How to lay a gravel drive

Updated February 21, 2017

Installing a gravel drive takes a lot of time and effort, but the end result can really pay off. The gravel prevents loose mud from splattering on your car as you drive and it is also visually appealing. Without the proper installation methods, though, a gravel drive can quickly lose its shape and result in stones scattered across your garden.

Level the dirt path where your gravel will lay. Turn the soil and pack it back down. Remove any stones, twigs or roots you find within the first 1.25 metres of the dirt. Replace any soft soil with a harder variety of soil. Remove any topsoil that washes away easily in the rain.

Lay strips of weed barrier fabric over the soil of the path. The fabric helps separate the gravel from the soil. Over time, the wet soil would pull away the stones. The fabric helps prevent this from happening. It also keeps your gravel looking clean, fresh and free of weeds.

Add the first layer of gravel. Choose gravel that is large and has rough edges. The gravel pieces should be roughly the size of an adult's fist. Stay away from well-rounded gravel that can easily slide or roll off your driveway. For small driveways, spread the rocks using sturdy rakes. For larger driveways, load the gravel onto the back of a lorry. Leave the back of the lorry open and shove the rock from the back. Level the gravel to the best of your abilities using a sturdy rake.

Compact the first layer of gravel with a tamping machine. A tamping machine is not standard household equipment, so get one from a plant hire centre or buy one from a DIY shop. A tamping machine is a large piece of machinery that a professional must operate.

Add a second 10 cm layer of smaller gravel. This gravel should still be rough enough to avoid rolling off the drive, but not so rough to damage your tires. Lay the smaller gravel out so that the centre of the road is higher than the sides. The road just needs to have a gentle arch. Use a tamping machine on the second layer of gravel as well.

Spread a final layer of gravel. The last layer of gravel should have stones about the size of large marbles. After you apply this layer of gravel, your driveway should have 25 to 30 cm of gravel at any given point. Use the tamping machine to secure the top layer of gravel.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil
  • Weed barrier fabric
  • Truck
  • Rake
  • Tamping machine
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About the Author

Shae Hazelton is a professional writer whose articles are published on various websites. Her topics of expertise include art history, auto repair, computer science, journalism, home economics, woodworking, financial management, medical pathology and creative crafts. Hazelton is working on her own novel and comic strip while she works as a part-time writer and full time Medical Coding student.