Among the different types of garden paths, the gravel path is the cheapest, especially if you build it yourself.
Be careful, however: before pouring the gravel, it is essential to prepare the foundations of your driveway:
it is meticulous and very physical work, especially if you want to build a driveway.
This practical sheet explains how to make a gravel driveway, whether pedestrian or vehicular, the first case being the simplest, not requiring heavy machinery.
1. Define the Use of Your Gravel Driveway
Pedestrian gravel driveway: you can easily make it yourself because it will not be necessary to disengage the ground to a great depth. Be careful with the volume and weight of the materials to be handled!
Drive-on gravel driveway: this type of driveway requires a significant amount of soil to be drained and a thick underlay to be laid, which must be well-groomed. These are jobs requiring physical strength and the use of a roller compactor or even a mini excavator.
2. Draw Your Gravel Path
Materialize the boundaries on each side of the lane with a line, so that your lane is perfectly straight.
With a meter, check that the edges are strictly parallel.
Materialize the boundaries on each side of the lane with a flexible garden hose held at regular intervals by stakes.
With a meter, check at different places that the edges of the aisle are strictly parallel.
3. Unpack the Ground
Lower the ground over the entire surface of the lane, making sure that the surface is as flat as possible.
– Pedestrian walkway: unpack with a shovel to a depth of about 10 cm.
– Driveway: unpack with a shovel, or better still a mini excavator, to a depth of about 25 cm.
– Remove large tree roots if necessary.
– Level the bottom of the excavation with the back of a rake.
Note: Consider recovering the valuable topsoil removed for later use in beds or other plantations.
4. Apply an All-Round Underlay
Note: Given the amount of all comers and gravel required, buy them by the ton in a quarry.
– Start by spreading a 0-40 (crushed stone) underlay at the bottom of your excavation:
◦ 8-9 cm layer for a pedestrian walkway (which will be reduced to about 6-7 cm once groomed);
◦ 25 cm layer for a driveway (which will be reduced to about 20 cm once groomed with a roller compactor).
– You should dame this layer firmly:
◦ with a garden roller or a cast iron for a pedestrian walkway;
◦ or with a roller compactor for a driveway.
– In order to fill the gaps between the stones, cover the whole area with a thin layer of sand spread with a rake.
5. Place a Geotextile Marker
Unroll a geotextile marker over the entire surface of the lane that:
– will slow down the growth of weeds;
– will prevent the roots from rising again;
– will prevent any deformation of your driveway.
6. Cover Your Driveway with Gravel
Choose fairly fine gravel, but not too fine: 6-20 gravel is a good compromise.
– Load the gravel into a wheelbarrow and spread it as evenly as possible with a shovel.
– Spread a layer that is neither too thin nor too thick (too thin it would disappear quickly, too thick it would make walking uncomfortable): a layer of 3 to 4 cm is ideal.
Namely: for a 4 cm layer, count 1 m3 of gravel for a surface area of 25 m².
– Using a rake, scrape the gravel to level the driveway.
Note: every 3 years or so, it will be necessary to partially recharge your gravel driveway to maintain its initial level.
7. Place a Border Along the Lane (Optional)
If you wish, finish your driveway with a paved curb, which will contain the gravel and aesthetically finish your work.
Hope the above helps you out in creating a beautiful driveway in your garden. Remember to share your views in the comment section below!