Advice on Path Restoration

I’m looking for the best way to renovate and/or maintain an extensive network of gravel paths for a particular garden.

In theory they are hoggin but they are more gravel than hoggin (I’ve been told that previously the bad weed situation was dealt with by scraping off the top layer. No new material was put down). So it’s hoggin-ish in places, gravelly sub in others.

2 photos below  (paths more extensive)

It is sprayed over the growing season, though not before the weeds have got pretty noticeable – so not frequently enough to prevent a build-up of organic material. Moss forms a surface crust over c. 30%. Spraying frequency not anticipated to change.

We’ve reached a dead end with spraying as the weeds don’t magically disappear, 50% of the pathways have the beginnings of a soil horizon. As I write this my hope is fading.


  • Is there any value in mechanically disturbing the surface to try and reduce build up of soil/organic material (remembering that in theory it is hoggin)? What would be the method: some sort of powered rake followed by a leaf blower? I know I’m grasping at straws here.
  • Time to re-surface? Perennial weed aren’t a problem – it’s the stuff coming from above, so weed membranes not necessary.
  • Do all gravel paths have a life span – I guess determined by how well they are maintained?

Any experience/advice much appreciated.

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  • PRO

    That is one serious path!

    I havent done anything on that scale, but I do look after a 80' gravel drive .....the house weve ljved in for the past 25 years

    Every 5 to 7 years around 5 to 10 tons of gravel is spread over it, otherwise it gets so thin every seed that falls on it germinates .....

    Good luck


  • the bottom photo mainly  looks like moss also you can get a additive to mix in with the weed killer to prevent weeds from germinating (cannot remember its name) but overall it does not look in good condition even the steps look slimy    

  • I had the same problem on a smaller scale, but found good info on the Breedon website
    Unfortunately the customer wasn't ready for the financial side of it :-(
    • PRO

      Thanks for the link - good useful information. We are approaching re-surfacing state so I'll put the clients onto it! The light scarifying they talk about before resurfacing is probably where I'm at.

  • Hello,
    We've been experimenting this past few years with regular spreading of road salt on a dive of similar scale (possibly larger than what you are dealing with) with ok results. The drive is in on a north facing hill side in Devon so plenty of moisture for the weeds to get away. We have less moss, but find it effective on young seedlings, less so on more established weeds. You can use a walk behind salt spreader to evenly and thinly distribute the salt. Best done regularly so that the weeds don't get away (once a month in the dry). I'd have thought it would see to the moss pretty effectively.
    We've salted close to grass edges and plants, the grass edges can get burned if you get too close but all the plants seem to be fine. We keep away from water courses and ponds etc as the salt isn't good for the amphibians and plant life.
    All in all I would recommend it as cost effective alternative to weed killer in this scenario, notwithstanding the increasing evidence of various adverse effects of releasing these chemicals into our environment.
    Good luck Path Guy,
    • PRO

      Thanks for that. We're just switching to acetic acid (strong acid, strong alkali - same effect?) which certainly kills the moss off. Though does make you want to go to the chip shop on the way home.

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