The first thing people see when they approach your home is your driveway. It speaks about who you are and the pride you take in your landscape. With the rise in popularity of gravel driveways, many wonder if it may be a good fit for them and their lifestyle.
As there are many options when it comes to installing a new driveway, we wanted to share with you the pros and cons of gravel driveways that we have found. These pros and cons come from our industry experience and from people who have gravel driveways installed now at their homes.
Many of those we spoke with said they loved the rustic and simple look that a gravel driveway offered, while others said they preferred a neater styled driveway. Here are some additional pros and cons we think you should consider before installing a gravel driveway.
The Pros of a Gravel Driveway
When deciding what type of material to use for your new driveway, price can be a major factor. Gravel driveways usually cost considerably less than other driveway alternatives and they are highly customizable.
The variety of shapes and colors of gravel available have contributed to the rise in popularity of gravel driveways. Many homeowners like to match the color of the stone in their driveway to particular colors in their landscape.
Another thing that homeowners like is the ease in which a gravel driveway can be installed by do-it-yourselfers.
The Cons of a Gravel Driveway
Although the driveway is easier to install originally, there are more maintenance and upkeep costs in the long run when compared to alternatives.
When evaluating your long term costs of installing a gravel driveway you need to consider a few factors. The first is the driving style of those who will be using it.
If it is likely that you will be driving quickly on the gravel you may develop ruts and holes due to your driving habits. These ruts and holes will likely fill with water and create dangers to your vehicle. These will need to be filled-in and maintained frequently.
Another big complaint of those with gravel driveways is the plants and weeds that develop over time. If you install the driveway properly and use landscape fabrics and other materials you should be able to limit this. However there is no guarantee that you can avoid weed growth.
Maintaining a Gravel Driveway
Although maintaining a gravel driveway may sound overwhelming, it can be a simple process if you have the right tools and materials readily available.
For those with a smaller driveway, you can typically address most maintenance issues with a shovel and rake. For those with larger driveways or roadways, you may need larger equipment to assist with moving materials and compacting them.
Dealing with potholes is as simple as filling in the hole with new gravel and compacting it accurately. However, do not make the mistake of pulling gravel from other parts of your driveway. This will cause a pothole to develop in the new area, putting you back in the same position as you just were.
Choosing Between Gravel Driveways and Alternatives
A gravel driveway can bring you many years of dependable use and enjoyment if it’s properly installed and maintained. Regular maintenance should only need to be performed once or twice a year.
One of the biggest selling points among homeowners is the flexibility they have in choosing the sizes and colors of their stone. It’s also a project that can be attempted on your own, although we always recommend working with an experienced contractor to ensure great results for years to come.
Determining whether a gravel driveway is right for your home or not is completely up to you and your style. Make sure to consider the different options available and to speak with a local contractor or gravel supplier if you have any questions.