Just discovered poor sublayer under patio - what now?

8 Jan 2013
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United Kingdom
We have just lifted our 5 x 2m patio, intending to replace it with lawn. Underneath is a big old mess of hardcore (whole and half bricks with large spaces inbetween) covered with approx 15-20cm of sand/grit.

We live on a hill and the gardens are stepped. The hardcore was presumably used to raise the level up from the neighbours garden below and is likely to be up to 3' deep. The patio had been there quite a while and was stable but had begun to dip a little in places (presumably where the sand had fallen into the gaps in the rubble).

We don't really know what to do now. We would like grass but can't really see how this would work on top of the rubble and sand. If grass isn't an option, we will be happy to replace with some sort of alternative hard surface (e.g. brick paving) but are concerned that it will become very uneven if we don't do something to stabilise the sublayer and stop the sand falling into the gappy rubble beneath.

We'd like to do the work ourselves but would definitely consider getting professionals in the solution is beyond our capabilities.

Any advice or ideas will be gratefully received!


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If the top 15-20cm sand/grit, then perhaps a lawn is possible (assuming you're not wanting to lower the ground level). As long as you haven't disturbed it, it would be well compacted having been under a patio, and drains well so a few inches of good topsoil and a lawn should be happy. I imagine what's under my lawn is something similar!

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