Kane Construction

A Guide to Gravel Driveway Construction

Creating a gravel driveway might seem like a straightforward task, but as you delve into the details, you’ll discover that it’s a multi-layered process that demands attention to detail and careful execution. At Kane Construction, we specialise in driveway construction, and we’ve learned that every step of the journey requires precision and expertise. In this guide, we’ll break down the complex process of gravel driveway construction, offering insights that can turn you into a knowledgeable enthusiast or even a budding expert.

Step 1: Excavation

Before breaking ground on your gravel driveway, it’s vital to conduct thorough research to identify the location of any buried utilities. Services like water, gas, electricity, drainage, telephone, and sewerage must be identified and located by hand to prevent any interference. Topsoil removal is typically the first step, as topsoil isn’t suitable for load-bearing and retains water due to its organic content. The extent of excavation depends on your area, varying from 50-300mm in depth. Soft areas should be excavated, and compacted sub-base material should be used to fill them before laying a geotextile membrane. 

Step 2: Geotextile Membrane

Contrary to popular belief, a geotextile membrane isn’t placed between the sub-base and the finished gravel surface. Instead, it should be positioned between the excavated ground and the sub-base. This membrane prevents the mixing of sub-base material with the ground below while still allowing water to pass through. The G90 Woven Membrane is commonly used for this purpose.

Step 3: Laying The Sub-Base

The sub-base is the foundation of your gravel driveway. It’s responsible for bearing the weight of vehicles and preventing rutting. The depth of the sub-base depends on the size of vehicles using the driveway, with a minimum depth of 100mm but preferably 150mm for cars. DT Type 1(MOT) or Type 3 materials are commonly used for the sub-base. Compaction is crucial to ensure stability, achieved through thin layers and a vibrating roller or wacker plate. 

Step 4: Laying The Gravel 

Now comes the fun part – laying the gravel! However, there’s a common mistake that DIY enthusiasts often make – laying the gravel too deep. Remember, the gravel’s purpose is aesthetic rather than structural. A maximum depth of 50mm is recommended, providing adequate coverage of the sub-base while preventing rutting.

Use gravel or shingle that’s around 20 mm in size, as smaller particles can get stuck in tires and attract unwanted attention from neighbourhood pets. Avoid larger gravels that might hinder walking. The gravel is simply laid on top of the sub-base and levelled using rakes and shovels.

Conclusion 

Constructing a gravel driveway is more than just spreading gravel on the ground. It’s a step-by-step process that requires careful planning, precise execution, and attention to detail. From excavation and geotextile membrane installation to sub-base compaction and gravel placement, each stage contributes to the overall longevity and appearance of your driveway. By following this guide, you’ve gained a solid understanding of the complexities involved in creating a durable and aesthetically pleasing gravel driveway. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or considering professional help, remember that a well-constructed gravel driveway is a true testament to your commitment to quality craftsmanship.