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.