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Garden path without substructure - advantages and disadvantages of this construction method

At first glance, a garden path without a complex base of gravel or grit seems enticingly simple.

However, the supposed cost and time savings are often at the expense of the longevity and quality of the path.

Two variants of garden paths without a substructure made of wood and gravel

In this article, we will show you what you need to look out for when choosing a path without a substructure. Find out which materials this type of construction can work with and where the risks lie.

👍 Advantages of a path without a substructure

The advantages are obvious:

  • Cost savings
  • Less effort
  • No time-consuming excavation and substructure work.
  • More flexible installation without a solid subsurface.

👎 Disadvantages & Risks

The downside is the often lower quality:

  • Lower stability and longevity
  • There is a real risk of subsidence
  • Deformations can also occur
  • Weeds can penetrate the soil
  • no barrier layer present

Suitable materials for a garden path without preparing the ground

Only a few materials are suitable for paths without a substructure:

Collage of materials that don't need a substructure

1. Lawn edging stones

They can be laid in the lawn. However, stability is low.

2. Bark mulch

Lies directly on the ground. However, it must be renewed several times a year.

3. Wood chips

Can also be applied directly to the floor. But regular renewal is also necessary.

4. Natural stones

For smaller natural stone paths in the garden, it can be laid without a grit substructure. Increased risk of settlement.

A little ground preparation is still necessary

Prepare the garden path substrate with a spatula and lawn shears

Despite the absence of the substructure, the following must be done:

  1. Leveling and compacting - The subsoil should be as level and stable as possible.
  2. If necessary: ​​Drainage - Indispensable in poorly draining soils.

Professional laying is a must for a garden path - even without a substructure

Image of professional work in the garden

Care should be taken when laying:

1. Clean height alignment

Align exactly with a rubber mallet and straightedge.

2. Lay closely together if stones are used

Keep joints as small as possible.

3. Integrate edge attachment

In order to prevent the material from slipping or spreading as much as possible.

  • aluminum strips
  • lawn edging stones
  • wood elements

More guides for the Create your own garden path

Alternative: simple grit substructure

Alternatively, use a simple grit substructure

A sensible alternative is a simple chippings substructure with a thickness of 10-15 cm. This settles and prevents weeds. The additional costs are low in comparison.

  • Easy to implement
  • Not quite as good as a professional underground
  • Dramatically increases quality

Cost comparison with conventional substructure

The cost advantage of a path without a substructure is often smaller than expected. This is offset by the higher renewal costs and the risk of damage.

Cost comparison garden path with and without substructure

position Without substructure With grit substructure
material 20-50 € per m2 20-50 € per m2
substructure €0 10-20 € per m2
laying 10-20 € per m2 10-20 € per m2
edge attachment 5-15 € per running meter 5-15 € per running meter
Annual renewal 5-15 € per m2 €0

Buy a stone cutting disc to cut stones at the garden path without a substructure

Conclusion - garden paths can also be laid out without a substructure.

A garden path without any substructure is only conditionally recommended. With the right material and careful installation, it can work. However, a simple grit substructure is better, which avoids many problems.

FAQ: Garden path without substructure

1. For which materials is a path without a substructure suitable?

Most likely for lawn pavers, bark mulch or wood chips. Other materials such as slabs or plaster require a substructure.

2. How to prevent weeds without a base?

By using a weed fleece. Otherwise, one must weed by hand or renew mulch/barks annually.

3. Why should you still place a drain?

Poorly draining soil, without drainage, will collect moisture under the path and can cause settlement and damage.

4. How often does a path without a substructure have to be renewed?

For soluble materials such as bark mulch or woodchips, a renewal coat should be applied annually.

5. When is a simple split substructure recommended?

If the use and optics allow it. The simple substructure avoids many disadvantages and is inexpensive.

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