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Exterior renovationsMaking a Gravel Driveway
It goes without saying that asphalt is usually the first material that comes to mind when considering a new driveway. However, there are other options on the market that are just as durable and aesthetically pleasing.
For those who want to choose a material that’s both natural and eco-friendly, why not opt for gravel? Whether your project covers the entire driveway or just a single walkway, gravel is compact, comes in many different colours, and is relatively inexpensive.
Here are the steps to follow to make a gravel driveway, as well as a brief summary of the pros and cons of using this material.
As with any project, the first step is to make a plan. When you start planning, keep in mind that the walkway will need to be wide enough for pedestrians to move around easily. Also, bear in mind that if you plant flowers and shrubs around the edges, as these plants grow, they’ll lessen the amount of usable space you’ll have on your pathway.
With this in mind, a walkway should be between 80 centimetres and 1.3 metres wide, which is also sufficient space to walk around with gardening equipment or a lawnmower. You'll be glad you created this walkway when it’s time to plant your garden. There's no way your wheelbarrow will get stuck in the mud and, as a bonus, your shoes will remain dirt-free!
Once you've established the dimensions of the driveway, you'll need to calculate the amount of gravel required. On average, 50 kg of gravel per square metre is a good enough guideline. Before you start calculating, consider that the driveway will consist of two to three layers of gravel to ensure its durability and resistance, especially given the Quebec winters.
While river stones are commonly used for flowerbeds, 0-¾-inch stone dust is preferred when filling in a pathway. Also, crushed stone is preferred over rolled gravel. For driveways and yard pathways, opt for decorative gravel between 7 and 20 millimetres. Before you start laying gravel, you may need to sift it around a bit to clean out any dirt so that you don't accidentally create gaps prone to weed growth right in the middle of your walkway.
Also, consider the materials you’ll want to use for your driveway. For example, you may want to lay a cobblestone or paving stone border, or create small holes to incorporate lights, and so on.
First off, mark the edges of the driveway with string and stakes. Next, dig about 10 centimetres deep. To work with a level surface, make sure to smooth the bottom of the dugout with a garden roller and lay down a geotextile fabric. Then, you can start pouring the first layer of gravel, which consists of ¾-inch "uniform" gravel, about 8 centimetres thick.
It's vital to choose gravel with similar shaped — and sized — pebbles, otherwise the gravel will eventually become so compacted that water won't be able to filter through it. To achieve an even layer, go over the entire surface with a garden roller suited for the width of the path.
Next, you'll need to lay a geotextile fabric on top of the gravel so that the second layer can be poured without the first layer mixing in. This second layer of gravel will be about 2 centimetres thick. As for the size of the pebble in question, you're pretty much free to choose the size of pebbles you want. But, remember that fairly fine gravel will give off a more aesthetically pleasing finish. Top it off by smoothing out the top layer with the garden roller.
Although it's not entirely necessary to do so, it might be a good idea to have the first layer of geotextile fabric pulled up over the edges of the driveway to ground level. This'll prevent shrub roots at the edge of the path from growing into the driveway.
When it comes to the advantages of putting in a gravel driveway, the first thing to note is the low cost of gravel, which is about $35 per square metre. Secondly, gravel prevents water from accumulating, as it filters it naturally. Therefore, a gravel driveway keeps water from pooling on its surface.
Furthermore, note that gravel is an eco-friendly material, reducing the negative impact this task could have on the environment. Bear in mind that if you want to create a winding driveway, it'll be easier to achieve with gravel than with asphalt. Finally, this type of project requires few technical skills, and even fewer people to assist, which is a definite advantage.
As for the drawbacks of this type of driveway, note that gravel does have a tendency to loosen up a bit over time. As a result, it requires a little more maintenance than a traditional asphalt driveway. In fact, you'll need to add gravel within a few years of its initial construction to keep it level. Moreover, it is not recommended to gravel steep driveways. Rainwater will wash away the gravel and your beautiful driveway will succumb to gravity’s forces.
RenoQuotes.com can help you get quotes for your gravel driveway project. By submitting your project, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will get estimates from trusted professionals.
Last modified 2023-11-07
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