Gravel is a functional and inexpensive way to surface your driveway, particularly if your property is set back from the road. However, a downside to gravel (or stone) driveways is they're subject to potholes caused by water and erosion. This happens over time, when some of the gravel surface is removed and a section of the underlying ground becomes uncovered. After a rain, water puddles up in any small depression that over time becomes a pothole. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can repair potholes in your gravel driveway depending on how deep they are and the amount of time and money you're willing to spend. Here are some ideas on how to patch and repair your gravel driveway.
How to Patch a Gravel Driveway
Start by filling the hole with small rocks, then covering them with sand until they are almost level with the surrounding surface.
Using the back of the shovel, compact the sand and rock an inch or so below the surface, then add a layer of gravel.
Finish this simple repair by packing the gravel surface layer down.
Create a more permanent fix using granite sand in place of ordinary sand. Granite sand is a very heavy type of sand that hardens much like concrete when it gets wet. By following the same technique, but substituting granite sand for ordinary sand, after the next rainfall you will have an almost permanent repair.
How to Repair a Driveway
Repairing your driveway rather than patching it may be necessary if it's in bad shape. Snow plows will often scrape surface gravel to the sides of the drive, removing the crown in the drive and leaving the center uncovered. The gravel scraped off to the sides forms a "berm" along the edges of the drive that actually keeps water from flowing off to the sides.
Rake the gravel from the sides back into the middle of the driveway, which will hopefully get rid of the berm and allow water to run off. This will work as long your driveway isn't too long, because it is hard work.
Hire a grader to regrade your driveway or get a blade attachment for your lawn tractor and do the job yourself for a more permanent fix.
Consider installing sluice to control runoff if your drive has a downward slope and water is cutting a groove.
Use a pick or a mattock to widen the groove cut by the water. You want the widened groove to be about 6 inches wide and 6 inches deep, then line your newly widened groove with a layer of granite sand or clay.
Create your sluice by building a gutter for the water by simply using 2-by-4's for the sides and bottom and installing steel mending plates every 18 inches or so on top to hold the sluice together and keep tires from going into the opening.
Finish the repair by digging a catch basin near the uphill end of your sluice to give water a place to pool up before running downhill.
Things You Will Need
- Small rocks (2 to 3 inches)
- Fresh gravel
- Granite sand
- Pick or mattock
- Lumber 2-by-4's
- Steel mending plates
- Regrading a driveway is easier a few days after it has rained when the surface is still slightly damp and soft.
- Steel mending plates and granite sand should be available at a home or hardware store.