Choosing Gravel for Your Driveway

Choosing Gravel for Your Driveway

Hi there! Mike here, from MDI Rock. When it comes to deciding what material you want to use for your driveway, you have a few options. The most common masonry and rock products used for driveways include asphalt, concrete, pavers, and gravel. Depending on your price range and the desired look and feel you’re going for, you may or may not choose gravel for your driveway.

Why? A few reasons – while gravel is easily the most affordable option for a project of this magnitude, it does require more maintenance in the long-term. However, gravel is an incredibly durable rock that creates a strong foundation for your driveway. So, if you are willing to keep up with your driveway, then purchasing gravel is the way to go!

That said, your new dilemma is determining what type of gravel is right for your home. Fortunately, my team and I have years of experience consulting on landscaping projects that require this kind of information, so we can tell you from experience what we know will be best for you! 

Installing Gravel: The Process

Now, in addition to understanding the different types of gravel you can use in your driveway, it’s also important for homeowners to become familiar with the process of installing a gravel driveway. It may surprise you to learn that you’ll need three different gravel sizes to complete this project. The first layer of gravel will act as a solid foundation for the other layers of rock. The stones in the first layer are usually the size of baseballs, and they are also known as #3 stones.

Number three stones help keep some of the other rocks in place, and they ensure good drainage in rainy and snowy climates. The first layer should be about 4-inches thick, so keep in mind, you’ll need enough rock to complete the job. Next, you’ll need a second layer of rock about the size of golf balls, which are also called #57 rocks. These rocks act as a wonderful complement to some of the larger rocks underneath them, filling in various gaps to ensure a uniform look. Much like the first layer, this second layer of rock should be about 3-4 inches thick.

The third layer of rock is the final layer, and it typically consists of marble-sized rocks that have sharp angles as opposed to rounded edges. It’s important you stay away from smoother, rounder stones because these products create an unstable, slippery surface, making them inappropriate for driveways.

Choosing Gravel For The Top Layer

As we mentioned in the second part of this blog, you can’t choose just any gravel for the top layer of your driveway. In fact, when choosing rock for the top layer, you’ll want to select products that are described as “traffic bound” or “dense-grade” gravel. Why? Because this rock contains “fines” that form a cement-like bond when compacted by automobiles and other heavy machinery. At MDI Rock, our team often recommends the following rock products:

  • Crushed Shale
  • Concrete
  • Granite
  • Limestone
  • And more!

These rock products can get the job done, but you’ll need to complete other tasks to ensure your gravel driveway lasts a long time. It’s not enough to purchase the perfect product – you’ll need to prepare the job site as best as you can by removing any and all topsoil. This spongey, unstable soil is great for growing plants, but it’s not ideal for installing a gravel driveway.

After removing the topsoil, you may want to consider using chemical products that will keep weeds and other plants at bay. During the installation process, you’ll also want to ensure you make the middle of your driveway higher than the sides to help water drain quickly and efficiently. Additional equipment, like using a rolling machine, may also be needed to complete the job.

Make sure you have all the appropriate tools and information before diving in head first. The experts at MDI Rock will help get you the gravel you need, but it’s up to you to complete the rest! Please give us a call if you have any questions or would like a referral for a professional in your area.