A gravel driveway can conjure up memories from episodes of Bergerac, Morse or even Lovejoy. Large sprawling driveways covered in gravel that give that unique sound as cars pull away. Large houses and long wide driveways are best suited for gravel driveway installations. It is a lower cost option for a large driveway surfaces over 150 sqm. In comparison to other driveway surfacing products such as block paving, resin bound/bonded stone or pattern imprinted concrete, gravel provides the most time tested traditional look to a driveway.
There are a variety of gravel choices available such as flint, basalt or cotswold buff but much depends on the desired finished look. Contemporary effects lean towards a finish with basalt or Cotswold buff whereas a traditional gravel driveway will be installed using flint. The main consideration is the shape and size of the gravel and 14mm to 20mm is best. Pea shingle should be avoided and should only be used for bedding underground pipework.
Gravel driveway – Installation
One of the easiest options for a DIY driveway job is gravel. But if substantial groundworks are required during the driveway installation process it may be best to get a gravel driveway installer to carry out this work. Once a suitable sub base has been prepared it is just a case of a lorry delivering piles of gravel or if access is poor deliveries of 25kg bags. The levelling of gravel is achieved by raking as surface water will not be a problem as it just drains away. Installing a gravel grid system is advisable and will provide additional support and limit gravel displacement.
Gravel driveway – Maintenance
Maintenance of a gravel driveway required at regular intervals if displacement takes place. This is more common on any type of sloped gravel driveway. All that is required is a sturdy shovel and rake. Due to the use of gravel grid systems the loss of gravel can be limited, so the frequent gravel top-ups may be a thing of the past. Weeds may be a problem with this type of surface as they simply grow up through the gravel.To minimise this it is possible to install a membrane when laying the sub base for a new gravel driveway. Alternatively, weed killer will solve the issue but the chemicals are bad for the water supply and environment, generally.
Advantages of gravel driveways
- Cost effective option compared to other products
- Classy look
- Great for covering large area
- Drainage is no problem as surface water runs down to the earth
- Security – easy to know when somebody approaches the house
- Traditional or contemporary look achieved
Disadvantages of gravel driveways
- If no gravel grid system used – displacement of stone requiring regular top ups
- Sinkholes and troughs forming causing water to puddle.
- Grooves forming if driven over in same place
- Snow removal is a big problem from gravel
- Clouds of dust created when accelerating over gravel
- Please view the gravel driveway gallery for design ideas
Alternatives to a gravel driveway are: