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DIY: gravel driveway on a slope

Gravel is a durable landscaping material that can provide a low maintenance, water-permeable surface. It's a practical alternative for a driveway if you don't wish to lay asphalt. Installing a gravel driveway on a slope is a DIY project you can complete over a weekend. Once installed, the gravel driveway will add a natural, structural element to the overall look of your landscape.

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  1. Determine the width and path of the driveway with a tape measure. View your front exterior from the curb to decide if you prefer a simple, straight path from the garage to the curb, or if you prefer a curved driveway to balance the corners of the house. Lay ropes along the intended edge of the driveway.

  2. Dig out the path of the driveway with a shovel. Begin by cutting down along the ropes then work your way to the centre. Continue digging until the whole driveway site is 25 cm (10 inches) deep. Consider renting an excavator to reduce the labour.

  3. Mark off the top 25 cm (10 inches) of 45 cm (18 inch) long wooden stakes with black paint. Insert the wooden stakes into the ground with a hammer every four feet along both sides of the site. The top 25 cm (10 inches) should follow the slope of the property, extending from the base of the foundation to ground level.

  4. Stack two 5 by 10 cm (2 by 5 inch) wood boards against the stakes and attach them with a drill and screws. Framing the base of the driveway will ensure the depth of the driveway is consistent, offering as much support for vehicles at the bottom as it does at the top of the slope.

  5. Lay mesh weed barrier over the pack helps prevent weeds from developing under the gravel.

  6. Pour 10 cm (4 inches) of pack into the foundation and compact it with a hand tamper. Pack a pre-made mixture of gravel and stone dust that forms a solid base when tamped.

  7. Fill the remaining 15 cm (6 inches) with two 7.5 cm (3 inch) layers of gravel, working from the bottom of the slope up. Tamp the gravel down between each layer.

  8. Add a stone of paver border along the sides of the driveway so the gravel doesn't overflow onto the lawn.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Shovel or excavator
  • 45 cm (18 inch) long wooden stakes
  • Hammer
  • 5 by 10 cm (2 by 5 inch) wood boards
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Pack
  • Hand tamper
  • Gravel
  • Border stones or pavers

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 Catalogs.com. She graduated from New York University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing.

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