Patio advice needed (rock)

Hello.
The situation is that my wife and I have decided to put a small patio out back for grilling and such. The area is approx 12'x 9'. Our neighbors across the street are in the process of putting in a pool and have found that the previous owner had a thing for river rock and have been digging the stuff up for the last two weeks. I was thinking that the large flat rock would make for a nice patio and an inexpensive route (they offered it to me for free). I have never done anything like this before and I am assuming I am going to want to lay down some concrete and mount the stones within the field. The area lies at the base of a hill and although we have a rock wall dividing the hill from the area the ground still gets quite damp. I am wondering if : 1. This is a sound idea to begin with. 2. I stated concrete but is there something better for an anchoring agent. 3. How would I prepare the ground, including a base ie gravel. Also open to any tried and true replacements for the river rock.
Thanks in advance
Jason
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an easy way would be to set the stone in dry mix then lightly water. a 3" gravel base would be good.
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and uncomfortable underfoot. We recently bought large slabs of metamorphic schist for a similar sized patio. First, we dug out, and disposed of, about a foot of existing clayey soil. Then flattened that area, staked in 2x8 pressure treated surrounding boards above the ground level, then packed in about 9 inches of 3/4 inch aggregate (angular) rock, followed by 3-4 inches of sharp sand. Both the aggregate gravel and the overlying sand, were pounded flat with an 8x8 inch hand pounder (home depot). Once everything is compressed, the stones were laid on the dampened sand. We used a material called g-sand (used for infill work, and hardens slightly after being wetted), to fill between the flat rocks. When finished, the top surface of the rock was flush with the top of the surrounding PT boards. This makes a better anchor than concrete, is better suited for your poor drainage area, and later rock slab adjustments can be made when tree roots invade, unlike concrete. It also provides a more comfortable surface than concrete. For more info, go to Lowe's or HD and steal a glance, or buy, the how-to book on paths and patios - an excellent reference on how to build this kind stuff.
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