A gravel driveway is easy to maintain, inexpensive, and very flexible to design, making it a common choice among many homeowners. If you’re trying to create a driveway for your home, you’ve come to the right place.
Laying a gravel driveway isn’t as hard as it sounds. Many people go the DIY route, and depending on the area covered, it can even be finished in an afternoon.
Before we discuss the steps for laying a gravel driveway, let’s talk about the main material you’ll be using: Gravel. There are many types of gravel to choose from, but are you sure about which type to use?
It is recommended to use three layers of gravel for driveways. Thus, three different types should be used as well.
#3 Stones are ideal to use for the first layer. These work best as a foundation because of their smaller size. A one to two-inch layer of #3 stone will suffice. For the second layer, add in one to two inches of #57 rocks. Due to its size, this layer helps fill in the gaps between the first and third layer; thus, making the three layers more stable.
The top layer should be about one to one-and-a-half inches thick as well and should consist of marble-sized rocks. You can use crushed stone #411; however, any dense-grade or traffic bound gravel is also suitable. To avoid purchasing from multiple places, check first with your local gravel supplier to see if they have all these before buying.
Also, avoid using round rocks. Ideally, you’ll want to use machine crushed stones because their different shapes and rough edges allow them to mesh together better; thus making a smooth and firm driveway. Round stones, like river rock, can be slippery which will make for an unstable surface.
Also, consider the climate in your area. Do you get lots of snow or rain? If so, you’ll want to prepare for this by adding ditches to one or both sides of your driveway. This will help carry the water away. Another method is to create a “crown”. A crown is created merely by elevating the middle portion of your driveway very slightly. This will help drain the water into the ditch.
Also, think about how you’ll mitigate the weeds. While some use a weed membrane (weed barrier fabric), others are satisfied using herbicide.
The first question you may be asking is: “Can I do this myself?” The answer is yes, you definitely can. We’ll make sure to outline the steps to help you.
Laying a gravel driveway properly while maintaining it through the years will allow it to last for anywhere between three to ten years. The factors that impact its longevity the most are the climate, the subgrade used (the native material underneath a constructed road), and any curves and slopes in your driveway.
Apart from the main four-inch thick layer of gravel for your driveway, you’ll also need a base layer of crushed stone to both fortify the area and create a healthy drainage system.
To do this, measure the total length and width of the driveway in cubic yards. Apply this formula: Length x Width x Depth. Since you’re going to have three layers of gravel plus a base layer of crushed stone, you’ll want to measure a depth of about three to five inches deep.
If you have a circular driveway or one that is uniquely designed, you may want to speak to an expert about the measurements to eliminate any guessing in the equation. Avoiding mistakes here will save you an enormous amount of time and headaches throughout the project.
Making sure you use a reputable aggregates supplier is crucial. Not only can they provide the materials you need, but they may even be able to guide you or give you tips that can create a huge impact. It also helps if you can find everything you need in one place.
Once you have a supplier, schedule the deliveries or agree a date and time to collect. For larger orders, it may be better for the supplier to deliver the materials to you due to their weight.
Before beginning with the work, ask yourself if you’ll be needing help or not.
Yes, it is possible to do the entire project by yourself; however, be realistic about how much work you’re willing to do and how much time you can afford to spend. Depending on the size of the driveway, it can get physically draining. If you aren’t conditioned to do repetitive work or heavy lifting, especially if you have an injury or history thereof, you may want to hire other people or ask family to help.
The small tools you’ll be needing are as follows:
You’ll also be needing a mechanical compactor. Buying one for a single use would be impractical; thus, renting would be your best option. Depending on the size of the driveway, you may want to hire a mini digger to get the job done quicker. These can be hired with a driver, or for self drive.
Once you have secured the materials, you may now excavate the area where your driveway will be. Create a trench on the sides of your pathway. This will help with the drainage while also stabilising the edging.
Proceed to remove any plants or roots at the sides or the base of the pathway. It’s crucial to do this before compacting. Then make sure everything is levelled out equally.
If you chose to use a weed membrane instead of herbicide, this is the time to lay it. Make sure to keep the shiny side facing upwards and be careful not to tear the fabric as you go along. You may use pegs, spikes, or any equivalent to hold it down.
Once the fabric is set, you may now pour the first layer of gravel. Make sure you go down in stone size as you go up in layers: biggest stones first and the smallest stones last.
Make sure that as you pour each layer, compact it down with the mechanical compactor before adding the next layer. Once you’ve applied the final layer, make sure that nothing should be mushy and shakeable, and everything should be flat. With this, you should now have your gravel driveway.
Now that you have your gravel driveway, it’s time to clean up. Sweep up the dust, remove any and all kinds of obstruction, put away the tools, and remove any markers you may still have along the driveway.
You have now created your own driveway, either with the help of friends and family or on your own. Whether it’s a group accomplishment or a solo project, the most important thing is to avoid rushing the process. Also, it helps to start and finish the project between late spring and early autumn when the weather is warmer and drier.
Making sure you have the right tools, and gravel type is vital. Grabco can provide all your aggregate and gravel needs. Make sure to contact them to find out about all the different types of gravel they offer.