How Gravel Driveways Are Built – The Complete Story

Gravel driveways are popular and for good reason. There are plenty of features that make them a good option in a lot of cases. For example, they are inexpensive to build compared to other types of driveways. Moreover, they are more durable and last longer than paved driveways in addition to also being more eco-friendly. But there’s more to a gravel driveway than just that. Building it is like a story and we’re about to show you the main chapters.

Beautiful house with gravel driveways

It all starts with an informed decision. So before anything else, make up your mind. Make a list of pros and cons for several types of driveways and then find the type that best suits your needs and style. If a gravel driveway is what you want, then you can start planning.{found on liquidscapes}.

How much space you can allow for gravel driveway

Planning is the first step and it involves a few things such as deciding where to place the new gravel driveway. In order to be able to better visualize it in your yard, you must also decide where you want a parking area or a circular driveway. Make the decision based on how much space you can use for this project.{found on cuppettarchitects}.

Create a small gravel driveway for a car

It’s important to also decide how large you want the driveway to be. Keep in mind that the larger it is the more inexpensive it gets. Select a size based on how many cars you use, how much space you have and the overall look you want for your property.{found on crisparchitects}.

Front yard of the house with flowers and driveway gravel

Once you have a somewhat clear imagine of the driveway you want to build, you can delineate the area with some sticks and rope. This way you can visualize it better. Use a ruler to measure the length and width so you can later on calculate how much material you need.

Beach style with gravel pathway for cars

It’s then time to calculate how much gravel you’re going to need for the driveway and to start calculating the overall cost of the project. To make a stable driveway, consider using 2 or even 3 layers of gravel.

United Kingdom House with Gravel Driveway

The first layer should be of larger-sized gravel. The stones can be as large as baseballs. The second layer needs to be of somewhat smaller-sized gravel. The one after that should be even smaller. But before you order the gravel and schedule the deliveries, you need to have a plan.{found on colincadle}.

Rancho Nuevo house with front house gravel driveway

How much of the work can you do yourself? If you want to take care of everything from start to finish, you’re going to need to find all the tools necessary for the project. Also, you might need some help during some parts. On the other hand, it would be easier for you to just hire someone for the job. Of course, this would raise the cost.{found on bianchidesign}.

1930 home outside of Boston MA

After you have everything planned out, it’s time to prep the area you’ve delineated. The top layer of the soil needs to be removed and any grass needs to be taken out as well. Depending on how many layers of gravel you want to add, you need to dig for each one. After that, the surface needs to be level so puddle can’t form on the driveway.{found on theremodelingco}.

Prevent grass to grow on the driveway

The next step is driving over the area with a bulldozer so the dirt becomes compact and ready to be covered with gravel. If you want to prevent grass and weeds from growing through the driveway, then lay down a weed barrier which is basically landscaping cloth. It lets water pass through but not weeds.

Choose to add a border to their driveways

People often also choose to add a border to their driveways. This prevents gravel from getting loose and spreading all over the yard. You can choose to line the driveway with landscaping bricks, timber or something else.{found on svdesign}.

Beautiful house with vine on facade and driveway gravel

Finally, it’s time to lay the first layer of gravel. Since this is composed of larger stones, you’ll have to make sure it’s spread evenly. After this layer is distributed, you need to compact the gravel. Drive over it with a bulldozer or a large truck. Then repeat this whole process for the second and third layer of gravel. Every time, make sure the driveway is level.

Combine gravel driveway with some bricks

At the end, have a look at the whole area. The driveway should be slightly elevated in the middle so the water can drain nicely and not form puddles. You can use a rake to get this done. Once you’re sure everything is good, you can clean the driveway.{found on encoreco}.

Tropical house exterior with gravel driveway

Now that you know how gravel driveways are built and everything such a project involves, you can start planning your own. Keep in mind that things may vary depending on the size, shape and location of your driveway.

Mid century house with a bold front door

You need to take into consideration everything else you want to have in your yard before you start building the driveway. For example, are there any trees in the area? Do you want to preserve them, embed them in the driveway or have it built around them?{found on restore818}.

Design the driveway to match the house

Design the driveway to match your house and landscape. Give it smooth and curved lines and edges if that’s a style that suits everything else or use clean lines and angles for a well-defined look that suits modern and contemporary residences. You need to find the right balance for your home.

Spanish house with gravel driveway

Circular driveways take up a lot of space so you need to decide whether you want to sacrifice all that space. This particular driveway features a beautiful tree at the center and that’s a really nice touch.

Landscape embrance the driveway

Instead of framing the driveway with bricks, you can choose to let the landscape embrace it and create a green barrier. Perhaps a low fence would look lovely or maybe you can have flower beds placed along the edges of the driveway.

Old barn house with a modern gravel driveway

If you have a fence or a gate that frames your property then you need to take that into consideration as well. You might need to take them out while you build the driveway or even replace them altogether if you want to change the look completely.

Color of the gravel you can use for house

The type of gravel you use, its size and color are all important in determining the final look of the driveway. So consider all these details during the planning phase. Think of the aesthetics but don’t neglect functionality and durability.

Replace the old driveway with gravel

Driveways don’t necessarily serve as parking spaces. In some cases, they lead to the garage. So there’s no need to have a large driveway in this case. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of space and that means you can use the rest of the yard for something else.

Rocks border for gravel driveway

Look around you. Look at all the natural colors, forms and shapes that surround you. That can be your inspiration for the driveway. It can help you choose a type of gravel that matches your house or the surrounding landscape and it can suit a certain style. This, for example, is a rustic driveway.

Contemporary gravel house driveway

On the other hand, a contemporary driveway looks like this. It’s very simple and it blends in with the landscape. Of course, the location is very important in determining all the details of the project.

Blush for driveway edges

You must also take into consideration your garden and all the vegetation that will be surrounding the driveway. Do you want it to look like a bohemian road through a forest? Then don’t bother with clean edges and barriers.

Garage driveway with gravel

If the property is small, there’s no sense in turning the whole yard into a large driveway. A small one should suffice. It can be a simple straight driveway that connects the garage to the road. This leaves enough room for some greenery and even a few trees for shade.

Combine gravel with lawn for a modern look

In fact, if you want your driveway to take up as little space as possible so you can have more greenery and a larger garden, a design such as this one could work. It’s lovely how the two large trees frame the driveway in this case, almost as if they mark a metaphorical gate.