- How to Level a Gravel Pad
- How to Remove Gravel
- How to Use White Chat Gravel
- How to Install DGA Gravel
- How to Calculate Compacted Gravel for Roads
- How to Gravel and Tar a Driveway
- How to Create a Gravel Driveway
- How to Keep Driveway Gravel From Shuffling
- How to Distribute Driveway Gravel
- How to Prepare a Gravel Driveway
- What Kind of Gravel Should I Put on a Sloped Driveway?
- How to Lay Decorative Gravel
- How to Remove Driveway Gravel From Lawn
- Smooth over a Gravel Road
- How to Repair a Gravel Driveway
Finding the correct material to use for a small structure's foundation or for a paved area can be a difficult decision given the choices available. When packed earth is too unstable and reinforced concrete far more substantial than needed, a gravel pad is often the answer. Long-lasting and strong enough to withstand use from light vehicular traffic, gravel pads tend to shift over time. Because of this, leveling the gravel regularly is a necessary part of maintaining the pad. It's not a difficult process, and most homeowners can proceed with the leveling process using simple tools and a bit of replacement gravel to deal with any loss.
Use a rake to go over the gravel surface of the pad, evening out the surface by lowering high areas and filling voids. Add additional gravel to fill depressions in the surface if necessary. Pour the gravel into the depressed area then smooth it out with the rake.
Level the pad by placing a 4-inch by 4-inch plank over the pad frame on opposite edges. Drag the form over the frame edge, using a back and forth motion to shift the gravel in front of the bar, leveling the surface in the process.
Wet the gravel pad with a water hose, dampening the gravel without saturating it. Tamp the gravel down, using a heavy object to compress the gravel. If the compressed gravel falls lower than the frame edges, add more gravel and repeat the smoothing/leveling process. Tamp again until the compressed surface is even with the top of the frame.
Review the weather forecast and wait for a sunny day to begin work. Precipitation will turn dirt around and beneath the gravel into mud, making the job messier and more difficult.
Set out a wheelbarrow for the gravel and a separate bucket for the mixed gravel and dirt. The top layers will be mostly gravel, but as you remove the bottom layer of gravel you'll scoop up dirt with the rocks. If you plan to re-use the gravel or give it to someone who will use it, it's worthwhile to keep the cleaner gravel separate.
Put on a pair of gloves and slide a shovel under the gravel beginning in one corner. Dump the gravel in the wheelbarrow and continue digging in the first section until you reach the last inch of gravel. Scoop the remaining gravel embedded in the soil into the bucket. If you plan to build a paved or natural stone walkway, you'll be able to reuse the gravel and dirt over landscape fabric as a bottom layer in the foundation.
Continue to dig up the gravel, working your way across the surface. Dump the wheelbarrow in a trailer or designated area to prevent the gravel from spilling over.
Purchase two rolls of landscape cloth. Also purchase the amount of gravel you need for your project, for example, lining shrubbery or placing around a tree base. The number of rolls depends on the size of the job.
Lay a tarp alongside the area you will place the gravel. Wear gloves for protection.
Dig approximately 2 inches into the ground at the base of your shrubbery. Remove the dirt and place it on the tarp. Continue removing ground cover until you form a dirt floor around the base.
Spread landscape cloth evenly along the dirt floor. Use a wheelbarrow to transport the gravel to your project's location.
Fill the dirt floor with white chat gravel, allowing for 2 to 2 1/2 inches of thickness. Remove the tarp along with the excess dirt.
Estimate the amount of DGA you need in cubic yards. First, measure the length and width of the area you are covering, then multiply the measurements together to get the square footage. Multiply the square footage by the thickness of gravel you want (in feet). Divide this number by 27 -- there are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard. For example, if you want to cover a 10-by-10-foot area with 3 inches of DGA.
10 x 10 x .25 (because 3 inches is ¼-foot) = 25 cubic feet 25 / 27 = .93 cubic yards.
Order the DGA and have it delivered in a dump truck. Have the truck dump the rocks in the middle of the area you are covering. If you are covering a large area, divide it into smaller areas and have the truck make several dumps. Stay several feet away from the trunk while it dumps the rocks.
Spread the rocks to evenly cover the area using a flat-edged shovel. Wear a dust mask and eye protection to protect yourself from rock dust. If you are covering the gravel with tar, you need to make it roughly level; use a large level in several spots around the area to check this. If you are using the DGA on a driveway without tar you don't have to be as careful, since it will even itself out with use over time.
Measure the width of the desired road. On average, a two-lane road is approximately 12 feet wide.
Measure the length of the road.
Calculate the depth of the desired road. An average gravel road has a depth of 4-6 inches.
Go to the gravel and sand calculator on the earthproducts.net web site. A link to the page is provided in the Resource section.
Enter the appropriate numbers in the boxes on the web page. Click the calculate button to determine the number of tons needed to create a compacted gravel road.
Compact the dirt surface with a heavy roller. Spread a 2-inch thick bed of medium gravel on the driveway using a shovel and a wheelbarrow. Level and smooth the gravel with a rake.
Apply a 1/4-inch to 3/8-inch thick layer of hot tar onto the gravel, using a commercial tar heater and sprayer. Work backwards, away from the tar application, so that you keep your feet out of the tar.
Apply fine gravel onto the tar while it is still warm. Throw the gravel onto the tar with a shovel and spread to an even coat with a rake. Work forward so that you're stepping onto the freshly laid gravel as you continue to apply it. Apply the gravel until you have a 1-inch layer of gravel applied to the tar.
Roll the tar and gravel combination with a heavy roller to compact it. Let the gravel and tar settle and cool for about 48 hours before putting a car or other heavy machinery onto it.
Measure the driveway area to be covered by length and width, using a tape measure, and multiply these figures to get surface area. Determine how deep you want your gravel; make the depth no more than 3 to 4 inches as more will result in a loss of traction or gravel being flung by tires.
Multiply your depth times your area (easiest to do in inches and convert to yards) so you'll know how much gravel you need. Multiply cubic yards by 1.5 to determine the tonnage of gravel necessary to complete your project.
Excavate the area for the driveway, using a shovel. Dig down until you have a firm surface that is mostly level. Create a slight bow in the middle of the driveway, called a crown, that slopes gently outward to either side. This will prevent water from accumulating in the middle of your driveway and will promote runoff. Pack soft areas with filler dirt.
Pound your driveway area with the vibrating plate to assure that the dirt is secure. If you don't do this, you risk having a driveway that will sag or rut easily.
Spread the gravel out evenly with a rake and wheelbarrow. Again, pay close attention to creating the crown along the center line of the driveway.
Drive the truck you used to lay the gravel over your driveway several times. This will help compact the gravel, which will keep it from shuffling. The heavier the vehicle you use, the better.
Build up a little more gravel in the middle of your driveway so that it angles downward toward the edges. This will help drain water from your gravel driveway. Water can weigh on the gravel, causing it to shuffle.
Remove any foreign objects from your gravel driveway. Periodically, you should look through your gravel driveway and remove any leaves, sticks or other objects you might find. These objects make for a poor foundation for your gravel driveway.
Keep an eye out for areas where your gravel driveway develops pockets or holes in its composition. This occurs when the gravel shifts. You need to fill in these areas or it will continue to do so.
Prepare the driveway that is to have gravel distributed over it before your start. Take a close look at your driveway. If it has deep ruts that tires have left, you will need to fill in these ruts with some packing dirt. These ruts can also be caused by snow and rain washing out those areas. Smooth out the area and make sure that the driveway has a "crown" to it, meaning that it is smooth, but slightly higher in the center with a very gentle slop towards the outsides of the driveway.
Use a dump truck or gravel truck; these are usually rented, to drive down the driveway to distribute the gravel evenly as it drives. Use rake type spreaders to even up any areas that received too much or too little gravel, being careful to keep the crown shape to the driveway.
Buy the amount of gravel you will need based upon whether you are spreading gravel on the driveway for the first time or adding additional gravel to a previously graveled driveway. For a first-time gravel spreading, you need considerably more gravel, as you should cover the prepared driveway with at least 3 to 4 inches of gravel. If you are doing general maintenance, fixing ruts and spreading more gravel, just make sure that you have at least 1-1/2 inches to 2 inches of gravel to add.
Spread the gravel on the driveway by using a dump truck or gravel truck for large loads. Use a motor spreader or "bobcat" type road spreader for medium sized jobs and even use basic shovels and rakes for small areas to spread.
Excavate the driveway site. Remove a 10-inch depth from the area, keeping the bottom of the excavated area level to the natural lay of the land. Follow the slope of the land and use a backhoe to simplify the excavation process.
Rake the area by hand, removing large rocks, roots and twigs. Place these items in a wheelbarrow for proper disposal.
Roll a mechanical tamper over the area to compact the soil. Continue tamping the ground until the soil feels completely hardened. No soft or spongy areas should exist.
Apply a layer of large, coarse gravel or landscape rock to the bottom of the excavated area. Make this layer about 3 inches thick. Run the mechanical tamper over this layer to compact the stone.
Apply another 3-inch layer of the large, coarse gravel or landscape rock to the area. Repeat the tamping process to compact the stone.
Apply a 3-inch layer of medium-size gravel over the 6-inch layer of large gravel. Compact the stone again with the soil tamper.
Place edging pavers along the outside edge of the excavated site. This helps prevent the gravel from spreading out of the driveway.
Apply a course of fine gravel to the rest of the driveway area. Fill up the area to the top of the edging pavers. Build up the middle of the gravel driveway, forming a slight dome shape that encourages water to run off the sides of the driveway.
Build the driveway on hard, compacted earth. Soft, soggy earth makes a poor foundation for a driveway. Ensure that the middle of the driveway is slightly higher than the edges so water drains efficiently. If the driveway is very sloped or curving, build ditches a few feet from the driveway to drain water.
Lay sheets of heavy-duty landscaping fabric over the soil to keep the dirt from mixing with the gravel. This may not be practical on long driveways.
Lay a 6- to 8-inch layer of crushed, baseball-sized stone on the driveway. This stone may be referred to as #3 stone, depending on the quarry. Rake it to smooth it. Compact the stone with a mechanical roller or tamper.
Add 4 inches of slightly smaller rock, such as #57 gravel, to the driveway. This rock should be about the size of a ping-pong ball. Level it and compact it, as well. Apply a final 4-inch layer of small, crushed rock, known as crusher run gravel.
Dig a trench for your gravel path using a shovel. Use a length of rope to mark the areas you are digging. Dig down at least four inches.
Even out the sides and bottom of your trench with a square-edged spade. The sides and bottom should be even, smooth and flat to prepare for the decorative gravel.
Add a little water to your trench with your garden hose and pack down the dirt with the 8" square hand tamper. Pound hard to make sure it is compacted well.
Place landscaping fabric inside the trench. This can be cut to fit your pathway. The shiny side of the fabric should be facing upwards.
Add the edging along the gravel path. Edging can be purchased at a home improvement store and should be the same height as the inside of your trench. Tap it into place with a wood block and hammer, through the landscaping fabric and into the ground of the trench.
Fill the trench with decorative gravel, leaving about half an inch of space around the edging. Use a rake to smooth it out.
Rake up small amounts of gravel into piles with a leaf rake.
Pull the gravel into a dustpan with your hand.
Dump the gravel back into the driveway.
Fill the fuel tank of the power broom with fuel.
Pull start the power broom by pulling on the pull string handle.
Stand on the lawn with the power broom facing the driveway.
Engage the power broom and push the broom toward the driveway as it sweeps the gravel in that direction.
Rake or shovel gravel from the area of a sink hole to expose the dirt underneath.
Fill the hole with dirt so that dirt is above the level of the driveway by a few centimeters. Water the soil to sink it in place. Level the dirt using a rake, and drive a vehicle over the dirt several times to pack the soil. Add more soil if necessary.
Rake and shovel the gravel onto the repaired area. Add more gravel to patchy areas throughout the driveway. Drive a vehicle over the area again to level out the gravel and soil.