How to lay a gravel driveway
Laying a gravel driveway is an easy way to improve the look of your outside space at an affordable cost, and you don’t need to be in the trade to be able to do it yourself!
On this page, you’ll find a step by step guide on how to lay your own gravel driveway, with tips from in the trade experts.
Why choose a gravel driveway?
They look good. Gravel comes in lots of different colours and sizes which means you can match the gravel to the surrounding area or show off your own personality with a wild colour of your choosing.
Affordability. Gravel is one of the cheapest options for your project. Laying paving or tarmac is best left to the professionals, and with all their knowledge comes a big price tag.
It’s easy to lay, with the right tips you can do it all yourself.
Low maintenance. Gravel areas need next to no maintenance once they’re laid. If they’re put down the correct way, you can kiss goodbye to weeds!
Not sure which gravel to use?
Our step by step how to guide
To follow this guide you will need a shovel/digger, wacker plate, line marker paint, edging material, type 1 803 sub base, weed block membrane and gravel.
Not sure how much of each material you require? Not to worry, click here to find our easy to use gravel and sub base calculators. All you need is the dimensions of the area and the depth required, click calculate and let the calculator do all the work!
Once you have chosen the gravel you want to use and a suitable edging, you are ready to follow these simple steps below!
The first thing you’ll need to do is start by marking out the area you wish to gravel. You can do this by using a line marker paint or string line.
Now you’re ready for the dig out!
The overall depth for a gravel driveway is 200mm. 150mm of this will be your sub base and the remaining 50mm for gravel.
Dig out the whole area to 200mm deep, keeping it as level as possible. Once this is completed you’ll need to edge the area and put down your sub base.
Install the edging of your choice around the perimeter of the area, making sure it’s tall enough to stop any gravel from spreading into unwanted areas.
Next, lay the sub base. The best way to do this is to tip it out into piles and rake it across the area, again staying as level as you can. To make the sub base strong enough to take the weight of a vehicle, you need to compact it. You can hire a wacker plate from your local plant hire shop for this.
Time to cut and lay the weed block membrane. We recommend adding this to prevent any weeds from growing through your lovely new gravel.
Simply cut the weed block to the size of your area and lay it on top of the sub base.
Top tip: pin/weigh it down as you go if it’s a windy day, you’ll thank us later!
You can now put down your chosen gravel. To make it easier, do this the same way you did the sub base, pile and level.
When the whole area is covered and levelled, you may notice that there is some dirt/residue on the gravel. This is just from the quarry where it was was mined. We suggest washing this out with a hose so you can enjoy the full, dirt free colours!
Sit back with a cuppa, relax after all of your hard work and enjoy your new gravel driveway!
Taking care of your new gravel driveway
We recommend regularly raking your gravel driveway, especially during Autumn, to remove unwanted leaves and other debris. This will also help to keep your gravel nice and level.
Although weed block membrane has been added, seeds can be blown onto your gravel which can cause weeds to grow. You can remove these by hand and spray weed killer in the effected areas if you so wish.
You may in find a few years time that your gravel has become a bit bare in places, this is just due to the movement of vehicles pushing and breaking down the gravel. All you need to do to is tip some more gravel in the empty looking areas and it’ll look as good as new!
Check out some of the advantages of using decorative gravel in this how to guide here
How do I calculate how much gravel is needed for a driveway?
This one’s easy, just head over to our gravel calculator.
All you need is the length, width and depth of the graveled area and it’ll do all the hard work for you.
How thick should driveway gravel be?
It is recommended that driveway gravel should be 50mm deep.
This will give you good coverage of the sub base. If you lay it thicker it will cause the gravel to rut under the movement of vehicles.
What is Type 1 MOT 803?
Type 1 MOT 803 is a 40mm to dust crushed stone.
This is used as a sub base suitable to use on driveways and patios as it compacts down very well.
How thick should sub base be?
The recommended thickness of sub base is at least 150mm.
This depth ensures it is strong enough to take the load of heavy traffic on the surface.
What does sub base do?
The sub base layer is the main load-bearing layer of a driveway.
It is there to help evenly spread the load of any top traffic by increasing the point of a load over a bigger area.
What is the best gravel to use on a driveway?
We recommend using a 20mm gravel for your drive. Anything smaller will move around too much and get stuck in car tyre treads and anything bigger will be awkward to walk on.
How do I keep gravel in place on my driveway?
If you don’t have any edging all the way around your gravel drive, the best way to keep gravel in place without one is to use gravel grids.
Put the grids on top of the sub base and membrane, then put the gravel on top. The plastic grids have holes for the gravel to sink into, which will keep the gravel from moving around.
How do I keep level and refinish a gravel driveway?
To keep your driveway level you will need to regularly rake the gravel level on top.
If you happen to have some lower or empty looking areas still after raking, we suggest getting yourself some more gravel to spread over these areas. Do be mindful that gravel colours can change from batch to batch so you may not be able to get an exact match if it’s been a few years since it was first laid.
How do I clean my gravel driveway?
The best way to clean your gravel driveway is to regularly pick up any fallen leaves and twigs, give it a good rake over and hose it down with water.
How do I control weeds on my gravel driveway?
The best way to control weeds on your gravel driveway is by pulling them out by hand or using a strong weed killer.
It’s important to regularly remove any fallen leaves and twigs as this can aid weed growth.
Can I lay my own gravel driveway?
Simply put, yes you can with the right tools and handy step by step guides like ours!
How much do driveways cost?
The average cost in the UK for a professional tradesman to lay a gravel driveway is £60 per square meter.
By doing it yourself you’ll save yourself the labour cost and only have to spend out on materials!