Are you considering installing a gravel driveway? Here are useful tips to make your driveway is appealing and durable.
The first step to a beautiful driveway is correct installation.
Excavate 12" down. Remove all topsoil and organic debris such as sticks, roots and grass. Thoroughly compact the subgrade, then place a woven geo-textile fabric on the sub grade.
Add the base material in three layers. For the first layer, use large fist-sized stones. Then add smaller stones the size of ping pong balls for the second layer. The third layer will have thumb-sized crusher run mixed with rock dust.
Keep the top layer shallow to avoid having the gravel shift when you drive on it.
Put the edging. Use steel or iodized aluminum. If you are thinking of dressing the edging, this is the time to do it. It not only keeps the gravel in place but is also decorative. Belgian blocks are recommended.
Place the blocks on the compacted base before adding the final layer of driveway gravel. This last layer should be pea-sized. A portion of the edging remains visible above the gravel.
The driveway should have a crown in it so that the sides slope outwards. This will ensure good drainage. A 5 inch crown for example, means that the center is 5 inches higher than the sides.
Annual re-grading is recommended but the extent of maintenance will depend on how well the driveway was installed. Poorly installed gravel driveways will sink or may be washed out by rain water. Re-grading involves rearranging the gravel to fill in low spots.
The color of gravel changes according to locality. For a natural look, consider sourcing your gravel locally.
You can also play around with different colored gravel for decorative purposes.
Match the gravel driveway with the style of your house. Gravel driveways are more compatible with old colonial style houses but not with contemporary styles.
Consider lining your borders with plants and shrubs. Consult your local landscaper for advice.
Keep in mind your lighting and gates as you install your driveway gravel. Choose options that complement your driveway.
Consider the Climate
Heavy rain and wind will not affect properly installed gravel. However, in areas that snow heavily, gravel may not be the ideal choice. The constant shoveling of snow will lead to gravel loss.
If properly installed, gravel driveways are not just functional; they are also affordable and can be just as appealing as other types of driveways.