Build A Gravel Driveway

20 responses

  1. jimmy joe bob
    August 23, 2012

    great info there Tim. I built my first one almost 20 years ago using just the techniques you put forth here, with the exception of the underlayment of fabric. I'm a cheep sum beotch... I used my '91 Wrangler as a "tamper" over the course of a few weeks on the fist-size first layer. then added about 6" of 1" and gently tamped it. anywhoo, with a bit of annual maint., it still looks practically new after all these years. I think the bordering is the most crucial aspect. I used discarded utility poles in 2' to 6' lengths from a couple of local phone and electricity outfits outside Tulsa. stake those down with a couple of 3' pieces of 1/2" re-bar (also salvaged & repurposed) and it looks great.

  2. princess arpoika
    December 15, 2012

    I want to put gravel down for my Father on our ranch. Hasnt been done in awhile. Id like it to be a surprise. It's a few miles long. I know it'll cost. But I don't know what type to ask for? I would like the cheapest type of rock considering the length. But I don't even kow what that would be. Can you help me?

    • Tim Carter
      January 3, 2013

      Princess, you should consider investing in a 15-Minute Consult with me. Look at my cart for that. Lot's to discuss. I just do short pithy answers here.

  3. Responder1
    August 18, 2014

    Grading Question.
    I live on a gravel road which is meets my driveway which is about 20x30. Currently the "driveway" is loose soil with mixed in gravel which makes for a muddy mess in the rain. Question: Using the guidance in this artical, at the point where my reconstructed gravel driveway meets the public road. Which layer of gravel should be level with the public road? First (large), second (medium), or Third (Small).

  4. David capps
    September 7, 2014

    I have an old limestone driveway that is directly leading from my garage ( concrete floor) with a concrete edge sloping down to the driveway, do I have to remove existing gravel to avoid sloping into garage or can I just add to it. The existing driveway has little or no slope

    • Tim Carter
      September 13, 2014

      Well, you get out a level and do whatever you need to do to ensure water does not flow into your garage. Cave man simple.

  5. dan jacobson
    March 13, 2015

    I've got two, flat, driveways, each 8' x 44'. One sits alongside a inclined lawn, about 3-4' high. Both have pea-sized gravel now but starting to deteriorate, especially in tire in sinking into dirt. SUV's are about the heaviest vehicles utilizing driveways. I've been told to add 3" of Mountain Granite (3/4" angular stones). Given it's "light" usage, will this be ok? Pea gravel lasted decently for about 5 - 6 yrs....not great, but given what I paid for the stuff, not awful either. I'll own the place for another 10 years. Should I use different material, in layers as described above? Do I still use fabric over existing gravel? Does this help with weed control? Use Round up first?

    • Tim Carter
      March 13, 2015

      Dan, I believe my column answers all your questions. Weed control is constant unless you can obtain the highly poisonous herbicide used by railroads. Pea gravel is the WORST material one could ever use on a driveway.

      • Deb
        May 31, 2015

        Why is pea gravel the WORST material for a driveway? We are about to work on ours and planned to order pea stone. What should we use instead?

      • Tim Carter
        May 31, 2015

        Deb, I thought my explanation is very clear up in the column above. Go look at it again. If you still are confused let me know.

  6. Tim
    June 8, 2015

    Hi i am starting to build a gravel i cleared off all the top soil and my road now is kind of like a roller coaster and water gathers in the low spot almost a foot deep. Most of the low spots are from where i removed large stumps can i fill these areas with something and put drainage pipes in some of my low spots.

  7. Stan Johnson
    July 16, 2015

    Hi Tim,

    Putting in driveway this week. The geotextile fabric website says NOT to plow the organic layer off a driveway before using the fabric because it causes a "bathtub" effect. What is your thought on this logic?

    Thanks. Stan

  8. Sheila Powell
    August 1, 2015

    Hello Tim,

    We are on the verge of purchasing land in Boulder CO. with the hopes of building a very modest home on the land. We are getting quite the education! Unfortunately, we'll have to work out some issue with the road to the land. We'll have to do some grading work to make it a true drive way to be certified by the City of Boulder and Rescue district. Do you have any advice on where we start or who we could contact in this area to get an estimate? We do have quite a lot of information via a 2007 building permit from the current owners and their driveway/easement challenges (they did not build).
    Thanks for any help you can provide. Our best, Sheila and James.

  9. Capt Kim
    August 24, 2015

    I have a cleared lot, 1Blk off of beach in NW Florida. Mostly sand, I want to have a gravel drive for my RV which is 42000 lbs. what configuration of gravel would u recommend?

  10. Don Laessig
    October 26, 2015

    Hi, Quick question. I have a gravel driveway that is covered with #9's rock. Problem is they have been down for 1 year as of this witting. Very loose still. So, will treating with lime lock this gravel so it won't be loose anymore? I use a snowthrower, and last year, threw many stones onto roof of house. Please advise...thanks in advance.

  11. Jackie Oliver
    April 20, 2016

    It's really good to know that the base of a gravel driveway, I had no idea! We want to put a gravel area in the back yard, so we have somewhere to park our trailers. I'll be sure to tell my husband that we will need a few different sizes, so that we can make that base.

  12. Ray
    September 8, 2016

    We have had a gravel parking area for years and it works great for the parking. Problem is the gravel kicks up unto the adjacent paved road and driving over it is chewing up the paved area. Is there something we can put down on the gravel to cut down on the amount that kicks up?

  13. Aaron
    September 9, 2016

    I have the same question as Don. I placed 4-6 inches of 1" crushed rock on top of driveway fabric earlier this summer. Still not locked in. Will placing a layer of class 5 an inch or two thick lock it down? Please help!

  14. Larry Marin
    January 13, 2017

    You mentioned BBQ tour. If you get to Texas per George W Bush his preference is Coopers BBQ in Llano TX about 75 miles NE of Austin in Texas hill country

  15. Warren Mortensen
    January 14, 2017

    I've got an interesting situation. About 45 years ago a neighbor was contracting with the City of Minneapolis as they were repaving a massive section on the north side of the city. He'd drive loads of broken up old pavement down to a crushing station on the south side of the city -- all except the last load since we all lived in the northern suburbs and that last load would be going the wrong direction at quitting time. Bringing it home saved him an hour of commute time.

    We operated a dairy farm with a big "loop" driveway and Dad told the neighbor to dump the loads in the farm drive. Smaller chunks of concrete were easily leveled but after milking was done in the evenings Dad would give us spades and tell us to dig holes in the driveway to fit the really big sections (some weighing 150 - 175 lbs. each--you could say we built a driveway out of giant jig saw puzzle pieces).

    This driveway is impervious to box graders, scarifiers and the usual equipment used by folks who own a larger chunk of land. Maybe a D-8 Caterpillar would work but I prefer to let sleeping dogs (and sleeping concrete) lie. I'm wondering if I can consider Layer #1 already laid and just add Layers 2 & 3?

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