The best gravels for driveways have evolved to be not only durable but also stylish. There are now many different varieties of gravel driveways available that are more than just functional; they’re also decorative.
Despite the numerous benefits of gravel driveways, some varieties still have vulnerabilities. First and foremost among these is that the driveway will eventually begin to sink as your car passes over it, repeating this many times.
If you plan on installing a gravel driveway, here are the best materials for the job and what alternatives exist when stability is not possible.
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Best Surface Gravel for Driveaway
When it comes to building the base of a driveway, you have a variety of options. When it comes to creating the surface, there is more variation when picking out the gravel.
Many of the other choices for so-called gravel driveway surfaces are crushed stone #411, quarry process, pea gravel, jersey shore gravel, marble chips, and river rock. These are considered the best options as they have small stones combined with rock dust, making a more solid driving surface.
1. Crushed Stone
Crushed stone refers to a mixture of rocks and sand. Different types are made specifically for driveways, with different levels of coarseness, colors, and sizes.
Gravel driveways can be made of various materials, but the crushed stone is one of the most popular, making it an excellent option. Crushed stone is durable and affordable, and you can use it for any layer in your gravel driveway. You need to know what size chart to use before you get started.
The #57 crushed stone is the most popular type of crushed stone. (It promotes good drainage and prevents the rocks from sticking together when it acts as a secondary layer for gravel.) It might also be used as part of concrete mix, for drainage, or to shape landscaping.
Some people like the smaller and finer texture of #411 crushed stone for their driveways. It is a mix of coarse gravel dust and #57 stones. Because it is finer, it forms a stable surface that vehicles can easily traverse across.
2. Quarry Process
This type of stone is also known as “crusher run,” and it works well for both driveways and walkways. It’s made from crushed stones.
You should know that flat stone dust can be used to make a solid surface for your driveway. The slope of the surface must face towards the drive sides so that rainwater will drain away from your home.
3. Pea Gravel
Pea shingle is made up of small, smooth stones that are perfect for forming the top layer of a gravel driveway. The pea shingle has a smoother texture than the larger rocks, creating a better surface and works well with more contemporary designs.
While pea gravel can come in various colors, its round shape makes it difficult to keep as an important part of your vehicle’s tire tread. Drive close to the edges or add an exterior edging if you want your pea gravel around physical structures.
4. Jersey Shore Gravel
This type of stone is primarily composed of mulch with brown, tan, white, and yellow. They are similar to pea gravel since they need barriers or stabilizing pavers to prevent them from spreading.
5. Marble Chips
Marble chips are white and sparkle in the sunlight, often more expensive than other types of gravel. However, marble chips add aesthetics to your driveway’s perimeter. They also require an edging or stabilizing border to prevent them from spreading away or washing off with rainwater.
6. Blackstar Or Blackstrap Rock
A gravel driveway has angular grains, which is an excellent choice for stabilizing the grid paving system. This provides your home with not only an attractive driveway but one that is durable and beautiful.
Gravel Driveway Edging
A gravel driveway can be enhanced by adding an edging material. Popular choices for driveways are pavers or blocks, but cement is sometimes used as well. Edging is also useful in holding the crushed stone and pea stone in place rather than spreading it onto the yard.
A driveway requires excavation of a wide enough area to accommodate edging materials. First, dig and pour the base material, which should be at least as wide as the excavated area, and compact it throughout. Next, attach edging materials to both sides of the excavated area. Lastly, install top layers of gravel and compact these areas tightly together before installing.
There are various kinds of edging that you can choose from and install in your driveway. Each will give it a unique color or design. You can choose from the following:
This technique uses traditional materials such as brick or pencil graphite to run along the driveway edges. Holding in place and adding a finishing touch, this edging will not detract from the curb appeal but rather complement it with its beauty.
Seeding your driveway in this manner is eye-catching and offers more structure than a typical lawn. These plants are easy to find anywhere, and they only need minimal maintenance throughout their lifetime.
This is an inexpensive way to edge your lawn, and in the event you are no longer satisfied with the look, you can conceal it by planting flowers.
Plants And Shrubs
Landscaping your driveway can beautify the entire property if you choose the right plants. Low-growing shrubs with shallow roots are a good choice for this environment since they have fewer troubles getting water and nutrients affecting their growth.
Combination Gravel Driveway Edging
The front area of your home is a great place to add personalized style. Decorating your driveway with brick that fades into railroad tile and ends in plants outside the door can provide an individualized touch, as well as guiding where visitors can and cannot park in the yard if you allow it.
Gravel Driveway Hardener
In some cases, people recommend adding cement to the top layer of your home driveway. This makes it hard and minimizes dust generation.
It’s easy to use too much concrete and create a mess, so proceed cautiously. When you want a sidewalk or driveway with the appearance of rocks, try adding resin-bonded or resin-bound gravel.
Gravel Driveway Grid
If you want to minimize gravel shifting and reduce the need for regular maintenance, some experts recommend a gravel grid.
The stones are covered with the grid, which is made of heavy-duty plastic. The stones stay in place while lying on top of the grid.
Gravel Driveway Drainage
Gravel has a vulnerability to water and its effects. The pressure from standing water can undermine the quality of gravel by softening and weakening it with clay and dust. Running water or a sudden flood can wash away the softer types of gravel.
Here’s how you can ensure good drainage along your gravel driveway.
- Driveways are designed with a slight slope in the middle (or one side higher than the other) that allows water to flow away from your house.
- A raised driveway must be built so that the lowest edge is higher than or level with the surrounding landscape, so there won’t be a water channel from which erosion can occur.
- Installing a French drain system using 4″ or 6″ perforated pipe in trenches alongside the driveway or from low-lying areas away from the drive alleviates standing water issues.
- A steel or heavy-gauge plastic water diversion channel is buried in the gravel surface of a driveway to carry any runoff away from low areas and across the high side of a drive.
Gravel Driveway Installation
The first step in installing a gravel driveway is breaking up the asphalt or cement that currently exists. This may entail jackhammering and hauling away all of it before replacing it with gravel.
If you are building a new driveway where there was previously nothing, use string and wood stakes to create the dimensions.
If you don’t have the time or strength to carefully dig up your driveway by hand, be wise and pay someone with a bulldozer to do it quickly for you.
Second, if you need to level your driveway and there is no hard and level surface, you will need a backhoe to compact the ground.
To level your soil without a backhoe, you may need to use a tamper or plate compactor. A tamper is a handheld tool with a long handle and heavy plate, which is manually lifted and placed on soft ground.
You can rent a gas-powered compactor at your local home improvement store to ensure that the mixture of sand and cement gets compressed down to make it even and dense.
Compacting your soil is an effective way of reducing the effects of seasonally dependent weather changes on your gravel drive.
The third step is optional – weeding. Landscape fabric can be installed in layers over the entire surface of the future driveway, though this method does not eliminate all plants.
After you’ve made a decision on the best type of material for your driveway, orders will need to be scheduled for three deliveries: one for each gravel type.
Plan your furniture unpacking process. Within a few days of arrival, the base layer should arrive. After that, the middle layer can be scheduled, followed by top-layer delivery shortly thereafter for when everything is in place and ready to use.
Some gravel suppliers will deliver the material in wheelbarrows, while others can provide a truck that spreads the gravel. Inquire before ordering if you can substitute, remove or modify ingredients.
If you want a gravel surface with the texture and permanence of concrete, use a backhoe to roll over the top layer each time. After that, it’s imperative to keep the surface level by spreading/compressing new layers of gravel evenly.
Once you have finished applying the last layer of gravel to your driveway, you are ready for crowning.
String strands of metal rake teeth to shape the top layer of gravel so that it’s higher in the middle and slopes ever-so-gently toward either side. Every few months, repeat this process to ensure drainage.
Every time you drive onto your driveway, spend some time tidying up the edges of it with small stones before they gradually move to other areas.
Gravel Driveway Common Questions
How Deep Should A Gravel Driveway Be?
Gravel driveways should have deep layers of gravel, a base layer with four inches, and a top layer with 12 inches. The middle layer can be less than four inches if desired.
Shovel 12 inches into your lawn of the top layer of gravel.
How Long Do Gravel Driveways Last?
A: If you have a gravel driveway, it can be maintained for up to 100 years with routine maintenance. The more frequently, the better and will require new gravel every 1-2 years, depending on use.
Is It Really Important To Level And Compact The Driveway?
A: Yes, Skipping this step may seem harmless now, but the gravel will eventually develop potholes and tight joints and result in a messy driveway.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Gravel Driveways?
A: Gravel driveways may seem more appealing at first, but they are not accessible for individuals in wheelchairs or those that use mobility aids. They can be difficult to plow, and the stones stick to the snow.
How much do gravel driveways cost?
One cost-effective option is gravel for roadways. The price will depend on the materials used, but it’s a good idea to invest in quality stones early and often to avoid long-term maintenance or replacements.
One example is our beautiful Cotswold Gold 20mm paving, the gravel required for a 6x4m driveway at a depth of 5cm will require 3 bulk bags, each costing £99.72.
Best Type Of Gravel For Muddy Driveway
If you’re looking to minimize the risk of your driveway getting muddy, then gravel without sand or stone dust is often recommended. Gravel with rocks that are at least 1½“ in diameter and that touch each other will create a firm surface for driveways regardless of any rain or mud.
How Can I Keep Gravel On My Driveway?
To prevent your driveway from becoming a minefield, consider using rock edging or a border. Planting a few inches of heavy gravel on either side of the driveway should keep stones in place to prevent them from getting washed away by the bottom layer.
Crushed Asphalt Vs. Gravel Driveway
One benefit of crushed asphalt is that it produces less dust than gravel. Crushed asphalt is composed of recycled materials, which may be critical for eco-conscious consumers seeking sustainable solutions.
How Can I Fix A Gravel Driveway That Is Overgrown With Grass?
If you haven’t been taking care of your gravel driveway, the lawn has likely tried to creep in. Try natural plant killers first, such as white vinegar mixed with liquid dish soap. If this doesn’t work, move on to chemical weed killers.
How To Fix Potholes In Gravel Driveway?
If you want to avoid potholes, it is best to act early quickly. If only the top layer of gravel has sunken in and act. As a result, they can be fixed easily by raking back the gravel that has sunk into place.
Add gravel slowly if you need to fill deep potholes. If the problem is not dealt with soon, the road will become uneven and require work in other layers of tar or asphalt. Once that has happened, it becomes more difficult to correct because larger stones are required and are too heavy for manual repairs.
Gravel Driveway Ideas
Gravel Driveway Framed With Aromatic Lavender Bushes
Imagine pulling up this driveway in your convertible. The smell of lavender would hit you immediately, and relaxation would follow suit. Borders cut the care required for a garden significantly because they are so neat without looking too rigid or too perfect.
There are many reasons why lavender is one of the most popular plants in gardens. It has a beautiful appearance, making it perfect for landscaping, and its scent will keep your home smelling pleasant.
Judiciously Placed Boulders
If you are a fan of big rocks, then this is the project for you. Large boulders have been put in place to retain walls and a border near the gravel driveway. This project requires some heavy equipment because it takes great effort to move these large boulders into place. The result looks terrific, though!
Natural Stone Edging For Gravel Driveway
Natural stone naturally looks at home in a rural or suburban landscape. These stones are being used for edging to hold the gravel and keep it from littering the lawn or garden beds, and keeping it neat and tidy.
Edge Gravel Driveway With Vertical Brick
In this gravel car park area, the edges have been lined with bricks. Rather than laying them in a horizontal or longways pattern, as is common among many homeowners, the homeowner arranged the brick vertically to make it a more prominent part of his property.
Yes, this requires more bricks, but you get a wider border that makes for a nice effect. We also see the use of a low shrub wall in green at the edge of the brick.
Estate Brown Gravel Driveway
The estate’s driveway, covered with small limestone rocks called “birdshot,” crosses under a 1940s stone arch bridge on your way in. The stones were quarried from Tennessee just north of Nashville and used to construct the bridge.
It crosses a natural stream of the adjacent property that originates from an ancient stone spring.
Gravel Driveway With Beautiful Low Flowering Plants
In this brick house of tan-colored bricks, small pea gravel creates a clean and attractive driveway. Along the edges of the drive, various flowering shrubs are planted to act as ornamental green edging for the lawn. This will make it look nice and give it color.
Modern Gravel Driveway Ideas On A Slope
One of the most popular driveway design trends is concrete pavers, which give a spacious feel to the property. An exposed gravel slope in the drive also adds to this feeling of space but ensures it has an appropriate grade for safety.
Gravel Driveway Edging Ideas
The gravel driveway is an economical and attractive option. For that reason, you should opt for it. You can use concrete bricks to add character and grow grass to complete the look of your property’s landscape.
Keep Gravel In Place On Driveway
There was a tree next to the house before it was built, so the original owner put a gravel driveway around it. The owner used liquid asphalt to keep tar and chip in place.
Pale Beige Loose Gravel Driveway With The Mustard Yellow House
The pale beige loose gravel driveway complements the mustard-yellow house, and it makes you feel warm right away. The green plants make a nice contrast with the orange color of both the driveway and the house.
Driveway Ideas On A Budget
Are you a fan of simple, rustic style? Creating a driveway with loose gravel can give your home a look and feel of an ancient town. It’s also cheaper than other options and lasts long after installation.
Resin-Bound Gravel Driveway On Cheshire residence
Barnes Walker, a landscape architect, designed the exterior of this restored Cheshire home. One solution was to create a gravel-bound driveway that eliminates mud as an issue for families with children.
Sand Coloured Gravel Driveway
The sand-colored gravel surrounding the home enhances the quaint feeling of this traditional border oak home in surrey.
Golden Corn Flint Gravel Driveway By Stone Warehouse
Stone Warehouse supplies Golden Corn Flint Gravel for a domestic driveway application.