When properly constructed, gravel driveways can be less expensive and last longer than other driveway materials. However, you must choose your gravel wisely to ensure maximum lifespan and performance.
If you are considering a gravel driveway renovation, you will need to pick the right gravel for your environment to ensure that your driveway performs well. A professional gravel provider can help you choose the right gravel, and most also offer gravel delivery to your home.
Prepping for Gravel Driveways
Before you put down any gravel, be sure to remove the topsoil and eliminate any potential weeds and seeds that might be lying dormant. Otherwise, you may develop a severe weed problem that takes considerable effort to reverse.
If you do develop weeds, you can use herbicides to combat them. You can also use landscaping fabric underneath your driveway’s first layer to prevent weeds from the outset.
Be sure to grade your driveway properly. All gravel driveways require a crown in the middle that is higher in the center than the sides. This shape allows the water to drain off and discourages pooling, keeping your gravel driveways in good condition.
Types of Gravel
Gravel driveways are composed of three distinct layers, each of a different size and shape to help with strength, drainage, and degree of compaction. To build your ideal gravel driveway, you must select the correct gravel:
- First Layer: Baseball Size Rocks
The bottom layer of your gravel driveway should consist of gravel that is about the size of a baseball—four inches in diameter. This gravel should be angular, not round, and may be called either #1 angular gravel or #3 stones. These rocks form the bed of your gravel driveway.
As the foundation, this layer helps your driveway drain during the rainy seasons. The large size allows enough room for water to escape. These rocks also provide a strong foundation for your driveway.
- Second Layer: Golf Ball Size Rocks
Over the first layer of rocks, you will place a four-inch layer of angular golfball-sized rocks called #4 rocks. These rocks help with drainage and also provide an intermediate base for your gravel driveway. The slightly smaller gravel fits well against the foundational gravel, which helps keep your driveway more solid.
- Top Layer: Marble Sized Stones
The final layer, the top layer, needs to have crushed stones about the size of a marble. Do not use round stones because they shift easily, which can cause you or your guests to slip and fall or your car to slide out. Use angular stones called #57 stones instead—they fit together closer on a gravel driveway while still allowing for proper drainage.
#57 rocks are also called dense grade or traffic bound gravel. This type of gravel has rock dust in it as well as small pieces of rock. As the driveway becomes used, the dust and spine rock particles will act like an adhesive and bond the gravel as it settles in and compacts.
When choosing a top layer, you may wish to use crushed concrete, granite, shale, or limestone. This is the layer of gravel that will show, so choose one that you find visually attractive and that suits your home’s style.
For gravel delivery in Arkansas, contact Razorback Concrete at 870-455-0700 for a free estimate. We can teach you how to pick the right gravel for your home and then deliver the customized product straight to your door.
*Photo “SharstedCourtDriveway” by Dick G Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikipedia