If you’re looking to add charm, texture, dimension, and visual interest to your property, you may want to give some thought to installing a gravel driveway. Over the course of the past several years it, has become more popular for homeowners to utilize gravel when surfacing a driveway.
Gravel offers many opportunities to make your driveway as unique as you’d like – including the color and design.
Gravel is also very affordable, requires very little maintenance and can last for many years.
Many homeowners and avid do-it-yourselfers have found that installing a gravel driveway can be relatively simple. If you decide that you want to install the driveway on your own, we want to ensure that you know all of the proper steps.
We’ve broken down the gravel driveway installation into 7 easy steps below. Although it will require a lot of hard work and sweat, you’ll end up with a beautiful and durable gravel driveway.
1. Calculate your need for gravel and crushed stone
The first step to installing your new gravel driveway is to determine how much stone material you’ll actually require. In addition to the gravel, you’ll need a base layer of crushed stone in order to add support and promote healthy drainage.
For a rectangular driveway, you’ll need to multiply the length x the width x the depth of the project area to learn how many cubic yards of crushed stone and gravel you’ll require. Typically, you’ll want 3 different layers that are a total of 3-4″ deep.
You’ll start with a larger crushed stone as the base, followed by a smaller crushed stone (stone with fines can help to stabilize the drive) and then finish off with a top layer of gravel.
For circular, rounded, or uniquely shaped drives, we recommend speaking with a local expert to get exact measurements. You do not want to simply guess at how much material you may need as your costs will increase and your project will likely take longer to complete.
2. Purchase the material from a reputable supplier
Once you’ve figured out how much stone you require, you’ll want to find a supplier that you can trust to provide you with high quality materials at a reasonable price. For best results, it’s smart to buy directly from a stone supplier that owns and operates their own quarries.
Choosing a supplier that operates their own quarries will help you to avoid inflated pricing, and will ensure that the supplier is knowledgeable about the crushed stone and gravel that they’re selling.
3. Purchase or rent equipment
Because of the labor involved with digging manually and the large scope of the project, you’ll want to utilize special tools and equipment to excavate the driveway and compact it down.
Unless you already have special machinery on hand, you’ll need to either purchase or rent the right tools to get the job done. If you choose to buy your stone materials from a seasoned supplier, you may be able to ask them to connect you with an equipment rental company or supplier who can offer you the lowest pricing.
Established suppliers will have helped thousands of homeowners and contractors with projects similar to yours. They will be able to provide you with advice that can save you time and money.
4. Excavate and level the area
Now that you have the equipment that you need, you’re ready to move forward with the process of excavating the area where your new gravel driveway will be situated. Once the trench has been dug up, you’ll need to take care to remove any roots or plants along the base or sides of the driveway before compacting it down.
It is crucial that you level out the new driveway to ensure proper drainage.
5. Apply landscaping fabric
Your driveway has been dug, cleared, and leveled, but before you add stone you’ll need to first lay down a layer of landscaping fabric. This will help to prevent the growth of plants and weeds from beneath the driveways surface, and will also help to control erosion and shifting.
6. Pour the crushed stone and gravel
Once the the landscaping fabric has been applied, you’ll be set to move forward with the process of laying down the crushed stone and gravel. Be sure that as you introduce each new layer to the driveway that you take the time to compact it down. Ensure that you always follow proper safety techniques when moving stone.
7. Stamp the stone
Now that all levels of the stone have been added to the gravel driveway you need to stamp the stone. Stamping the stone will ensure that everything is compacted correctly and that everything is in place. This will be the final step before your new gravel driveway is complete.
Installing Your Gravel Driveway
Once you’ve completed these 7 steps, you’ll need to take care to maintain your gravel driveway by regularly raking out any debris and filling in any holes or gaps with fresh material.
We recommend adding a new layer of gravel to the surface of the driveway every 1-2 years.
If you ever run into questions or concerns during your installation, don’t hesitate to reach out your local experts and contractors. You should never guess on anything when working on a project of this magnitude.
We’d be happy to discuss your upcoming gravel driveway project with you and discuss how much material you may need for your NJ or NY gravel driveway installation.