What Kind Of Gravel Is Best For A Driveway?
There’s nothing quite like the sound of driving or even walking over a crunchy gravel driveway. It is an undeniably, satisfying sound, and gives your home an elegance that you just can’t get with other driveway materials.
But your choice of gravel for your driveway is a huge part of achieving the right look, and the correct ‘crunch’ from footfall or vehicles. If the stones are too large, your driveway will be uncomfortable to walk on; too small, and the stones will disappear into the earth below.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled the following guide to choosing the right stone for your gravel drive, including some top tips to prevent displacements, and a thoroughly modern material that surpasses the shortfalls of wayward stones…
Why Choose A Gravel Driveway?
You have a few options when it comes to the perfect driveway – concrete, asphalt, resin, and paving blocks. Gravel is by far the cheapest of these choices, but might require the most maintenance in the long term.
Gravel driveways do have lots of benefits that make it a popular choice, including the following:
● It offers an attractive finish to most homes, and adds rustic charm to even the densest of urban areas.
● The materials are easy to find, and cheap to buy.
● You can lay your driveway yourself relatively easily.
● Gravel is a great security option, as you can hear if someone is driving or walking on the surface.
● You can choose the colour of gravel you want to complement your home.
There some disadvantages too, including the fact that you will need to top up the gravel regularly as it sinks into the ground, and the gravel will travel into the borders, onto the road, and even trampled into your home!
You will need to regrade the gravel regularly to avoid low spots that can easily turn to mud in wet weather. A gravel driveway will almost always need significantly more gravel that you expect, and when it comes to topping it up, you may not be able to get an exact match to the gravel you already have.
You have a choice of material for this top layer too. It can be crushed limestone, granite and even concrete. There are also many colours to choose from to give you the look you want. The types of stone you choose will influence the overall price and the look of the driveway too
Gravel Driveway Construction: The Process
To achieve the correct construction of your gravel driveway, you should start with a prepared surface that has been dug out to a good depth, to allow for a thick covering of gravel.
You can add a weed control membrane to the driveway before the stones are added, to ensure that it stays free of weeds that could ruin the overall aesthetics. Now you can choose your gravel.
The laying of your driveway will involve three stages – each requiring different sizes of gravel. The first layer should be larger tennis ball sized stones, that are placed directly on the ground below.
These are for strength, and will provide a solid foundation that can be driven over, as well as prevent smaller stones from falling into the earth.
The second layer is around 10 to 20 centimetres of golf ball sized rocks. These will settle into the lower layer to provide excellent drainage. Not only do these stones provide a pathway for water to find its way into the earth, but it filters the water to make it less harmful to the environment.
The third layer is the smaller pea sized gravel that will be the finished result. This gravel should come with sand and dust added that will allow it to bond together as it is compacted. This allows it to stay in one place for longer, and it will require less maintenance too.
This leftover stone from the quarrying process is often used as a base, but it can also work well as a top layer if you so desire!
Gravel Types: 5 Main Options On Offer
Option 1: Crushed Stone:
Made from pulverised limestone, rock, gneiss or granite, this material is usually around 5cm in size, making it large enough and heavy enough to stay in place.
Crushed stones rather than natural rounded stones are popular because they offer less uniformity, and a more relaxed look. They are also considerably cheaper.
Option 2: Washed Stone:
In most cases, crushed stone will not be washed, and may contain dirt and dust.
This washed option removes all of that unwanted debris, and can leave your driveway looking cleaner.
Option 3: Pea Gravel:
This smooth and rounded stone is pea-sized, and is easy to drive and walk on. There are a variety of different colours to choose from, including: white, browns and creams.
Consequently, it is easy to get a classic or modern look, depending on the choice you make.
Option 4: Marble Chips:
Chips have a tangibly sharper texture, but they tend to offer a more contemporary feel. You can get these in a number of different colours and sizes.
You can also choose slate chips, although these are known for being quite weak, and may become more crushed as they are driven over.
Option 5: Quarry Stone:
This leftover stone from the quarrying process is often used as a base, but it can also work well as a top layer.
The added dust allows the top layer to embed more readily into the lower layers, and will give the driveway greater solidity.
A resin bound driveway still has the good looks of a gravel driveway, due to the choice of gravel you can use. With all of the aggregate options available, you can have almost any colour you want, and even a mix of shades to achieve a look that is truly timeless!
Are There Any Alternatives To Traditional Gravel?
A resin bound driveway can be a great choice for your driveway as it offers the looks of gravel without the maintenance and ongoing topping up. Resin bound features a simple mix of gravel with resin that is applied to a prepared base.
The driveway is smooth and solid, and designed to last 20 years or more without needing to be repaired or replaced. This sets it apart from gravel, which needs yearly top-ups to keep it on track.
A resin bound driveway still has the good looks of a gravel driveway, due to the choice of gravel you can use. With all of the aggregate options available, you can have almost any colour you want, and even a mix of shades to achieve a look that is truly timeless.
Gravel is a lovely driveway choice, but you may find that for both longevity, and ease of care, a resin bound driveway comes out on top. Start your journey to a premium performing driveway today, by calling 0800 1700 636, or by simply clicking the button below!