When you don't need the stability or permanence of a concrete or asphalt driveway, building a gravel driveway may save you a lot of time and money. Gravel driveways tend to require a little more maintenance over time, but if you build it correctly, you'll keep recurring issues to a minimum. Install the driveway with some tools you probably already have in your shed. However, the job will be much easier and get done a lot faster if you rent large equipment for the job.
Measure out the length and width for the driveway. Place stakes every few feet along the perimeter and run string from stake to stake. This will give you a visual on exactly where to install the driveway.
Multiply the length of the driveway by the width. This number will tell you how many square feet of geotextile fabric to purchase. Now multiply the square footage by 2/3 to find out how much cubic feet of scalping stone you need, then multiple the square footage by 1/3 to figure out how much small gravel you will need.
Dig out the path of the driveway to a depth of 1 foot. If you encounter any soft spots, dig these out as well, until you reach hard earth.
Walk back and fourth across the driveway and remove any organic material such as roots, sticks or leaves.
Tamp down the dirt over the entire area that you just dug out.
Lay out the geotextile fabric, also called landscaping fabric, along the bottom of the driveway. You don't need to secure it down, but only install it when you are ready to add the gravel, since it can blow away if left uncovered in the wind.
Place the scalping stone into the driveway. Even out this layer with your shovel so that it is 8 inches deep throughout the driveway.
Tamp down the scalping stone layer.
Place the gravel onto the driveway. Spread it out and level it using your shovel, then tamp it down. Lay a 2-by-4 across the driveway, and use the level on it to check the evenness up and down the driveway. Then move a small amount of gravel from the edges to the center, to give the driveway a slope to either side.