Crushed stone path and patio construction

Hi,
I have a new home with a very large plain backyard. I am planning and preparing to add character, but must do in tiny steps. I don't have a lot of time or budget, so hope to create a warm welcome backyard over time.
The first thing I would like to do is create 2 "hard" areas. I have a 10x10 covered patio and off to the left of it I need a 10x8 area for grilling and expanding off of the patio. in another area I would like to create a space 6x4 for a bench under a group of small trees.
For both of these areas I would like to use crushed granite. It's cheap, and it looks good. For the area off of the patio I may someday want to add paving stones, and this would be the perfect first step to that idea.
I know it durable enough, but I'm not sure how to install it properly. Once I cut away the st. Augustine, how deep should the crushed granite be? Do I need to rent a compactor and compact it? I would like to define the area with some sort of drought tolerant border plants...do you have any suggestions?
Thanks for any help on my project! jojo
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jojo wrote:

Ours is about 3-4 inches deep.

Yes. However, a manual compactor makes for a really good workout... :)

Agaves, yuccas, grasses, etc. Visit yuccado.com for ideas, they have an awesome selection and great service. Local sources include Barton Springs Nursery and Gardens. Make sure you get cold-hardy species!
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I really would like something that looks similar to Mexican heather (and a similar size) but that is perennial.
http://photos.yahoo.com/cgv_2000 You can see my landscape plans here and critique if you will. look in the album called landscape plans.
jojo
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Why do you not want the heather? It looks great most of the year.

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Yes, I agree...but I need something I do not have to replant every year. Sometimes heather will come back and sometimes it won't. jojo

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Jojo, You might check into www.backyard-lifestyle.com for other ideas to add character to your backyard. They are a Wholesale to the Public Online Website, you can ask them questions, and if you get real adventurous you could try, www.bestpondstuff.com for reasonable priced pond and water garden supplies.
I hope you find this useful, Norman
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jojo wrote:

It needs to be raised above the surrounding area. Decomposed granite is nearly impervious to weeds, either seeds from above or runners from below. But if the rain washes dirt into it then forget it. I did a cactus bed with it, about 2" deep without any kind of weed barrier, and never needed to weed it in several years. Another bed that caught runoff from the road was constantly full of weeds.
--steve
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