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How To Make A Gravel Driveway Look Good: 6 Top Tips

How To Make A Gravel Driveway Look Good: 6 Top Tips

A gravel driveway is one of the most popular choices in the UK. Not only are they the cheapest to build, they also can look wonderful if they are laid correctly, and adequately maintained.

However, a gravel driveway that hasn’t been carefully thought through will look untidy and unruly within weeks, making you wish you had chosen a different driveway material, such as concrete, resin or tarmac.

It is known that a new driveway can add as much as 10% to the value of your home, although a driveway that is in poor condition can affect the value of your home for the worse.

Therefore, if you are going to have a new driveway laid, it is essential that you get a good contractor , and choose the right design.

A gravel driveway can be a great choice, and our hints and tips on making your gravel driveway look good will ensure you are adding value-rather than detracting from its overall appeal…

Top Tip No.1: Start As You Mean To Go On

A gravel driveway cannot be simply thrown together in an afternoon. While some people may think they can add a tonne or more of gravel to their existing driveway space, and cover over what is below, they are very much mistaken. A good gravel driveway needs to be carefully prepared for.

This will involve digging out the sub-base, compacting the earth, and adding three layers of stone. Starting with layers of differently sized stone, and working up to the gravel layer, each layer must be compacted to ensure structural stability throughout.

This allows for drainage, and will make it less likely that the stones will move around. You should also add in a weed control barrier over the soil to prevent the growth of grass and weeds that will ruin your driveway, and lead to the backbreaking work of trying to pull them out.

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How To Make A Gravel Driveway Look Good: 6 Top Tips

Top Tip No.2: Think Through The Edgings

A gravel driveway must have good borders or edging stones. These can be slightly raised bricks, small walls or dug out borders. If you fail to include edgings, you will find that the gravel makes its way onto your lawn, or out into the road.

Your lovely thick layer of gravel will very soon become a thin and ragged looking driveway, with the sub-base poking through. You will need to top up your driveway much more often.

Top Tip No.3: Design Your Driveway With Forethought

Always take your time to design your gravel driveway with care. This might mean thinking about how the drive will sweep, if it will be a simple rectangle, if you will have garden borders to soften the edges, and, of course, if it will go right up to the house, or if you want to incorporate pathways and steps.

You may wish to employ a driveway expert to help you with this stage, as they should be able to give you advice on the best layout for your driveway and your home, and they can advise on your soil and the need to create the right sub-base, and gravel choices as well.

Top Tip No.4: Take Time To Select Your Stones

When deciding on the type of gravel you want, you need to consider the size of the gravel and the colour. A pea gravel driveway will have that classic crunchy sound, and is easy to drive on and walk on.

However, one with larger stones can be easier to keep in place, and will offer a more rustic feel. The stones will also be less likely to sink into the ground, get tracked into the house, or onto the grass.

When it comes to colour, you should try to choose something that is timeless. While it may be tempting to choose stones that are bright, white or black – you should consider how well these stones fit with the house and the gardens.

You will also have your new driveway for many years, so think ahead; fashions may well change. Consider too, the material, as softer stones, such as slate, will be crushed beneath the weight of the cars, and marble will be very expensive.

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How To Make A Gravel Driveway Look Good: 6 Top Tips

Top Tip No.5: Conduct Regular Maintenance

Your gravel driveway requires regular maintenance. This will include taking the stones from the edgings back towards the middle.

The stones will naturally move around as they are driven over, and dips will form where the tyres generally run. These dips can lead to puddles, and a loss of traction. By raking the stones back into place at least once every week, you can maintain the good looks of your driveway.

Your gravel driveway will also need topping up at least once per year. People often wonder where all of the gravel disappears to. Some of it will end up in your border gardens, or even on the street – but much of it will simply sink into the earth beneath your driveway.

Surprisingly, this can happen to a good percentage of the original gravel, and you will need to top it up with much more than you might initially expect.

Your gravel may also need cleaning from time to time. This is a tricky job, but a good hose over dirty areas can help. Oil from cars, dirt from beneath, and any other stains can be avoided by regular cleaning. Good levels of rainfall can help too.

Top Tip No.6: Avoid Standing Water

You may find that your gravel driveway develops puddles and areas of standing water. Not only can these cause it to look unsightly, but it also is an indication that there is something not right about the sub-base.

If not enough crushed rock has been used in the base, water may not drain as readily as it should. This will lead to water puddling on the surface.

Also, if the earth starts to sink beneath the weight of the vehicles, it can be another sign that the driveway doesn’t have a suitably compacted base. Dips and holes in your driveway should always be investigated.

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How To Make A Gravel Driveway Look Good: 6 Top Tips

Resin Bound Surfacing: A Great Alternative To Gravel

A resin bound driveway is a great alternative to a gravel driveway, as it has a similar look, but it is far easier to maintain those good looks. With the gravel being bound in resin before being laid directly onto a strong and sturdy concrete base, these driveways are refreshingly long lasting. 

resin bound driveway needs little more than a jet wash from time to time to clean off excess dirt, and they are designed to not suffer with the issues detailed above. They are water permeable, and allow rainwater to sink into the earth beneath, leading to very few problems with standing water or puddling.

Resin bound driveways meet all of the aesthetic properties that you might want from your driveway, and they are longer lasting than a standard gravel driveway.

The only thing they are missing is the lovely crunchy sound as you drive in. This is a small price to pay for a driveway that looks the part, and remains that way for many more years to come.

Seeking further information on how resin surfacing can help you upgrade your driveway for the long-term? Talk to our expert team today, Calling 0800 1700 636 or by simply clicking the button below!

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