Frequently asked questions

No. Natural Paving has a non-woven strong geotextile welded to its base. This stops weeds growing through but still allows even the heaviest rain to soak away if the base is permeable. If seeds drop into the pebbles they will wither and die because there is no water retained in the pebbles and the roots cant go through the geotextile..


Each grade has a maximum recommended slope, and if an irregular shaped pebble or stone chip is used it can be laid on a steeper slope than if the pebble used is a regular shaped river worn pebble. The steepest slope for Clutha-Garden grade with a round pebble is 1 up for every five along, or 11 degrees, and similarly for Waiau-Car grade it is 1 in 6 or 9.5 degrees, and Rakaia-Truck grade it is 1 in 8 or 7 degrees.

The maximum recommended slopes, along with other parameters, can be found under the respective grade button under the product tab above.

There are a number of reasons why concrete cracks.
(a) New slabs shrink and the installer may not have sawn appropriate crack starters to control the position and appearance of cracks.
(b) The foundation was not strong enough to carry a heavier than expected load. Maybe a heavy removal van or delivery truck caused a foundation failure?
(c) It could be that the foundation design did not allow for the wet strength of the foundation (e.g. very low for clay) and the base is simply not adequate.
In (a), and (b) above specific design to cope with water drainage may allow natural paving to be laid over cracked concrete. For (c) to concrete has to be removed and the problems treated appropriately to provide a sound base for Natural Paving.

The defining reason for using pebbles is for the peaceful ambiance it creates in your home as there are many beautiful pebbles you can use. Hard paving has its place, but it is comparatively more utilitarian and expensive. Natural Paving counters all the disadvantages of pebbles and transforms them into a stable flat surface. With Natural Paving pebbles are as practical as a hard paved surface for handling narrow wheels, stilettos, walking sticks, cars etc. In comparison concrete is unforgiving, it cracks when stressed or overloaded, it sheds water and can puddle. Weeds can grow through cracks. They both have their pros and cons but Natural Paving makes pebbles low maintenance and you can enjoy them.

For pebble sources please see our pebble page.

You can use any pebbles river worn, rumbled, or from crushed rock. The main criteria is that the pebbles should be clean washed pebbles, free of dust and graded between 8mm to 15mm. For maximum slopes refer to the specification table. On steeply sloped driveways an irregular pebble or stone chip is recommended. River worn pebbles look great and are nice to walk in bare feet. Natural Paving mats are completely hidden under the pebbles when the correct size pebble is used, and will stay that way.

The recommended installation will have 15mm to 20mm depth of pebbles over the top of the plastic grid. This is two layers of pebbles which are sitting in the nests created by the locked-in layer of pebbles within the honeycomb grid. The stability of the surface is good with just two layers and they completely hide the grid. If larger pebbles are used they do not form a stable matrix in the cells and the stones on top are less stable and do not hide the mats properly. If the pebbles are too small they can slosh with in the cells, and to cover the mats the pebbles on the surface are too remote from the locked pebbles with in the cells. Its very important to use the right size pebbles to get the best performance from Natural Paving.

Pebbles for driveways need to be strong. Soft pebbles will crush and compact. A strong pebble will not crush under a light hammer blow.

If smaller than recommended pebbles are used, the small pebbles within the cells are more remote from the stabilising effect of the walls of the cells, and the small pebbles can slosh within the honeycomb grid. This does not happen when using the recommended pebble size. Also, to get good coverage over the grid, it will require a minimum depth of 15mm of pebbles. This will require more than three layers of small pebbles above the plastic grid, consequently the surface is  not contained as securely. It still gives a considerable improvement over unstabilised pebbles, but is less stable than using the optimum size.

If the pebbles are bigger than the recommended size of 8 to 15mm, the pebbles will not pack well in the grid and will be prone to rocking. The pebbles on the surface need to be two layers thick to hide the plastic honeycomb grid, and if they are larger than the recommended size, the nests below will may be formed with stones that can rock, and the surface stability will be a little compromised. For these reasons it is best to use the right sized pebbles.

It is very easy to lay Natural Paving and place the chips. The hardest part is preparing the base.

Not really. To build a great path you need to be careful and sensible by following our installation guide. You need to remove the vegetation and get to a firm surface at the right level, remove any soft spots and start from a good foundation. The installation guide gives helpful advice.

Both driveways need similar foundation work for long term reliability. This part of the cost is the the same no matter what surface you place. For the top surface Natural Paving installed and complete will be about half the cost of concrete.

Pebbles are commonly available from landscape supply outlets and quarries. Builders' supply yards may also carry standard pebbles. There are many grades available so it is important to choose a clean pebble with no sand or dust in it and a maximum size of 15mm to 20mm.

When the base course is compacted and leveled it is really easy to lay Natural Paving. You can cut the sheets with a fine handsaw or bread knife, and you can use all the offcuts like a jig-saw puzzle. Refer to the Installation Guide for tips.

All surfaces need some preparation, and every installation needs support at the edges. The foundation needs to be able to carry the expected loads, so truck carparks need a substantial foundation, driveways somewhat less and garden paths are simplest base to build.

Natural Paving is exceptionally stable. It maintains a continuous surface with no cracks, copes well with movements in the ground, copes with tree roots and does not puddle. When it is laid on inclines it remains stable on up to 15° slopes, if a crushed or irregular stone is used. Round pebbles are okay up to 5° slopes.

Little maintenance is required. Leaves etc. can be raked off. In shady areas the pebbles may need a moss and mildew spray and any settling of the stones or foundation can be smoothed by raking

Rain will pass straight through the surface. Natural Paving is very permeable.

No. The geotextile bonded to the base of the sheets prevents roots or shoots passing though and there is not enough soil in the sheets to sustain the grass when the weather is fine.

You can use crushed shell, but please be aware that the shell is weak. Under foot traffic it will gradually turn to powder and be compacted into the Natural Paving grid in the trafficked area. The time it takes for the shells to disintegrate and compact depends on the amount of traffic, and for a while Natural Paving will stabilise shells, but eventually the surface at the top of the grid will become flat and compact and the benefits of the Natural Paving will be compromised.

In contrast, when you use 8 to 14mm pebbles, the stones that overlay the grid are stabilised because they sit in what are effectively 'nests' formed by the gaps between the pebbles below. Those pebbles are held in place by the Natural Paving grid. This grid is covered in pebbles and is hidden by the next two layers of pebbles, which is the recommended coverage. The resulting surface is a stable pathway, because the pebbles are nested like eggs in a crate. The surface looks completely natural but is so stable that even stiletto heels or the skinny tyres of a racing bicycle can traverse it without displacing the pebbles. With shells, you lose all the stabilising influence of the 'nests' if the shells have disintegrated and are compacted into the grid. If you sprinkle fresh shells on top it would be like sprinkling shells on a hard flat surface.

If it is the colour you want, then you could consider using white quartz pebbles which are smooth and nice to walk on, but expensive. You could also consider using lime chips that are the colour of shells. This is economical, but are not so comfortable to walk on in bare feet. If you really want the shell finish you could use Natural Paving to hold the shells in place, but accept that in the longer term maintenance will be required if the shells become crushed and compacted. This would entail lifting each mat, tipping out the powdered shells and filling the mats with fresh shells.