How to lay a gravel driveway

UK Home Improvement

How to Lay a Gravel Driveway

Driveways are a great way to make the front of your property more functional, so having one of high quality that works for you is essential.

Not only does a driveway provide people with a place to safely store vehicles, but they also offer enhanced accessibility, boosts your property’s appearance and in some cases even increases its value.

Gravel is one of the most popular materials when it comes to creating a new driveway, providing a property with a wide range of benefits.

And the good news is that, in most cases, you can install a gravel driveway yourself. 

If you’re wondering how to lay a gravel driveway, then we’re here to help.

The process is fairly straightforward if you know what to do, and we’ve put together this handy guide explaining everything you need to know.  

What Is A Gravel Driveway?

Let’s take a closer look at what a gravel driveway actually is.

Gravel is an aggregation of thousands of tiny rock fragments, and it’s used for a wide range of building and landscaping purposes. It occurs naturally across the world, but stones are also crushed commercially in order to produce gravel.

In addition to driveways, gravel is also frequently used when installing patios, garden paths, rockeries and other outdoor features. 

The material is available in a whole host of colours and sizes, meaning people can easily customise a gravel design specifically to their unique needs and preferences. 

What Are The Benefits Of A Gravel Driveway?

Before we go into detail on how to lay a gravel driveway, let’s take a moment to look at the range of excellent benefits they can bring to your property. 


First and foremost, gravel is one of the most affordable building materials you can buy. When compared to other driveway options like concrete or asphalt, gravel is extremely low-priced. Plus, as you don’t necessarily need to hire builders to lay it for you, you’ll be saving money here, too. 

Great Drainage

Water pooling on the surface of a driveway is a nightmare no one wants to have to deal with. And with the amount of rain the UK receives, it’s important your driveway has a competent drainage system in place. Gravel driveways have excellent drainage due to the fact that gravel is a permeable material. This means any rainwater will naturally seep through into the ground below.  

Wide Range of Designs

Gravel driveways can be made bespoke to the property, with a whole host of product options available. Not only does gravel come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but coloured options are also available, meaning you can create different patterns to achieve any look you desire.  

Good Traction

Most people use driveways to park their vehicles on, so you want to ensure it has good traction and grip for your car’s tyres. Fortunately, gravel provides brilliant traction. Even in heavy rainfall or snowy conditions, the chances of slipping or skidding in your vehicle are minimised with gravel. 

Environmentally Friendly

As it’s a natural material, gravel is environmentally friendly and requires very little processing. Plus, it doesn’t release any harmful pollutants and can be reused if necessary. 

Easy To Install

Another great advantage of a gravel driveway is that it’s relatively easy to install. Check out our next section to find out how to lay a gravel driveway… 

How To Lay A Gravel Driveway 

If you’re wondering how to lay a gravel driveway, you’ve come to the right place. Follow the steps below and you’ll have a quality gravel driveway in no time!

Choose Your Gravel

The first thing you need to do is choose a gravel option that is most suitable for your driveway. 

Gravel is available in a variety of sizes and colours, so take some time to consider what is best for the front of your home. Your local DIY store is likely to have a range of types to choose from or you can research the different options online. 

Measure The Driveway

Once you’ve settled on the gravel type, it’s time to measure your driveway. This is an important step as it’ll help you determine how much gravel you’re going to need. 

Get a length and width measurement and multiply the two figures. This will provide you with a square metres measurement. As a general rule, one bulk bag of gravel should cover 10m2 for a 50mm depth.

There are also online gravel calculators to assist if you’re still unsure. 

Decide On Edging

Next, you need to decide on edging. Creating a border for your driveway will help with its aesthetics and is always recommended.

For this, you could use solid block borders (they’re available in a range of colours), or even large rocks and boulders to create a more natural look. It’s totally up to you and dependent on your own design preferences. 

Start Digging!

Now the hard work begins!

You need to prepare the area for the gravel which involves a lot of digging. You’ll need to remove anything that currently exists in the driveway area, including debris, turf or topsoil. 

You will need to dig out an area to a depth of around 50mm-200mm. If you’re just laying gravel, a minimum depth of 50mm is required but if you’re using a sub-base this will need to be 150mm. In this guide, we’re including the sub-base step but it’s up to you.

Once you’ve reached the required depth, you will need to ensure the driveway is flat and compact. A roller may be needed to do this effectively depending on the state of the surface. 

Lay Your Sub-base

Next, it’s time to lay your sub-base. 

While this step is optional, we recommend doing it as it ensures your driveway remains stable and will not sink under the weight of vehicles. There is a wide range of sub-base products on the market, with many people opting for the MOT Type 1 product. 

You will need to leave a 50mm gap between the sub-base and the surface as this is where your grave is going to go. 

Add A Weed Prevention Membrane 

We also recommend installing a weed prevention membrane. You can purchase one of these products at your local DIY store, and they’ll prevent weeds from growing on your new driveway.  

Add Your Gravel 

The final step is to simply add your chosen gravel to the driveway. 

Make sure it is spread evenly across the surface with a rake to achieve a consistent look. 

Now you have your brand-new driveway in place, you’re going to want it to remain looking its best. 

Job Done!

Fortunately, gravel driveways are pretty low maintenance, but there are still a few things you can do to keep it looking great. Firstly, give it a rake every now and again. This will keep it looking even and also identify any debris, such as stones, twigs and leaves that you might want to remove.

While the weed prevention membrane will do most of the work, from time to time some pesky weeds may still sneak through. In this situation, simply remove them by hand or use a weed killer if the problem is persisting. 

Finally, over the years it’s normal for the gravel to begin looking a bit sparse. This is an easy fix, as it can be simply topped up with a fresh layer of gravel of your choosing.   


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