Paver Spacers for Modern Patio Facelift?

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Q: We recently moved into a home with a patio that has a lot of potential. The pavers were originally spaced with wood, but the wood is very rotten now and we would like to remove it and replace it with some sort of pebbles or river rocks. We live in Minnesota, so whatever we put in between the pavers has to be able to survive lots of long winters buried under the snow.  What are the best pebbles/rocks for the job, and once we get around to digging out the rotten wood, is there a special way to do it?

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.