DIY Driveway Gravel


A gravel driveway can be a long-lasting permanent installation if you prepare the subsoil properly to keep water from eroding the gravel. The angular, uneven pieces of gravel will lock together, performing as one large rock surface instead of many small stones. Your local hardware store can recommend a reliable gravel supplier in your area and can help you estimate the amount of gravel you will need.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Tape measure
  • Geotextile fabric
  • Level
  • Hand tamper
  • Clear away the top soil in the driveway with a shovel and wheelbarrow. Your finished driveway will be 10 to 12 inches deep, so excavate the area accordingly.

  • Lay your geotextile fabric on top of the newly exposed subsoil. Shovel large pieces of gravel on the edges to keep it from blowing away.

  • Spread a 4- to 6-inch deep layer of large gravel on top of the geotextile fabric, making the center of the driveway slightly higher than the sides to allow water to drain off the driveway.

  • Spread another layer of smaller gravel, 4 to 6 inches deep, on top of the large gravel. Level the surface with the flat edge of your shovel. With a level, make sure that the surface slopes slightly toward the edges of the driveway, redistributing gravel as necessary.

  • Press down the gravel with a hand tamper to create a unified surface.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tim Carter of Ask the Builder recommends that your large gravel be "the size of baseballs or even softballs" and your small gravel "no larger than a golf ball, with many of the stones being the size of marbles."
  • Do not use rounded gravel for your driveway, because rounded stones won't interlock and form a unified surface.

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  • Photo Credit gravel pattern image by jimcox40 from
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