A gravel driveway is a cost effective option that’s ideal for rural properties. Gravel driveways are economical, longer lasting, and more environmentally friendly than asphalt or paved alternatives. We especially recommend gravel driveways for properties that have high moisture levels and are prone to flooding. This is because rain, snow, and excess water can be absorbed into the ground beneath the gravel, reducing runoff and minimizing the risk of flooding.
Below you’ll find everything you need to know about planning and installing a gravel driveway, including some of our most common questions, and the steps you should follow to get the best results.
What to put down under a gravel driveway?
The number one product we recommend as a base layer for a gravel driveway is Swamp Grid. Swamp Grid consists of a structural geogrid that is heat-bonded to non-woven geotextile. Designed as an all-in-one solution, Swamp Grid offers soil reinforcement, soil filtration, soil separation, and sub-base drainage performance. This biaxial geogrid is extremely effective for stabilizing saturated soils and preventing the loss of granular material into the soft subgrade. In short, Swamp Grid helps to prevent your gravel driveway from washing into the soil beneath it.
- Provides soil separation by preventing migration of aggregate into clay.
- Allows subgrade drainage creating increased soil stability.
- Prevents upward movement of subgrade for higher structural performance.
Alternately, woven and non-woven geotextile fabric is commonly used for residential driveways where light traffic is expected and drainage issues are minimal. These are cost-effective and lightweight solutions that can be a great option for straight forward gravel driveways.
What gravel to use?
There are many opinions regarding what type and size of stones should be used, and how many layers are required to create a stable driveway. Generally speaking, most driveways can be completed properly with one or two types of stones.
For residential driveways that will only see light vehicle traffic, ¾” crush stone, also referred to as Gran A, can be used as the only aggregate.
For driveways that will frequently see heavy vehicle traffic, such as water delivery trucks for rural properties, we recommend a base layer of 2” crush stone, followed by a surface layer of ¾” crush.
How thick should the gravel be?
Like above, there are two different answers depending on the types of usage the driveway will get.
For light vehicle traffic, you can manage with a total of 12” deep of stone placed on top of your Swamp Grid. Remember to lay this in multiple layers of 4” – 6” and use a roller to compact the stone thoroughly between each layer.
For heavy vehicle traffic, 18” is the recommended minimum.
The steps to install a gravel driveway:
- Clear and level the area. This would typically be completed with a backhoe to remove topsoil, grass, and weeds. You’ll want to dig to the 12” – 18” depth needed for filling with stone.
- Calculate how much gravel you will need. This can be done by multiplying the length, width, and thickness (in feet), and divide by 27. This number is how many cubic yards of crushed stone you need. Or simply type your dimensions into the yardage calculator on any of the aggregates on our website. Such as the ¾” Crush page that you’ll use for this project.
- Lay down your Swamp Grid as your base layer.
- Spread stone and compact. Remember to do this in multiple stages, with larger rocks on the bottom, compacting with tamper or roller every few inches of height.
Installing a gravel driveway is a relatively simple and cost effective option for most rural properties. We hope that this quick breakdown has provided you with the information needed to make an education decision on what is best for your project.
When you’re ready to take the next step, you can order your Swamp Grid and ¾” Crush Stone online at ontarioagra.ca, by phone at (905) 386-1744, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can even rent a backhoe and compactor from our sister company Kor Rentals.