

  • Seth Seth on Jul 27, 2020

    I agree with Ken that pea gravel, while very decorative, is not as practical as other types of stone for an active surface, especially if it is too deep. If there is a border around the sand then you might be able to leave it. Just like there are different types of gravel, there are different types of sand. Mason sand will pack well, but playground sand will not, so test yours first. The only reason to use landscape fabric is to prevent your stone from migrating into your sand. And, it will become the mess Betsy described it you let weeds grow into the fabric, so you will have to weed the area. (Weeds will grow in your gravel.) If you choose to remove the sand, then you want to start with a 3-4 inch layer of dense grade base. It is a mixture of stone dust and various sized stone particles. It packs amazingly well, but is not a pretty finished surface, just a base layer. It goes by different names in different parts of the country. If you are going to go through the trouble of creating a compacted base, you may just want to do pavers.

  • Seth Seth on Jul 27, 2020


    If you do not already own a 10x10 inch hand tamper, you may want to buy one for this project. Tamp a few square feet. If it holds it shape for the most part when you step on it, it has good compaction. If you tamp it and you still leave footprints, compaction is not that good. You can also take a couple of lengths of 2x4 and screw them together or use a piece of 4x4 or 4x6 wood if you have it and use that as a tamper. Another way to test compaction is to take a handful and squeeze it in your fist. Does it hold its shape or crumble easily? If you really want to get technical, what allows sand to compact is different sizes of angular shaped rock particles. Particles that are all the same size (screened) of have been "washed" will not compact well. Look at what you have. Are the particles all the same size? You could always buy some sand that you know compacts well and add it to what you have. Look for cement sand or bedding sand. My local stone yard and some landscape material providers will let me fill bins from the bulk supply in their yard. Even if they charge me a minimum, it's always less than a few bags at Lowe's or HD. For example, I pay $18 for a cubic yard (54 Lowe's sized bags) of stone dust. Lowe's charges $4.00 for half of a cubic foot (1 bag). That same cubic yard would cost $216 at Lowe's. If you live close to a stone yard, you can get it delivered. Even if you have to pay for delivery and get charged a 2 yard minimum for buying a lesser amount, it's still much less than the few bags you would buy and have to lug yourself.

    • Andrea Andrea on Jul 27, 2020

      Thank you.. all good information to know. I’ve been reading this online and it makes more sense in the way you’ve explained it.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Jul 27, 2020

    That should work

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Aug 01, 2020


    It will be ok! unless you have uneven wear to the area such as a heavy object being constantly moving over the area or you want to pace chairs with legs that might dig through due to weight...........