Tips for Building a Great Gravel Driveway

gravel gate before and after

Do you want to build a great gravel driveway? If you do, you should know that planning things out is really the best way to ensure a superb end result. In other words, don’t rush into things if you’ve never created one of these types of driveways before. Instead, slow down, think about everything that you’ll need to know, buy and do and then go from there…

Think About Driveway Dimensions

gravel driveway brick after

You should think about where your driveway will be. Where is the best place for it? Also, what shape should it have? We recommend bordering the space with string attached to wooden spikes which are pushed into the ground and then measuring the dimensions. Measure with care, as you’re going to have to buy materials based on those measurements. Double or triple-check your numbers. Once you have them, keep them in a safe place.

Consider Preparation Tasks

In general, these driveways are made by clearing grass and topsoil from spaces. For every three inches of gravel that you plan to lay down, you should dig up three inches of topsoil. Some people use three layers, which means nine inches of topsoil removal. So, you’ll need to do the clearing somehow, by hand, with a shovel and wheelbarrow, or with a backhoe.

Next, you’ll need to create a border for your driveway if you want one. Make it from large stones, wood or bricks. Whatever works for you. If you don’t want a border, no problem. Some people don’t bother and that’s fine.

After you do this, you’ll need to place an underlayer, which may be plastic sheeting or an adequate number of plastic paving grids. Plastic paving grids have real benefits. They deter weeds like plastic sheeting does, but also make the driveway a lot stronger, which plastic sheeting doesn’t do. Also, they help to ensure a nice, level finish.

So, consider tools that you’ll need for all of this, as well as supplies. For example, you will need a rake for smoothing the gravel over the underlayer, etc.

Now, it’s time to do a detailed costing…

Make a Solid, Realistic Budget

A budget for this type of job will vary, based on dimensions of a proposed driveway, as well as how many layers of gravel will be put down. For maximum weed deterrence, consider at least five inches of gravel. Sit with a calculator and figure out the cost of everything that you’ll need.

Consider whether you may borrow tools if you don’t own them already. If you can’t, you may be able to rent them. If not, you’ll need to buy them, so don’t forget to add the cost of tools to your budget, on top of the cost of gravel, the underlayer and any border material.

Most people source out materials online before they actually crunch the numbers. For example, they may gather quotes from gravel supply companies and then choose the company with the best price. Also, they may compare the prices of plastic paving grids, as well as the reputations of their manufacturers. Comparison-shopping in this manner is recommended, as it will save you money.

After you get a final number, see if it’s affordable. If it works for you, order what you need online or go and get it in your community. If you’re ordering gravel, make sure that its delivery is scheduled for just the right time. Getting the gravel arranged is really important. Don’t wait until the last minute.

Start the Building Process
gravel driveway after paved

Now, you’ve got a plan and you’ve got what you need. It’s time to start clearing away grass and topsoil and creating the perfect bed for your driveway. After you do so, add your underlayer and then layer the gravel on top. Finish with a border or do the border first in order to map out the space in three dimensions.

It’s so easy to make a gravel driveway, although it always requires some sweat equity. If you’re not up to the hard physical labor, you should hire someone to do the job for you. A good contractor will build your gravel driveway according to your exact specifications.

Now is the right time to get organized. You may get the job done quickly. It’s best to do it during the spring or summer. Summer may be best as there will be less chance of rain. Avoid trying to build a gravel driveway during fall or winter, unless you live in a very warm climate.

Hopefully, this guide has given you the information that you need. We believe that do-it-yourself types can build great driveways. They don’t need to pay contractors, unless they prefer to outsource the work. With this in mind, why not sit down and plan out your gravel driveway right now? Then, build it and enjoy it.

About the Author
fergus at matgrids guest author bioMatsGrids are suppliers of Ground reinforcement systems, grass reinforcement and protection mesh for domestic and commercial landscaping projects.Our business mission is to become the UK’s leading supplier of groundworks, civils and landscaping products. Over the last few years, our company has grown to become one of the UK’s most reputable suppliers to these sectors and today we supply our range of products to thousands of businesses and end users within the UK and overseas.


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