Gravels are considered a budget-friendly option for driveways. But you have to admit that the gravels have evolved abruptly within the past few years. They are now more durable and well-graded, as well as more decorative and aesthetically pleasing.
Gravel driveways are easy to lay and maintain. Moreover, gravel provides high permeability to water and is environment-friendly. Here, in this blog, we will provide guidance that will help you in choosing the best gravel that fits your purpose.
What are the Benefits of Gravel Driveway?
Gravels are available in multiple shapes, sizes and colours. You can choose a gravel that can add to the beauty of your house and provide a modern look as well.
Low Maintenance Cost:
Gravels are easy to maintain because they don’t let any grass or weed grow on them. They are highly permeable and can sink into the water due to heavy rains. These sunken segments may need to be maintained at least once a year.
Gravels come cheaper as compared to other materials for driveways like tarmac or turf. They need very little maintenance, which makes them highly affordable and a good option to go for, especially if you have a long driveway.
Gravels offer you the easiest and quickest installation. They only need less than a week to settle once they are laid.
Due to their high permeability to the water, they provide fast drainage in the event of rain and leave your driveway puddle free.
What to Look for When Choosing Gravel for Your Driveway?
The shape of the Gravel
You should know that angular gravels are the best option for driveways. It is due to their ability to settle down and lock their surfaces with adjacent gravels. This provides a highly stable layer of gravel at the end. Round gravels, on the other hand are less stable and can displace easily when driven on.
Size of the Gravels:
Gravel driveways are three-layered driveways. Make sure to use well-graded gravel otherwise the driveway may suffer from uneven settlement issues.
- The base layer is laid with larger-sized gravel. They are supposed to bear the loads and transfer them to the soil. Moreover, due to their large void spaces, they don’t let the water rise through capillary action.
- The middle layer consists of normal-sized gravel that fills the gaps between the gravels of the base layer.
- The top layer has smaller gravels that provide a smoother surface. They should be between 14mm and 20mm.
Material of the Gravels:
There are many materials available in the market that you can choose from. They provide different colours, strengths and prices that you can choose from. However, some of the most commonly used gravels are:
Colour of the Gravels:
Gravels come in many colours. You can choose a colour that matches the overall finish of your house. However, it is important to see what that gravel will look like when it is wet. Moreover, the colour of your choice may change the material choices for you, because a single material only comes with limited or no colour choice.
However, here are some general colour ideas that may prove helpful:
- For a darker shade, Green Granite not only provides a graceful look to your driveway but also offers sufficient strength and bearing capacity.
- If you want something lighter, you can choose golden gravels that will provide a cream-coloured look which contrasts perfectly with darker brickwork.
- A white crushed marble provides elegance and highlights the darker surroundings, including grass and trees. However, white gravel needs to be cleaned regularly to maintain its beauty.
- For a much darker shade, charcoal granite has become a rather popular choice
Installation and Maintenance of Gravel Driveways
- Installation of gravel driveways can be done in 8 simple steps that are written below:
- Mark the path of the driveway properly.
- Clean the top soil properly. Make sure you clear all the grass and weed as well. If you leave any debris or biodegradable material on the surface, that may cause non-uniform settlement issues in the future.
- Calculate the quantity of gravel needed for every layer. You can calculate that by multiplying the length, width and thickness of the layer. The thickness of the layer can depend upon the loads that it is going to bear.
- Procure the gravels that you are going to use for your driveway.
- Level the ground properly before commencing the laying procedure.
- Spread the base layer of gravel and start compacting. Make sure you compact the layer properly, or else unstable gravels may cause settlement issues.
- Add a middle layer of gravel on the base layer. The gravel in the middle layer should be smaller than the base layer.
- After laying the middle layer, spread the surface layer of gravel and shape them. Make sure to lay them in such a way that you can see the middle layer from it. It will help the driveway to drain the runoff properly without damaging the driveway
- Spread and shape the surface layer of gravel.
Gravel driveways do not require much maintenance, however:
- Rake your driveway regularly to remove any debris. This will also break up compacted gravel.
- Over the years, the top surface may get thin. You can add more gravel on affected points easily.
How Much Gravel Do I Need for My Driveway?
This depends upon the length and the width of your driveway; however, it is easy to calculate. You only have to multiply the length, width and thickness of the layer.
How to Avoid Dust Settling on My Gravel Driveway?
You can do that by simply spraying water on the driveway at least once a week.
How Long Does a Gravel Driveway Last?
Gravels are highly durable and enduring material. If properly maintained and looked after, a gravel driveway can last decades.
Do I Need Planning Permission to Install a Gravel Driveway?
No, you don’t need planning permission to install gravel driveways.