How to lay a crushed gravel driveway

Updated February 21, 2017

Improperly prepared gravel driveways will require grading and new rock every several years. Pouring stone onto the ground allows soft dirt to pull in the stones, resulting in grooves and ridges in the driveway. Properly laying a crushed stone driveway can provide years of function and aesthetic appeal with minimal maintenance. The key to laying a crushed stone driveway is its preparation and support. Take time in preparing the ground for the stone to ensure a long-lasting driveway.

Dig out the area for the driveway to a depth of 4 inches.

Press treated two-by-fours along the driveway's border so that the 4-inch edge of the boards is standing. Hammer ground stakes every 2 feet to 3 feet outside of the boards for support. Nail stakes to the boards with 2-inch nails.

Smooth out the ground with a hand tamper or mechanical tamper. Hand tampers are long, heavy poles with a flat, square base and two handles on the side. Raise the tamper up and pound it into the ground along the length of the driveway. A mechanical tamper can be rented from hardware stores. Directions for using the tamper should be included with the rental.

Stretch out landscape fabric from side to side across the driveway. Work your way to the end of the driveway overlapping each new row by 2 inches to 3 inches.

Pour out 1 inches to 2 inches of cement sand over the landscape fabric. Smooth out the sand with the flat edge of a rake. Tamp the sand flat and smooth. Fill low spots with sand and tamp smooth.

Fill the remainder of the driveway with crushed stone. Smooth out the stone with the flat edge of a rake and tamp the rock flat.


A mechanical tamper is ideal for laying out this type of driveway, but a hand tamper is a great tool to have for routine maintenance. The driveway will shift occasionally because of the weight of the vehicles. A hand tamper and rake can smooth out the grooves caused by driving and parking.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Treated two-by-fours
  • Stakes
  • Wood mallet
  • 2-inch nails
  • Tamper
  • Landscape fabric
  • Cement sand
  • Rake
  • Crushed stone
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