How To Lay A Simple Gravel Path

If you’re looking to add a unique touch to your garden, a simple gravel path might be the answer.

Laying a gravel path is a relatively easy DIY project that can be completed in no time at all, even by a person with limited experience.

Not only do they look elegant, but they also require minimal maintenance, and are cost-effective.

In this guide, we will walk you through the steps involved in laying a simple gravel path.

Planning Your Gravel Path

Gravel Path Start And Finish

Before you begin, it is important to decide where your gravel path will start and finish. Once you have a general idea of the route your path will take, use a garden hose or some string to mark out the perimeter.

This will give you a good visual representation of what your finished product will look like.

Just keep in mind that that larger the gravel path, the more aggregates you will need which means spending more money.

Safety Precautions

It’s important to check for any hidden cables or pipes that may be under the area that you are planning on digging. To do this, simply use a CAT tool.

Choosing And Calculating Your Aggregates

After choosing and planning exactly where your path is going to be, the next step is to choose what kind of aggregates you want to use for the path.

Aggregates come in all kinds of different shapes, colours and sizes. It’s really down to personal preference, as well as would colour what match or work with other elements in your garden.

Here’s a list of some of the decorative aggregates we supply:

Take a look at our full range of decorative aggregates here and choose the most suitable one for your project.

Calculating the amount of aggregates you will need for your gravel path is extremely important. Ordering too much will lead to wastage in both aggregates and money. Ordering too little can again, lead to spending more money due to the cost of additional deliveries.

Choosing The Edging

When it comes to edging, there are a number of different options. Let’s take a look.

  • Stone: You can use any type of stone to border a path.
  • Metal: Produces a clean and almost borderless look.
  • Brick: Traditional style brick finish.

How To Lay A Simple Gravel Path: Step-By-Step

Step 1: Marking & Preparation


The first step is to mark out exactly where you would like your path to go. There are a number of ways you can do this:

  • String
  • Rope
  • Line-marking paint
  • Garden hose

Step 2: Digging


Use a square edge spade to ensure the sides of your path are straight. Remove any turf and top soil and dig the trench to around 10cm to 15cm (4 – 6 inches). The overall depth will depend upon the condition of the soil.

It’s a good idea to occasionally check the depth of the trench during the digging process. The bottom of the trench should then be smoothed over using a steel rake, then compact using a flattening tool such as a hand tamper.

Step 3: Install the Edging


As previously mentioned, there are a number of different options you can use to border both sides of your path.

  • Stone: For a smooth appearance, the stones should be fitted tightly together.
  • Metal Edging: Anchor with metal stakes and set the metal edging around 1 inch higher than the actual path. A circular saw can be used t cut the metal edging to the required size.
  • Brick: You can either set the bricks flat on the ground, or upright at an angle. To ensure the bricks stay in place, you can use soil and gravel to surround them.

Step 4: Add Crushed Stone


You can now line the bottom of the trench with around 10cm of hardcore crushed stone. This crushed stone will go on top of the compacted soil from one of the earlier steps.

Dampen the crushed stone with a garden hose then use either a plate compactor or a sledge hammer to ensure the crushed stone is compacted.

Step 5: Add A Weed Resistant Membrane


Adding a membrane into the base of the trench will prevent gravel from mixing in with the hardcore, as well as prevent weeds from growing through into the gravel.

Step 6: Fill the Path with Gravel


You are now finally ready to add the gravel to your path by shoveling on to the membrane. Stop when the gravel reaches around an inch before the top of the edging.

Make sure that the coverage is distributed evenly by using a rake.

Gravel Path Maintenance

Although a gravel path is very low maintenance, there are still a number of maintenance tips you can follow to ensure your gravel path has a long lasting life.

  • It’s a good idea to maintain an even surface by raking the aggregates as regular as possible.
  • Fill any pot holes with fresh new gravel, as and when needed. Just make sure to keep some spare gravel available ready fro when you need it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Need A Base For Gravel Path?

A practical gravel path will have people walking on it, and will therefore need a firm and level base.

What Should I Put Down Before Laying Gravel?

As well as hardcore crushed stone, a weed suppressing membrane will also need to be placed in the trench before placing the gravel on top.

What Depth Should A Gravel Path Be?

The depth of a gravel path should be around 10cm to 15cm (4 – 6 inches).


How To Lay A Simple Gravel Path Conclusion

The key to laying a gravel path is planning. Decide where you want your path to go, and check for hidden cables or pipes before you start the digging process.

Mark out the area and make sure you have all of the required tools and materials at hand which will make the overall process easier.

Have you ever had a go at laying a gravel path, or have any tips and tricks that we haven’t shared in this guide. Let us know in the comments section below.

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