These are all very important things to consider when it comes to choosing a new gravel driveway.
Gravel driveways and crushed stone driveways can be seen all over the United States! They’re affordable, relatively simple to maintain and you can create unique colors and designs with different types of gravel. In snowy regions they are much more difficult to maintain due to regular snow removal. If you’re planning on installing a gravel or crushed stone driveway and you live in a snowy region, plan on putting all of the gravel that was pushed off with the snow plow back onto your driveway every spring!
Gravel driveways can be installed in the shortest amount of time with very little impact on the use of your driveway. Gravel driveway installation should be accompanied by meticulous drainage planning and an experienced grader operator to minimize the ongoing maintenance as much as possible. Depending on the size and scope of work involved, the construction of a new crushed stone or gravel driveway can be installed by an experienced grading contractor generally over a 1 to 3 day period. Crushed stone or gravel driveway installation is relatively simple. Most of the work is done with grading equipment and front end loaders so it can be completed fairly quickly with minimal impact on your daily routine. You can also expect to drive on and use the driveway throughout the construction of of a gravel driveway.
If you already own a gravel driveway and it’s beginning to show the signs of aging and deterioration, has a tremendous amount of weeds and has severe rutting issues, starting from scratch may be in order! This absolutely should be performed by a reputable gravel or grading company that will do it right the first time. If the existing gravel driveway shows signs of unstable sub-grade, the soil should be excavated and new base or structural material installed and then the new gravel driveway design installed on top of that for a solid, long lasting gravel driveway.
A gravel driveway, if installed properly, can last up to 3 to 5 to even 10 years with regular upkeep and maintenance. The variation in age can be determined by the amount of slope on your driveway if any, the amount of curves in your driveway, the stability of the sub-grade, and the climate you live in.
A properly installed gravel driveway will need an herbicide applied annually or bi annually to minimize vegetation growth. Fine tuning and sprucing up and/or additional stone may need to be added every two to three years to keep it looking clean cut! The amount of maintenance of a gravel driveway is directly correlated to the quality of the installation and the amount of slopes and curves you may have on your driveway, combined with the amount of moisture and water runoff you receive. Applying a herbicide prior to the initial installation can help to minimize the amount of vegetation growth that will occur during the life of your gravel or crushed stone driveway. Keeping drainage planning in mind during the entire installation process will also help minimize ongoing maintenance. Keeping drainage ditches cleaned out and guiding the water runoff will also help extend the life of your gravel driveway.
When choosing between a gravel driveway and the other three types of driveways, take into the consideration these things:
Be sure and check with your HOA (if you have one) or your local government municipality to make sure a gravel or crushed stone driveway is acceptable in the area you live. Most HOA’s or municipalities do not allow gravel or crushed stone driveways.
Will a gravel or crushed stone driveway look good in front of your home? Maybe a different type of driveway will look better. Have you explored your options?
What is the climate like in your region of the country? Be sure and select a driveway type that make sense for your region.
If you want your driveway to last a lifetime, regular maintenance plays an important role in how long your gravel or crushed stone driveway will last.
How much and what kind of traffic do you expect to use your driveway? Normal, everyday passenger vehicle use or heavy vehicle use? Select a Driveway that make sense.
Select a driveway that fits into the budget short term and long term. Would a low maintenance or maintenance free driveway make better sense?
If the short term, up front cost is a deciding factor, gravel driveways are an excellent, low cost option. The long term trade off, however, is more ongoing maintenance costs. If up front costs are not as important and aesthetics are the most important as well as having a hard driving surface, then Asphalt Driveways, Concrete Driveways or Interlocking Paver Driveways are the alternatives. While initially the up front costs are higher, long term they require less maintenance costs especially you live in a snowy region.
As you can see, not maintaining a gravel driveway leads to weeds overgrowing the edges, blurring the clean cut look, and weeds creeping up into the gravel driveway making it look messy. You can also see an aging gravel driveway still doesn’t look bad, but the clean cut edges are gone.
Gravel Driveways can be a beautiful, low cost addition to your home. The wide variety of different colors of gravel and crushed stone available can provide for an endless amount of designs and colors. See some different Colorful Design Ideas For Gravel & Crushed Stone Driveways.
If you’re considering having a new gravel driveway installed, see our Gravel Driveway Installation FAQ’s section for more information.
You can also learn more about the ongoing maintenance of gravel driveways by visiting our Gravel Driveway Maintenance FAQ’s section section for more information.
Before you hire a contractor to install or perform maintenance on your gravel driveway, be sure and review our video and eBook series, “The Most Common Ways Gravel Contractors Rip Us Off And How To Avoid Them” ™ You’ll learn everything you need to know to hire a reputable gravel driveway contractor and get the job done right.
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