Predetermine the exact location where the driveway will run. Measure the width and length of the location. Take the totals for width and length, and multiply them together. This number is the total square footage of the driveway.
Calculate your gravel depth. A driveway that can last for many years has a depth of 12 inches, or 1 foot. Calculate cubic feet of gravel stones needed by multiplying your total square footage by the depth in feet. Take the cubic feet total and divide this by 27, which is the number of cubic feet in a cubic yard. Multiply the cubic yards total by 1.5 to determine how many tons of gravel to purchase.
Clear away any rocks, tree roots, debris and large sticks from the driveway location. Use a shovel--along with several helpers with shovels--to remove the top soil layer of the driveway ground. Keep digging down for any soft spots in the driveway top soil. You need to eliminate these soft spots to prevent future problems, such as ruts in the gravel.
Stamp down the sub soil with a vibrating plate. Gravel driveways perform better on top of firm sub-soil layers. Vibrating plates are available to rent at hardware and equipment rental stores.
Place geotextile fabric on top of the entire driveway surface. Use large rocks to hold the fabric down to the sub soil if it's a windy day.
Spread 4 inches of crushed run gravel on top of the geotextile fabric. Spread this first layer over the entire surface of the driveway, forming a crown in the middle to aid in water drainage, with a rake or shovel. Each additional layer of crushed gravel will be smaller than the last layer in size.
Pour 4 inches of #57 crushed angular gravel on top of the first layer of stones. Spread this layer using a shovel or rake, forming a crown in the middle.
Spread 4 inches of #78 crushed angular gravel on top of the last layer. Form a crown in the middle of the driveway using a shovel or rake.