Stone chippings/aggregate on top of decking?

1 Aug 2011
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United Kingdom

I have an outdoor area about 3x4 meters which I want to renovate. I'd like to put some decorative gravel/stones down with some interspersed paving stones as a sort of patio. Currently, there is decking in this area of the courtyard which was there when we bought the house.

Originally I was planning to rip up the decking and put the stones down in it's place. But having taken up a few boards I can see I might have problems. The base underneath the decking is concrete but there are a number of plinths/pillars rising up from the concrete, about 10cm high and maybe around 20-30cm in diameter. It is part of the same concrete base. Some (though not all) of the decking joists sit on these plinths. I dont know if they were built with this function in mind, or if the previous owner's of the house just happen to use them for the decking because they were there. I cant see why else they would've been constructed when the concrete base was being laid, but there are many things about my house which are a mystery to me!

I dont have the machinery to remove these concrete protrudences. So what I am now wondering is whether it would be possible to lay the decorative gravel on top of the decking? Either straight on top of the decking as it is at the moment (possibly try and fill in some of the larger gaps between boards so the stones dont fall between) or construct something on top of the decking to provide a firmer base? Maybe some treated hardboard? And then lay the stones and the paving slabs on top of that?

I realise this wouldn't be a permanent solution. I'm looking for something that would last maybe 5 years or so, until I have time and money to lay a proper patio. Is this entirely unrealistic or are there any other solutions people may be aware of that I could try?

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would this one be suitable for those concrete plinths I mentioned?

Just doing some research earlier, and seems the suggestion to lay gravel straight onto concrete base is not a good idea due to slip hazards. Drainage wouldn't be a problem, as there is already a drain in the concrete base.

If I rip up the decking, and manage to level the concrete, what would I need as a base before I can lay the gravel? Some hardcore and weed suppressing fabric?

Thanks for taking the time to reply
I'm no expert, but that one says "hacking off plaster and rasking out pointing"; concrete is tougher than plaster, so I'd look for something bigger. Maybe someone else will comment. is the place to find advice on anything like this:
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A sledge hammer would most likely knock them over. They will just be built of concrete block or similar if decking supports. Any photos of them?

P.S stones on top of decking is a BAD idea, think of them as rough marbles
I'm going to start taking up the decking today if the weather is ok, so i'll try and get some photos.

At the moment they are still under the decking. I took up a few planks yesterday, and had a look underneath with a torch and a bit of a feel around, but its quite dark and muddy down there at the moment so not sure a photo would really help. From what I can see (and feel) they seem to be 'moulded' out of the concrete base i.e. they are not seperate blocks that have been mortared on to the base, they are actually part of the base itself, if that makes any kind of sense!! I might be wrong. I'll have a go with my lump hammer and masonary chisel later today, see if I can dislodge. Definitely sounds like the way to go is to try and level the concrete and start from there. Still wondering about what I need to put on top of this though... if the stones on top of a hard surface like decking is a bad idea then on top of concrete is going to be just as bad!

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