Gravel is an excellent, low-maintenance option for driveway material. There are many reasons to choose this versatile option.
The gravel can come in a wide range of colors to match your house and landscape, from classic greys and blacks to brown, red, tan, and white. Maintenance is simple, since the gravel will not crack or wear like concrete and asphalt. Installation is much less expensive compared to other driveway designs, and you can install it all on your own. Gravel is also more eco-friendly than asphalt–water is able to penetrate and drain directly into the soil below, as opposed to becoming runoff and collecting pollutants as it travels from your driveway to the road and gutters.
How to Create Your Gravel Driveway
- Stake out the area where you want to build your driveway using landscape stakes and string. This will help immensely for visualizing the location, digging out the correct area, and measuring the area to calculate the gravel you need.
- Remove all the grass and topsoil from the staked-out area. This will be the most difficult part in terms of labor-intensity, so you may want to consider hiring a bulldozer to do the digging.
- You will need to remove at least 12” of the topsoil to lay the gravel since these driveways have three layers each 4-6” thick. The base layer consists of baseball-sized rocks for stability. The middle layer has golf ball sized stones, and the top layer is made of small, marble-sizes stones. (Visit our website to browse our selection of gravel to find your ideal colors and sizes.)
- Gravel is sold in cubic yards, so you next need to calculate the amount of cubic yardage required for each layer. Luckily, you can use our handy gravel calculator so that you know you are ordering the correct amount of stone.
- Level the ground in the driveway area. It should all be smooth and even before the gravel arrives. Some people choose to lay down separation fabric at this point to deter weeds growing up through the driveway. This could help decrease the amount of maintenance your driveway will require even further.
- Schedule for the delivery of each layer. Plan to separate each delivery by a few days so that you have time to spread and tamp down each layer before the next is added. Compact the base layer. The gravel needs to be compacted between each layer to prevent the driveway from settling unevenly over time. Ideally you should use a bulldozer, but driving your car back and forth over the area can work as well.
- Re-smooth and even the sides of the driveway, as the first delivery of gravel has likely made them disheveled and uneven. Use a rake, shovel, or even just your hands to level the sides and neaten them up. Then have the middle layer of gravel added and smoothed.
- Add the top layer of gravel. You want this layer to be flattened as well, but keep in mind you will also need to shape it. For the best stormwater direction, shape the gravel into a small peak at the center of the driveway that slopes off to the sides and toward the street. Be sure not to slope it toward your house to avoid danger of flooding or pooling water.
If you need more information or advice on how to construct a driveway, build a landscape, or add a water feature – come to Big Earth Landscape SupplyBig Earth Landscape SupplyBig Earth Landscape Supply for ideas and inspiration. We’re here to help.