Basics on Bases

Throughout Little Creek’s ten years in business we have applied our expertise installing patios, paths, retaining walls and decks in Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert and surrounding areas. The one thing all these projects have in common, is a properly constructed base. When constructing a base, there are several different construction practices and material combinations that can be considered.

                    1.  Let’s begin at the base of your base

After excavating and thoroughly compacting the area where a patio/path you are ready to begin laying your base. A key material to consider is Geo-textile, which will compound the strength of your base. Geo textiles are permeable fabrics which will ensure limited washout of any aggregates, and will add the total weight of a patio to resist the forces of frost heave. You can begin to add the aggregate base materials.


                2.  Choose your base material

  • Road crush is the common base materials, it is very affordable and easily installed, though it is more likely to wash out and heavy than a base material that does not include sand.
  • 10 mm Rundle fines, is an alternative to road crush. Rundle fines do not contain any sand particles, and is less likely to wash out; further its ability to compact to a very high standard proctor density makes this an ideal product for the construction of bases.
  • Soil/cement or a Concrete mix can be implemented in place of both crush or rundle fines. In this process cement is mixed in with the soil, which when dried, creates a solid base from which you can continue construction
  • The most effective base that can be installed is a Concrete base. Once the concrete is poured within the designated area and is leveled correctly it creates a level concrete base that will not shift or erode and provide a flat surface to build on.  You can further enhance a concrete slab base by adding either micro piles or screw piles to ensure that you will not have any movement over the course of your life.

            3. Packing your base

  • Make sure as you set your base you are providing a slope to ensure positive drainage.
  • Use at minimum a 300lb tamper to thoroughly compact your base.  Do not lay more than 4” at one time.  Compact each ‘lift’ completely before adding a second lift. 
  • Your base should be at minimum 4” thick after compaction but you should aim for 6 to 8” for standard patios and 1’ for driveways.
  • Ideally you are trying to reach between 95-98% standard proctor density. But what the heck does that mean? The easiest way to tell if your base is properly compacted is if you dig your heal into the compacted base and you can not see a heal print then you are in business.

            4. Adding a leveling course

  • Add ½” of bedding sand or rundle fines on top of your compacted base.  Be sure this bedding course is dry and completely smooth.  Be sure to use either a level or hand trowel to smooth out any uneven portion.

Be sure if you are unsure of any part of your base construction to ask the professionals at Little Creek Landscaping.  Enjoy your new patio and keep bringing your outdoor living dreams to life!