Whether your home currently features a gravel driveway or you’ve been thinking about installing one, you probably have some questions about the maintenance it requires.
While many homeowners love the versatility and beauty offered by gravel, no one wants to continually invest a lot of time or money in taking care of their driveway.
The good news is that in addition to providing people with plenty of options in terms of type, color, and style, gravel is also quite easy to care for.
Gravel driveway maintenance really only requires a bit of foresight and planning, and very minimal effort. To ensure that you get the most out of your gravel driveway, we’ve detailed some tips on proper gravel driveway maintenance and advice on keeping it in great shape.
The Importance of Gravel Driveway Maintenance
Despite the fact that gravel typically requires less maintenance than other driveway materials, the importance of proper care should not be underestimated. After time, usage, and exposure to the elements, gravel can shift and loosen. Left untreated, this can eventually lead to potholes, ruts, and other issues.
By keeping an eye on the condition of your driveway and taking a few simple measures to prevent problems before they start, you can enjoy the quality and beauty of your driveway for years to come.
Materials Required for Gravel Driveway Maintenance
Here are a few items that gravel driveway owners should have on hand:
- Extra Gravel – Maintaining a small supply of extra gravel will make it easier for you to fill in any gaps or holes as they appear.
- Scraper and/or Shovel – Although a box scraper is the best means of grading a gravel driveway, a shovel can also be used to spread the gravel.
- Rake – Rakes are useful for removing weeds and debris from the driveway, as well as for quickly leveling the drive’s surface.
Gravel Driveway Maintenance Best Practices
To keep things as simple as possible, follow these gravel driveway maintenance best practices:
- Debris Removal – The longer you put off removing leaves, sticks, or other debris from the gravel, the more time-consuming and difficult the task will be. Make it a habit to rake debris out of your driveway on a weekly basis.
- Grading – Most problems associated with runoff water, washouts, and potholes are a result of poor grading. For best results, the gravel should be at its highest point in the middle of the driveway, feathering down towards the edges. Ideally, the grade should be at 2%-5%.
- Filling in Holes/Ruts – When a pothole or rut appears in a gravel driveway, many homeowners are tempted to simply shovel some gravel from one area of the driveway to the problem spot. Unfortunately, this only creates more weak spots that will lead to further damage down the road. Filling in the hole with new gravel is the best and only way to permanently resolve the issue.
- Adding Fresh Gravel – For a healthy, long-lasting driveway, it’s wise to apply a fresh layer of gravel to the surface at least every 1-2 years.
Other Ideas for Proper Gravel Driveway Care
In addition to the above practices, there are a few other things that you can do to ensure that your gravel driveway will look great at all times:
- Use an edging material – Over time, vehicular and foot traffic can cause gravel to move about and end up in the grass instead of on the driveway. To keep gravel in place and add to the overall attractiveness of your driveway, consider lining the edges with bricks, pavers, or other decorative stones.
- Apply Weed Killer – Even when a landscaping fabric is applied beneath a gravel driveway, there’s the possibility that a weed or two might spring up. In order to avoid the eyesores and hours of weed pulling, it’s smart to regularly apply a weed killer to the surface of the driveway.
- Watch Your Speed – Driving extremely fast on your driveway can dislodge loose gravel and even cause pieces to end up in your yard. Over time, this can lead to unnecessary and prematurely thinned-out areas of the driveway.
Gravel driveway maintenance doesn’t have to involve back-breaking labor. With just a little bit of TLC, your home’s gravel driveway will look beautiful and serve you well for a long time. For more information on taking care of your gravel driveway, be sure to talk to a trusted gravel professional.