DIY Stone Driveway Project

A stone driveway is high-end. Not only does it look amazing on your property, but guests will appreciate having a space to invite them in. A good driveway makes for a warm welcome every time. 

Now there are many different types of driveways you can choose from and it’s all about personal preference. But today, we’re going to talk about driveways with driveway rocks, or flagstone driveways.

What Is A Stone Driveway?

Stone Driveway

Driveway stones can refer to multiple different things. The same goes for driveway rock. They can both refer to driveway gravel, paver stones, or rocks to the perimeter around your driveway. The terms are not exclusive. 

Today, when we say driveway rock or driveway stone, we are generally referring to flagstones which are often to pave patios and driveways. They aren’t the only option and our tips will help you with other driveway rock too.

What Gravel For A Stone Driveway Rock Base?

driveway rock

You can always just use gravel for your driveway or patio, but even if you add something else, driveway rock can be for a base anyway. If you do use gravel then you need to add a weed barrier as well.

The trouble with using gravel is that most people don’t realize the best types of gravel to use. While you can pretty much use any type of gravel, we have some of the best choices for your driveway. 

Base Gravel

Base gravel is a great option that consists of a recipe made specifically for a gravel base. The stone is usually fairly small and the package is a mixture of multiple different rocks to give your base a good mix.

Base gravel comes in multiple sizes. The size is usually on the bag but it also will have a number that can help you find it. A number three base gravel is a safe choice though number two is okay.

Crushed Stone

Crushed stone is man-made gravel created by taking larger stones and crushing them to create a finer mixture of rock. It is often used to make cement and concrete as an aggregate but it can also be used alone.

Oftentimes, crushed stone is made from leftover stone used for other projects. It’s a waste-free method of creating gravel that can be used for other purposes. It’s also a good choice if it is available. 

Lava Rocks

Lava rocks are just about what they sound like. They are rocks that are originally found near volcanic areas. Although they are more expensive than other rocks, they are often preferred due to the benefits they offer. 

Lava rocks can regulate temperatures and deter weed growth. They are great for bottom layers too and can even keep the driveway at a good temperature. So they are almost magical compared to other gravel. 

River Rock

River rocks are very versatile and gorgeous. Each rock is smooth, symmetrical, and attractive. They are even more versatile than pea gravel because they are larger and safer. They can be expensive, however.

So most people tend to use them for the top layer and use cheaper alternatives for the bottom layers of their driveway. However, you can use them for both layers if you prefer and can afford the price difference. 

Decomposed Granite 

Decomposed granite is a natural derivative of granite. This is a crushed version of granite countertops and it works great for walkways and driveways. It is a little expensive but it can be used for a pretty top layer.

This type of driveway rock is very small and flaky. It won’t be found in large pieces but is rather sandy. It is great for packing but will need a larger gravel rock to accompany it if you want it to drain well.

Pea Gravel

Pea gravel is larger than decomposed granite and is one of the most popular types of landscaping rocks or driveway rocks. You can use it for any layer that you wish and even let the driveway continue to a patio.

Because it is a great transition rock, it is often the only one that you need for your driveway or yard. If you keep one type of gravel around in the shed for other projects, then pea gravel is your best choice. 

How To Lay A Stone Driveway

Cut Around Grass
Project from Markdevlinn

We all want that perfect driveway. Sometimes, that seems unattainable. After all, laying driveway stones may seem overwhelming at first, and hiring someone to do it for you can be pricey. But it turns out, there is a way to DIY this thing.

Stone Driveway Steps 1-5

Step 1: Prepare Land

Prepare Land

The first thing you want to do when laying driveway rock is to prepare your land. This differs depending on what type of land you start out with but you still need to prepare it no matter what its condition may be.

If you have a paved driveway already then you need to take a jackhammer to it and pull everything up. Clear whatever is there out until you are left with nothing but dirt. This will be your starting point. 

Step 2: Lay Utilities And Excavate 

Cut Around Grass

After you have a dirt base, you can lay any utilities that you have. You want to have easy access to the utilities but you won’t be able to have immediate access to them. So make sure they are done correctly and are protected. 

You also need to plan depth at this point. If the area is in its own area without surrounding ground then you don’t need to dig down. Otherwise, dig down the depth of the driveway stones and gravel base.

Step 3: Level Land

Cut Around Grass

Now is the time to make sure your land is level. Choose your starting point and ensure that everything is flat. Then, from there, plan your drainage system. You want everything sloping away from the house.

The slope should be just enough to drain but not enough to set someone off balance. A good rule of thumb is at least one inch per ten feet but no more than one inch per five feet. Otherwise, someone could fall. 

Step 4: Lay Stones Out

Lay Stones Out

Before laying the stones out, you actually want to add gravel and level it out. The gravel should not be on a slope. The gravel should be flat all the way across both ways. Lay a weed barrier under it then add the gravel.

Then, you can lay out the stones. They don’t need to be secure yet, you just need to plan out the puzzle. So lay each stone out and make sure everything is lining up correctly. Then take one of the stones away.

Step 5: Secure Stones

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Take that stone you remove and add some mixed concrete in its spot. This step is actually optional but it’s preferable if you want to have a secure driveway. Which you probably do since you will be driving on it.

If you don’t have any utilities underneath the area then you aren’t losing anything securing the stones. Secure them one by one by adding concrete and sticking the stones down. Then let the concrete dry. 

Stone Driveway Steps 6-10

Step 6: Add Sand

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After the concrete has dried and you know that everything is level, you can add sand. This will create a level area for you to work with. If you aren’t adding anything else, you can make it flush with the top of the rocks.

Step 7: Clean

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If you are adding something else to the top, then you will need to brush away the sand and dig down a bit. Just enough to make sure the next layer that you add has enough room. It should be a couple of inches.

There are many options to choose from for that top layer. You can add more gravel if you choose which is a safe and easy option. But there is a more unique option that looks absolutely amazing.

Step 8: Lay Out Grass

Cut Around Grass

This option is grass. You can add any type of grass that you want but some type of already formed turf is best. Fake grass is super easy to take care of and remove whenever you need to make repairs underneath.

Now, after each step during this driveway process, tamp down the area. This should be done first thing, then again after you add gravel, then again after you add sand, and so on.

Step 9: Cut Around Grass

Cut Around Grass

After you lay out a piece of turf, you can cut around it to fit it over the rock. Use clippers of any kind that can cut through the grass evenly. This part will take time so it’s best to have someone on hand to help make the process move faster.

Step 10: Enjoy Your Stone Driveway! 

Cut Around Grass

Now that you’ve finished adding turf, you’re good to go. The driveway should be ready right away. If you tamp it good then you can drive on it without the driveway moving much but make sure you are the first to test it!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How Much Stone Do I Need For My Driveway?

Calculating the amount of stone you need for the driveway depends on the size of the stone. The more symmetrical the stones are, the easier it will be. Plan them out on paper and lay them out before you begin.

How Much Does A Stone Driveway Cost?

Depending on the type of stone you use, a stone driveway will cost an average of $2 to $5 per square foot. If you do the work yourself, the cost will be much less as labor is half the cost of installing a stone driveway.

Is A Stone Driveway Cheaper Than Asphalt? 

Gravel is the cheapest type of driveway. As far as stone vs asphalt goes, the cost is similar. The difference is that the big machinery that you need for asphalt can add to the cost. 

How Do I Edge A Stone Driveway?

Unlike gravel, stone driveways do not need edging. But feel free to add it. Railroad tiles and oblong stones can be good for edging a stone driveway. For a cheap and easy option, use CMUs.

How Long Does A Stone Driveway Last? 

A stone driveway can last up to 100 years if taken care of. Driveways in mild climates will last longer on average than those with flooding and ice on a regular basis.

Is A Stone Driveway Different Than A Gravel Driveway?

Yes. A stone driveway uses larger stones that pave the pathway. But a gravel driveway uses gravel that is poured over the area. Gravel is cheaper but stone is high-end. 

Hiring A Professional To Lay A Stone Driveway

If you don’t have the time or resources to build your own stone driveway, that’s okay. Hire a professional to do it for you. It is worth the time and money to do so as they can get the project done.

A stone driveway doesn’t take long for a contractor to build. They can get all of the materials and work with you to build your dream driveway. The driveway will last for years to come.