laying paving stones 12" X 12" ?

I am going to be alying down about 200 of these stones in the next couple of weeks. My question is how important is it to have about 5 inches of packed gravel for a base beneath the sand. If a person was to tamp the soil ( using a plate tamper) would this be ok or should a person still use the gravel base?
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The depth of gravel/sand needed is very dependent on the soil its laid on IMO. I installed a patio at my old house in Michigan in a suburb that was basically on top of an old sand mining area. I used very little gravel and sand and the bricks didn't budge over 2 winters that I had the house after that.
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I would If it were mine...it's one of those things it's easier to do now rather than later if you know what I mean. In addition, make sure you use a quality edging to support the outside row. I didn't and really regretted it later.
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What is the best to use for edging??
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You'll have to check around at your building supply centers for your options...but if it's available, I believe I'd use the plastic one. I've neve been too fond of putting metal in the ground...
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Use the gravel, ideally a gravel sand "base rock" mix. Sand compacts very well but does not hold the compaction at all. Just your reg soil is questionable but if you are sure you will not have to remove all the paver's and do it again don't use the gravel...get the drift??? Its just not worth it to risk it. The best thing to use for the "base" you are calling gravel is in fact a "base rock" mixture. Ask you local redi mix plant if they have it or your local rockery then after compacting this in 2-3" lifts with a little water add the sand on top of this. This should give you many years of use no matter what your climate is.Good Luck http://www.palmisanoconcrete.com
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there are definitely stds for this, and some may include both rock and screeding materials, if not more than 2 layers, possibly of diff thickness' and grid mesh sizes. Depends where it is, and what its doing. The only thing I have heard sand for is in the days after the stones are laid, when you tamp the stones if necc and for brooming in between the cracks, even annually. Limestone screeding is the fine stuff that packs and when wetted, becomes hard, but won't completely fill between the gaps. It takes time but sand will make a grout -like bridge between all stones. Possibly sand and definitely dirt will allow grass, moss, weeds to grow through over time. If it was a driveway, and more Z-brick stone-sized brick, and I think if you used sand, you would see tire track grooves over time. Pathways can slant. Done right it would be a permanent feature of your landscaping, and can be a totally flat platform, if poss.
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Thanks for all the help. I am going to use the gravel. The soil conditions that I have is a clay with lots a bigger rocks in it. Nothing really grows in it because of the gumbo it makes when its wet. I am also going to be laying out 3" drainage pipe covered in Landscape fabric putting course around it as well and then puting the base gravel over that, if the expects here think that is a good plan.

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