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How to build a gravel driveway

Creating a gravel driveway is a great way to update your home or building, creating an area of usable space. As space increasingly becomes a premium in the housing market, and parking is often limited on streets in urban areas, building a gravel driveway is a great way to add value and convenience to your property.

Here at Drainage Superstore we have everything you need in order to create a gravel driveway, from gravel and aggregate to weed barriers and more. But what are the benefits of building a gravel driveway, and how do you build a gravel driveway? Read on to find out all you need to know about gravel driveways, and if you have any unanswered questions don’t hesitate to get in touch – call the team on 01752 692221 or use the live chat in the bottom right hand corner.


The benefits of building a gravel driveway

Low cost

Gravel driveways are one of the most cost-friendly driveways around, which is one of the reasons they are so popular. Not only is the material required low-cost, but gravel driveways can be installed by almost anyone, which helps to further keep labour costs minimal.

Easy installation

Gravel driveways are super quick and easy to install. As soon as the gravel has been laid and compacted the driveway can be used – there’s no need to wait around for materials to dry or harden.

Variation

Gravel is available in a wide range of colours and sizes, meaning you can customise the colour of your driveway and ensure it either matches your home style, or opt for a contrasting look to create a striking finish. Browse our range of gravel for more detail.

Drainage

Because gravel driveways consist of many small pieces of gravel, it is quite porous. This means that water can naturally drain away into the soil and less puddles and potential flooding will occur during times of heavy rainfall.

However, it is important to note that one of the downsides to installing a gravel driveway is that it may require some maintenance. Over time, ruts may start to develop where the gravel is regularly compressed in specific areas, which will need filling in. Additionally, when wet, the gravel may turn within the soil, and create a large amount of dirt that can get spread around the exterior of your home.


How to build a gravel driveway

Preparation and planning

Before beginning any work, the first step when looking to create a gravel driveway is to ensure you have planned out the works properly. Ensure the driveway is accessible and wide enough to allow cars and other slightly larger vehicles such as delivery vans. Additionally, driveways should always be designed in such a way that allows rainwater to run off and into a drainage channel or drain through the soil, and ensure that rainwater does not create puddles in the centre of the driveway.

Mark out the area

Once you’ve planned the dimensions of the driveway, take a number of stakes to mark out the driveway. Place them at intervals around the driveway area, and attach them with string. Then measure the length and width of the driveway in order to calculate the dimensions. If working with a curved driveway, we’d recommend splitting up the total area into sections to make calculating the length and width more manageable.

Calculate the amount of gravel required

Decide on the depth you’re looking to fill with gravel – professionals will generally recommend laying  a minimum of 3 layers of gravel in order to increase stability. A rough guide to the amount of gravel required is that a 20kg bag generally will cover around 0.25m2, and a layer of gravel should be around 80mm thick. However, you can also calculate the amount of gravel required more accurately. To determine the amount of gravel you’ll require, multiply the length and width by the depth. This will provide you with the volume of gravel required. For example, 6m long x 4m wide x 80mm = 1.92 metres cubed of gravel required.

Ensure you have gravel and tools required

Once you’ve calculated the amount of gravel required, place your order or go to a retailer to purchase your gravel. Ensure you also have a rake, shovel, a wheelbarrow and gloves, as well as a compactor – this may need renting as they are expensive to purchase for a single project.

Remove top layer

The next step is to prepare the area. If relevant, remove the top layer of soil, grass and dirt, and then dig 80mm per layer of gravel. Whilst digging the area, ensure that the driveway area is relatively level, and make adjustments where required. By levelling out the area, you’ll prevent pooling of rainwater and puddles forming.

Compact the area

Once the area has been prepared and levelled, use the compactor, or alternatively drive over the area repeatedly with a heavy vehicle to compact the soil.

Lay weed barrier

Once the area has been compacted, lay a weed barrier or landscaping fabric down. This will prevent weeds growing through the gravel. Ensure you have enough to cover the total driveway area – we’d recommend exceeding the driveway area by half a metre or so to ensure the rolls of fabric can overlap slightly.

At this point, consider using timber battens, bricks or another form of heavy material that will act as a border and hold the weed fabric in place before the gravel is installed.

Spread first layer of gravel

Spread the first layer of gravel evenly across the driveway, using a wheelbarrow, shovel and rake. Once this has been done, use the compactor to ensure it is securely in place. Then repeat with the following layers of gravel.

Alternatively, gravel grids can be used to ensure the gravel remains evenly spread across the area. If using gravel grids, place them on top of the weed barrier, before any gravel is laid. Then lay the gravel across the gravel grids, ensuring they are equally filled.

Ensure centre is elevated

Once the gravel has all been laid, ensure the driveway is slightly elevated in the centre, and lower on the sides, particularly if there is channel drainage along one of the sides. If required, do this by adding extra gravel in the centre of the driveway, and raking gravel from the edges up towards the centre.

Remove stakes and rake excess gravel

Now just tidy up the area, removing the guiding stakes and ensuring no gravel is on the surrounding areas. Your driveway may need raking from time to time to ensure it remains the correct shape, as gravel may become displaced over time.


Got any further questions regarding how to build a gravel driveway, or the materials required to ensure your driveway is durable and drains well? Don’t hesitate to call our team on 01752 692221 or use the live chat in the bottom right hand corner. 

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