A gravel driveway is not just a surface for everyday vehicles; it is an integral part of your landscape design and one of the most important (and low-cost) parts of your landscaping project.
With all the options out there when it comes to driveways, ponder over whether gravel driveways are good or bad. You might have some preconceived notions. You might feel that they are not as attractive as concrete and asphalt. Similarly, you might have heard of or have seen an advanced amalgamated type of yard that consists of gravel and a mixture of colored sands, rubber materials, synthetic rubbers, and other such useful substances in their composition.
In this guide, we will discuss why gravel driveways are the best and why you should choose them.
What are gravel driveways?
Gravel driveways are a driveway surface option made up of crushed stone, which can be asphalt-impregnated or not. The stones used in this type of driveway are usually about the size of a grapefruit.
Benefits of gravel driveways
- Low cost: A gravel driveway is one of the most affordable driveway options available.
- Versatile: Gravel can be used for any vehicle, from cars to heavy trucks.
- Easy installation and maintenance: Installation is simple and does not require sophisticated equipment or materials. Maintenance is easy; all you need is a shovel to clear snow or debris from the surface.
- Aesthetically pleasing: Gravel can add beauty and character to your home’s landscape.
- Durable: Gravel is a durable driveway surface that can last for many years.
Factors to consider when choosing a gravel driveway
- Size and type of stones: The size and type of stones you choose will affect the appearance, durability, and cost of your driveway. Gravel comes in all shapes and sizes. Larger gravel pieces are typically more expensive than smaller ones.
- Soil conditions: Gravel driveways work best on well-drained soils. If your soil is not well-drained, consider installing a drainage system before installing a gravel driveway.
- Climate: Consider the climate in your area and how much snow or rainfall you typically experience. Gravel driveways are not suitable for cold climates where there is heavy snowfall.
- The slope on your property: If your property slopes, you may need to install retaining walls and/or drainage along the sides of your driveway.
- Driveway edging material: Consider what you will use to contain the gravel. Gravel can be contained with a variety of materials, such as edging stones or heavy-duty plastic edging.
- Driveway drainage: In order to prevent puddles from forming on your new gravel driveway, you need to make sure your contractor includes adequate drainage. If a puddle forms on your driveway after it rains, it can cause the surface underneath the water to erode away over time. This can form deep potholes in your driveway that are very difficult and expensive to repair.
Why are gravel driveways the best?
There are many reasons why people choose gravel as their preferred material for building a driveway. The following paragraphs will discuss some of these reasons so that you can decide whether it’s right for your property needs:
- Aesthetics: Gravel driveways come in a variety of colors, so you can find the perfect one to match your home’s exterior. Whether you are looking for something traditional or want to try a more contemporary look, there is sure to be a style that will fit your needs. Plus, there are many types of stone to choose from so you can create an entirely new design for your driveway.
- Quick installation: A gravel driveway can be installed much faster than other types of driveways, which is why people prefer it for their homes. You don’t have to wait weeks or months before you get your new driveway up and running.
- Customizable: Gravel driveways are customizable because they come in many different colors, textures, and sizes – meaning you can create the perfect look for your home. You also have the option of choosing different types of stones to achieve the style you are looking for.
- Durability: Gravel driveway surfaces typically last much longer than other driveways – making it a wise investment in the long run. With proper care and maintenance, a gravel driveway can last for many years before needing a replacement.
- Safety: Gravel is not slippery when wet, making it safe for drivers and pedestrians alike. It is also easy to maintain traction on gravel driveways regardless of weather conditions, something that cannot be said for concrete or asphalt.
- Environmentally friendly: Gravel driveways do not require any chemical-based products to maintain them. Asphalt production requires petroleum and releases harmful emissions into the air when produced in factories. Concrete factories also use fossil fuels for production but emit less pollution than asphalt factories.
- Gravel is cheaper than other materials like concrete and asphalt, making it an ideal choice if budget constraints are present. The average cost of gravel delivery is also very reasonable. This also means less maintenance because they don’t require any type of upkeep except occasional sweeping (if desired) – which saves time too.
- Water drainage will be better with gravel compared to other surfaces such as concrete or asphalt – meaning less flooding risk during heavy rainstorms!
- Gravel does not require any type of maintenance except for occasional sweeping (if desired), which saves time too. Gravel driveways can be repaired simply by adding more gravel as needed. This can be done by hand or with a mechanical spreader with little effort involved. Gravel is also very affordable, so the cost of maintenance is relatively low compared to other types of driveway materials.
- If there are budget constraints present, then gravel is an ideal choice; because it’s cheaper than other materials like concrete and asphalt. This means that upkeep costs will also be lower when choosing a driveway made from these types of materials instead.
- Since gravel driveways are so easy to maintain, they’re perfect for people who want to spend less time taking care of their property and more time enjoying it. They’re also great if you want something that requires a little upkeep but still looks nice.
Cons of using gravel driveways
Gravel driveways require more maintenance over time. Gravel can be easily shifted and displaced, which means that you will need to put in extra work to make sure that the stones are even. If you live in a part of the country with heavy rainfall or snow, it is likely that your gravel driveway will get washed away from under your car as well as from underneath itself. Regrading the gravel driveway every six months or so will definitely add up when compared to using concrete or asphalt paving material.
Although some people claim they enjoy the aesthetic quality of having a pebbly path leading up to their home, others find it unsightly and wish for something cleaner-looking (such as concrete).
In addition, if you have a large gravel driveway, you may find your guests and family members tracking stones throughout your home.
Maintaining a Gravel Driveway
A gravel driveway is a great investment for your home. Not only does it add value to your property, but it is also an incredibly low-maintenance option. In fact, the only real maintenance you’ll need to perform on a gravel driveway is keeping it clear of debris and filling in any potholes that may form.
If you live in an area with harsh winters, be sure to keep an eye on your driveway during the cold weather months. Make sure all the snow and ice are cleared away so that they don’t cause any damage. If there are any large puddles or pools of water lingering after a storm, be sure to drain them as quickly as possible. Standing water can damage the driveway and cause it to become unusable.
Be sure to monitor your gravel driveway for any debris or dirt that may be getting in between the stones of the surface. It is important to remove these small rocks as they can lead to bigger potholes if left unchecked.
Also, make sure you are not driving over any puddles or large patches of water when using your gravel driveway. These conditions can cause deep ruts on your surface, which will need filling before they become dangerous hazards for cars passing by them at high speeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can gravel driveways last?
With proper maintenance, gravel driveways can last anywhere from a few years to a decade or more.
Is a gravel driveway better than asphalt?
Because gravel driveways are relatively quick to install and easy to repair, they have a much lower cost than asphalt.
Why should I choose a gravel driveway?
Gravel driveways require minimal maintenance compared with other types of surfaces like concrete or bitumen.
Why is my gravel driveway shifting?
Your gravel could be moving because you need more base rock under the surface layer, or it may just need compacting again.
Why do I need edging for my driveway?
Edging gives your property definition by separating different areas, such as lawns from graveled areas, and helps keep everything in place.
Gravel driveways are not just an economical and ecological alternative, but they can also be aesthetically pleasing. The key is to choose the right gravel based on your climate and topography and to have it installed properly. Once these factors are met, you can rest assured that your gravel driveway will last for many years with minimal upkeep and care.
In summary, gravel driveways offer a variety of positive benefits for homeowners and the overall environment. Gravel is 100% natural and offers low maintenance compared to cement or asphalt. As with anything, there are some drawbacks, but all in all, gravel driveways are a great choice for both the environment and your home.