How to build a gravel parking place

Adding gravel off the side of the driveway is a cost-effective way to make a parking space for additional cars. Gravel is easy to work with, and its subtle colour and texture complement a wide range of homes. Laying down gravel is a simple process you can complete over a weekend with a few basic tools and materials. When built properly, a gravel parking place can last for many years with little maintenance.

Measure the site for the parking place with a tape measure. An area 20- to 24 feet wide is enough to fit two parked cars comfortably. Add 10 feet of width for each additional car. If possible, make the length of the parking space 20 feet to accommodate all vehicle sizes and small trucks. Mark out the parking place area with landscaping paint.

Unearth the marked-out area with a shovel, removing 12 inches of soil. Dump the soil in a wheelbarrow and transfer it to low-lying areas in the yard.

Place weed barrier material over the bottom of the site to block underground roots.

Set three layers of 2-by-4 inch boards stacked on their sides against the inside walls. Nail the boards together with galvanised nails and a hammer. Use naturally rot-resistant wood like cedar or pressure-treated timbers.

Pour an 8-inch layer of pack into the foundation and tamp it with a tamper. Pack is a blend of 3/4-inch crushed rock and stone dust that compacts into a solid base to support the gravel under heavy weight loads.

Fill the remaining expanse with 3/4-inch gravel. Rake the gravel so it's even and tamp it until the rocks don't shift beneath you.


The minimum turning radius for cars is approximately 17 feet. Nail one side of a string to the centre of the parking space and walk around the nail with the other end taut to ensure the space is large enough for a car to easily turn around.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Landscaping paint
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Weed barrier fabric
  • 2-by-4 inch boards
  • Galvanised nails
  • Hammer
  • Pack
  • Tamper
  • 3/4-inch gravel
  • Rake
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About the Author

Aurora LaJambre is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, N.Y. For over five years she's covered topics in culture, lifestyle, travel, DIY design and green living for print and online media. Her publication credits include "WOW Women on Writing," "Six States" and She graduated from New York University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing.