How to make a good limestone gravel driveway

Building a gravel driveway is supposed to save you money. While initial investments are lower than other types of pavement, improper construction results in the need for annual or more frequent repairs and additional loads of gravel. Your gravel driveway will eventually need repairs and recovering, but by building it right the first time, you can extend the length of time between those necessary repairs.

Clean the entire driveway length and width to remove large rocks, stumps, tree roots and fallen tree debris that may cause future problems in the gravel driveway. You may remove these things manually or by dragging a blade across the soil to plough the debris out of your way.

Lay strips of geotextile landscaping fabric across the driveway's intended length and width. This helps to prevent weeds from growing up through your driveway gravel and prevents subsoil silt from working into the gravel layers.

Apply a single layer of large limestone gravel directly over the landscape fabric. The large gravels should measure approximately the same diameter as baseballs or softballs. This first layer should measure 3 to 6 inches thick.

Compact the first gravel layer using a tamping machine or mechanical rolling compactor. Run the compacting machine over the driveway two to three times to thoroughly compact the first gravel layer before applying additional layers.

Apply a second gravel layer, using medium-sized limestone gravel measuring approximately 1 to 2 inches in diameter. As you apply this second layer to a depth of at least 3 inches, begin to pile the gravel higher toward the middle of the road to create a crown. The crown should peak in the centre and gently slope toward the edge of the road to provide better water drainage.

Compact the second layer of gravel with the mechanical roller or compactor. Retain the peak or dome shape at the centre of the drive to ensure the best water drainage.

Apply a third layer of gravel, continuing to slope the sides of the driveway away from the centre of the drive's width. For this third layer apply smaller limestone gravel with diameters one-inch and smaller. Compact the gravel again and reshape the road as necessary to keep the central peak for drainage.

Ensure the proper slope exists on each side of the central peak of the driveway by measuring the from the centre to each edge of the drive. The sides of the driveway should slope a 1/2-inch per foot. Compact or remove gravel to create the necessary slope measurement.


Apply additional layers of gravel as necessary, compacting between each layer and decreasing the diameter of the gravel in each new layer.

Things You'll Need

  • Geotextile landscape fabric
  • Large limestone gravel
  • Tamping machine or rolling compactor
  • Medium limestone gravel
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About the Author

Penny Porter is a full-time professional writer and a contributor to "Kraze" magazine. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in journalism at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky.