DIY Stone Driveway Project

Who doesn’t want a killer driveway? 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 paved with driveway rocks, or flagstone driveways.

What Are Driveway Stones?

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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 added 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 used 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 Driveway Rock Base?

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You can always just use gravel for your driveway or patio, but even if you add something else, driveway rock can be used as 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 picked out 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 mentioned 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 can be used too.

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 Driveway Stone

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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.

Step 1: Prepare Land

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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 

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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

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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

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Before laying the stones out, you actually want to add gravel and level it out. The gravel should not be sloped. 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 secured 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. 

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

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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, it should be said that after each step during this driveway process that you 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

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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! 

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