Building a Gravel Driveway
How to Build a Gravel Driveway to Last for
By: Mark J. Donovan
Paving a long driveway can be very expensive. Consequently many homeowners
with long driveway entrances choose to build a gravel driveway instead. Building
a gravel driveway costs significantly less money, and in many cases a handy do
it yourself homeowner can tackle this type of project. To build a gravel
driveway a small bulldozer or bobcat is required. In addition, a mechanical
roller is necessary for packing the gravel. For the homeowner looking to
gravel driveway they can typically rent this type of equipment on a daily or
Building a Gravel Driveway
To build a gravel driveway you need to first start by ensuring that the soil
underneath the future driveway will be well drained. To ensure good drainage all
of the organic matter such as topsoil, leaves and sticks should be removed from
the driveway area.
Next, in order to prevent silt material that is contained in the subsoil from
working its way upwards into the gravel layers, install a geotextile filter
fabric over the subsoil.
The silt, if left unchecked, can quickly cause the gravel driveway to unpack
Once you have the geotextile filter fabric in place, cover it with a layer of
fist size stones. These stones act as the base layer for the gravel driveway.
Make sure to use angular shaped stones versus river rock stones. River rock
stones will slide on one another and not lock into place. After distributing the
stones with the bulldozer or bobcat, run the mechanical roller over them to lock
them into place.
For the next step in building your gravel driveway, add another 4 to 6 inch
layer of smaller stone over the base layer. For this second layer, use stones
that are near the size of ping pong balls or golf balls, and again make sure
they are angular in shape. Again, after distributing the stones with the
bulldozer or bobcat run the mechanical roller over them to lock them into place.
Make sure, however, to crown the gravel driveway so that the center of it is
slightly higher than the edges. This will enable water to run off of the
For the final layer of stone, apply 4 to 6 inches of ¾” size stone with stone
dust mixed in. Again, shape this layer of stone so that the gravel driveway
maintains its crown.
Finally, lock in the last layer of stone with the mechanical roller and make
sure to maintain the crown.
In total, your completed gravel driveway should consist of approximately 12 to
14 inches of stone.
With this simple process for building a gravel driveway, you should have a
driveway that will last for decades. However, keep in mind that every few years
you will need to put a little money and time into it.
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Maintaining a Gravel Driveway
Periodic gravel driveway maintenance is essential for preventing it from
slowly crumbling apart. Water runoff and automobiles can cause potholes and
gullies to form, and the gravel driveway edges to where down. Also, if you live
in a rocky and cold climate area such as northern New England, large stones
hidden under the gravel driveway often work their way to the surface. Frost
heaves push large stones upwards and cause the gravel driveway to form humps.
Maintaining a gravel driveway can be performed by a homeowner, however again a
bobcat and mechanical roller are required.
To maintain a gravel driveway you typically need to bring in additional ¾” stone
and stone dust. The new gravel has to be spread and the driveway re-graded and
crowned. In addition, any adjacent side ditches should be cleaned out and
culverts replaced or reseated if damaged or heaving, respectively. Finally, the
mechanical roller needs to lock the new gravel into place.
For help on Asphalt Driveway Paving, see HomeAdditionPlus.com's
Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid sheet. The
Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid Sheet will help
ensure that your hire the right contractor so that your driveway is paved
correctly and you get the finished driveway you are looking for.
How to Finance your Driveway or
Paving Project -
can help provide funds for your new home improvement project if financing is
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