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How to Create a Gravel Driveway

By Elizabeth Stephens ; Updated September 21, 2017
Create an attractive and practical gravel driveway.

A gravel driveway is a simple and attractive feature for a rural or country home. Such driveways are often less expensive to build and easier to maintain than poured driveways, especially in areas where weather is more severe. Gravel provides traction in all weather conditions and can prevent vehicles from sinking when applied correctly. The more work done up front to ensure proper installation, the fewer problems you'll have with ruts and bumps.

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.


Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Shovel
  • Vibrating plate
  • Rake
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Gravel


  • Save any leftover gravel or order a little additional for touching up and filling in ruts. For your conversion measurements, remember that 1 cubic yard is equal to 27 cubic feet.

About the Author


Elizabeth Stephens majored in English and political science and has produced articles for student publications and various websites. She has been writing for publication since her freshman year in college in 2000. She is a certified English and political science secondary education teacher and taught high school for three years.