How To Lay And Maintain A Gravel Driveway – Easy Step-By-Step

Gravel driveways are becoming extremely popular in the UK which a great addition to any home.

Not only does it provide a good surface for parking and driving, but it also looks great and is relatively easy to install.

It also has many other benefits such as the gravels ability to filter water into the ground which can reduce the risk of flooding.

In this complete guide, we’ll show you how to lay a gravel driveway from start to finish, as well as how to clean and maintain it.

So if you’re thinking of adding a gravel driveway to your home, read on!

What Is A Gravel Driveway?

If you’re looking for a driveway that is both affordable and low maintenance, gravel might be the perfect option for you.

A gravel driveway is a type of driveway made from small, loose stones which are much easier to work with than asphalt or concrete.

Despite these benefits, gravel driveways do have some drawbacks. For example, they need to be regularly graded and can be susceptible to washing out in heavy rains.

Overall, gravel driveways are a popular choice among homeowners for a variety of reasons – they’re affordable, low maintenance, and look great!

Especially when using decorative stones. So if you’re thinking of upgrading your driveway, give gravel a try!

Gravel driveway Advantages

There are many benefits when it comes to using gravel for a driveway. let’s take a look in more detail.

  1. Cost-effective: Gravel is a relatively inexpensive material, making it a cost-effective option for driveway installation. It is significantly less expensive than paving a driveway with asphalt or concrete.
  2. Low maintenance: Gravel driveways require very little maintenance. They do not require regular sealing or repaving and only need to be resealed every three to five years. Also, they are not prone to cracking or chipping as opposed to concrete or asphalt driveways.
  3. Versatile: Gravel driveways come in a wide variety of colours and sizes, making it easy to find a type of gravel that will complement the aesthetic of your property.
  4. Easy to repair: Gravel driveways can be easily repaired by simply adding more gravel to any low spots or potholes. They can be extended or repaired quickly and easily.
  5. Permeable: Gravel driveways are permeable, which means they allow water to filter through to the ground. This helps to prevent water from pooling on the surface and reduces the risk of flooding.
  6. Long-lasting: Gravel driveways can last for many years with proper maintenance. They can withstand heavy traffic and extreme weather conditions.
  7. Environmentally friendly: Gravel driveways are an environmentally friendly option because they are made from natural materials and are permeable, which helps to reduce runoff and prevent erosion.

Getting Started

Getting started on your gravel driveway can seem daunting, but with the help of this guide, it will be a breeze.

Before we go into the step-by-step process of how to lay a gravel driveway, here are some important points to plan and consider first.

Safety Precautions

In order to safely undertake any job, it is important to take some basic precautions.

  • Be sure to call your local utility company before you dig any holes and be careful of power lines that might be in the area. You could also hire a CAT scanner from a local hire shop.
  • Ensure that you invest in appropriate safety gear such as gloves, a dust mask and safety glasses while working with large stones or heavy materials.

Required Materials

When it comes to making a driveway, there are a few materials you will need.

  • High quality gravel or decorative gravel
  • MOT type 1
  • Weed prevention membrane
  • Sand and cement
  • Decorative boulders (optional)

Required Tools List

When it comes to laying a gravel driveway, there are some basic tools you will need.

  • Long tape measure
  • Spirit level
  • Shovels and spades
  • String and wooden pegs (for alignment)
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Excavator
  • Wacker-plate
  • A rake
  • Safety clothing and equipment

Hire A Skip

When laying a new driveway, it is important to hire a skip in order to get rid of any existing waste and rubble. This will make the job much easier and faster, as you won’t have to sift through all the debris yourself.

How To Lay A Gravel Driveway

Once you have gone through all of the above steps, conducted the safety steps and have all of the tools and materials required, you are now ready to start on your driveway.

Here we will show you a step-by-step process on how t lay a gravel driveway.

Step 1: Measure out your driveway / Calculate Gravel

Before graveling your driveway, it is important to take a few necessary steps. Firstly, order enough gravel so that you have enough for the job – this will save you time and hassle later on.

Secondly, measure out the width and length of your driveway using measurements taken from a tape measure. Lastly, use a gravel calculator to calculate how much gravel you’ll need for each section of your driveway.

Calculating the amount of gravel to use on your driveway is very important. Ordering too much gravel means wastage, and ordering too little means spending more money on additional delivery costs.

The three measurements required are:

  1. Length
  2. Width
  3. Depth

Once you have the measurements, simply take these numbers and input them into our gravel aggregates calculator.

As a rough guide, 1 bulk bag of gravel will cover a 10m² area if that area has a depth of 50mm.

Step 2: Choose Your Gravel

When it comes to driveway gravel, there are many options available. It is important to pick the right one for your needs, so make sure you consider the size and colour of gravel as well as how much traffic your driveway will get.

14mm or 20mm gravel is usually a good option for a driveway. Anything smaller than this will get stuck in the car tyres and the bottom of your shoes. This can be annoying as you will constantly keep finding pieces of gravel around your home.

Choosing a durable option is also important – after all, this surface will see plenty of wear and tear over time!

We usually do not recommend materials such as rounded pebbles as they move around pretty easily when moving the car on and off of the driveway.

Two types of gravel that we highly recommend are Cotswold gravel and golden gravel which look extremely stylish.

Step 3: Choose The Edging For Your Gravel Driveway

Choosing the right edging for your gravel driveway is essential in ensuring its long-term durability, as well as looking aesthetically pleasing to fit in with the design.

There are a few options available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Concrete is by far the most popular edging material due to its durability and low cost. However, concrete can be very expensive to install, especially if you’re doing it yourself.

Pavers are another popular option as they come in many different styles and colors that match most homes. They also have a natural look that some people prefer over concrete or other materials.

Bricks and stones make an interesting border but may not be ideal for rain or snow runoff because of their heavy weight.

If you live in a cold climate, brick or stone edges may crack during winter weather conditions due to freezing temperatures affecting the mortar between bricks/stones etc.

Choosing the correct colour is also important to ensure it compliments your chosen colour scheme.

Step 4: Dig The Area

To ensure a smooth driveway, start by digging out the area where you want it. This will require a little hard work where you may be removing turf, topsoil and other materials.

The depth of gravel will depend on its size and how deep you want your driveway to be.

The depth will generally be between 50mm to 200mm. 150mm of this will be the sub-base, leaving 50mm for the actual gravel itself.

Step 5: Laying The Sub-Base

How To Lay A Gravel Driveway mot type 1

The base layer is a very important step, and the foundation of a gravel driveway and therefore should be done correctly.

The gravel sub-base should be made up of MOT Type 1 hardcore which means it’s crushed concrete, stone or hardcore that’s been screened so that all fines – the bits that turn to mud when wet – are removed.

The remaining stones will then range in size from 60mm down to 20mm in diameter.

MOT Type 1 is available from our online shop here at TW Aggregates.

Here is the correct procedure:

  • Add the MOT type 1 sub-base: Around 150mm deep
  • Rake the sub-base
  • Check the depth and level: For this you will be using a spirit level and wooden peg.
  • Compact the area: Use the wacker-plate over the entire area at least twice. Before laying additional materials like tarmac, paving, or asphalt, a wacker plate is utilized to build a level and compact sub base.

You may find some dips in the area. If you do, simply add more MOT, wacker it down, and then check the levels again.

Step 6: Add A Layer Of Weed Membrane

It is important to add a layer of weed prevention membrane to gravel driveways in order to prevent weeds from growing through.

The weed membranes are easy to apply, just simply lay them over the entire surface of the compacted MOT type 1. Make sure you overlap the edges by at least 6 inches.

For gravel driveways, we recommend a heavy duty and heard wearing weed membrane such as a polypropylene.

Step 7: Add your decorative gravel

Adding decorative gravel to your driveway is a great way to add color and texture. By using a plate compactor, you’ll be able to compact the gravel into a solid base for your driveway.

Spread it evenly across the surface with a shovel or rake, then have some fun adding the rocks yourself! Whatever type of gravel you choose, make sure that it’s compactible so that it doesn’t move around once installed.

As previously mentioned, the decorative gravel will be at a depth of 50mm (5cm). As a final touch, you can wash away all of the dust and dirt using a hose.

How to clean and maintain a gravel driveway

Cleaning and maintaining a gravel driveway is important to keep it looking good and functioning properly.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to clean and maintain a gravel driveway:

  1. Regularly remove debris: Use a rake or leaf blower to remove leaves, twigs, and other debris that may have accumulated on the driveway. This will help to prevent the buildup of mold and mildew, as well as prevent the growth of weeds.
  2. Remove stains: If there are any stains on the driveway, such as oil or rust stains, use a pressure washer or a cleaning solution specifically designed for removing stains on gravel driveways. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area before using it on the entire driveway.
  3. Check for erosion: Periodically check for erosion or washouts, especially after heavy rains or snow melts. If you notice any areas where the gravel has washed away, fill them in with additional gravel.
  4. Re-grade and re-compact: Every few years, re-grade and re-compact the gravel to ensure that it is level and properly drained. This will help to prevent the formation of puddles or washouts and will also help to keep the gravel looking neat and tidy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What depth should gravel be for driveway?

It’s recommended that the layer of gravel should be at least 50mm (5cm).

Do you need a membrane under a gravel driveway?

A weed membrane placed between the sub-base and top layer of gravel is highly recommended to prevent the growth of weeds which means less maintenance for yourself.

How do I keep my gravel from moving?

Using plastic permeable pavers act like borders and are a highly effective and low-maintenance way of preventing gravel from moving.

How To Lay And Maintain A Gravel Driveway Conclusion

A gravel driveway is a great option for those looking for a low-maintenance option. With some basic care, a gravel driveway can last for years.

Follow the steps in this guide to get started on your own gravel driveway. Be sure to clean and maintain your driveway regularly to keep it looking its best.

Have you successfully created a gravel driveway? Let us know your experience plus any additional tips you may have in the comments section below.

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