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  • Cost of Installing a Gravel Driveway

    Price guide of installing a gravel driveway. All you need to know including costs of materials and labour..

    Average Cost of Installing a Gravel Driveway is Usually Around £60 per sqr meter

    Installing a Gravel Driveway is a Job That would Normally Take 2 Days to Complete.


    A gravel driveway is a favourite among many homeowners as it can add rustic charm to a property, and is fairly easy to maintain once installed. If you've previously had a tarmac or concrete driveway that's cracking or showing signs of wear, a gravel driveway is a simple solution if you don't want to worry too much about maintenance or wearing over time. Replacing a cracked or worn out concrete or tarmac drive is much more costly than maintaining and replacing a gravel driveway - saving you money in the long run.

    Installing a gravel driveway is not a particularly difficult task for more experienced DIY enthusiasts. It could prove the most cost effective if you were to tackle this on your own, as you will only be paying for the materials and not any labour costs. However, this means the task will probably take you longer to complete than what it would be if you hired a tradesman - which is around 2 days. If you could arrange all the materials and tools to be delivered and ready before you started work, then it is possible to do over the course of a weekend. However, the trouble is the chance of misjudging how much base layer and gravel you actually need to cover the area and depth appropriately.

    Our view is to probably leave this one to a trained specialist, as you will need someone to excavate, remove and replace the existing base layer, as well adding materials such as weed blocking membrane. Let's go through several aspects to consider first such as materials and other costs. After that, we can start getting quotes from local tradesmen.

    Average Cost Of Installing a Gravel Driveway

    Job Description Duration Material Cost Labour Cost
    Replace gravel only (40 sq m) 1 Day £850 £350
    Small (20 sq m) 1-2 Days £1200 £500
    Medium (40 sq m) 2 Days £1900 £600
    Large (80 sq m) 2-3 Days £3000 £700

    Things to Consider When Installing a Gravel Driveway

    Installing a gravel driveway may seem like a simple task, but there are a number of aspects to consider before undergoing this task, whether you’re hiring a tradesman or doing it yourself. The first thing to think about is whether you are confident enough in your own DIY skills to do it yourself, or if you should seek a specialist tradesman. Our opinion is to consult a tradesman and assess your options. However, if you want to be assured the job is done properly, then it would be best to hire a licensed specialist.

    Before undergoing your project, it would be a good idea to go over the costs of the project first. This would mean doing your own research and weighing up the costs of the materials, equipment, any disposal costs, especially if it’s cheaper to do it yourself, and costs of labour. Weighing up the costs of the gravel and other materials is an important factor, as you want to ensure you are getting quality but still within a budget. The cost of disposal is also important, as this will depend on the original material used and the amount, as well as the size of the area being excavated. Also, before any excavation is done, you will need to identify any buried services such as gas or water. If you are unsure  about this then you should contact a specialist. Most of the time, excavation does need to be done before installing a gravel driveway, so this is an unavoidable step, but will save you any possible costs of damage.

    Before hiring a tradesman, it is important to be aware of their credentials as this can be a task that done incorrectly will come back to haunt you. Do they know how to locate buried services? Are they knowledgeable about the sub-base layer and what material to use? Can they identify any issues with drainage and rain water? These are just a few questions to consider. It is important you are happy and satisfied with your hired tradesman and the job they are doing.

    Another thing is planning permission: do you need planning permission for a gravel driveway? The answer to this depends on the material used and the drainage. No planning permission is needed for permeable materials that allow water to drain through. However, non-permeable materials do need planning permission for areas over 5 square meters.

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    Doing it Yourself

    As mentioned before, installing a gravel driveway can be a tricky and time consuming task for any budding DIY enthusiast. That’s why we do recommend getting quotes from tradesmen and assessing your options before taking on this task. As for a specialist tradesman, this task will probably take about 2 days to complete. For a weekend DIY project, this is also achievable but can possibly take up to the following week if you encounter any trouble. If you are confident enough then here are the steps you need to take to install a new gravel driveway.

    First of all, before carrying out excavation you need to ensure you are not digging up any buried services such as gas or water. This is where a professional will probably need to be hired to help locate these services. Excavation will need to be done, as any materials such as topsoil, concrete or slabs will need to be removed. It is important to excavate any soft areas as this will not bear the weight of parked vehicles. The depth of excavation depends on the materials in the earth and your area, this usually 150-200mm.

    After excavation, you will need to add a layer of weed proof membrane. This will stop any weeds coming through your gravel, but will also allow for drainage and rain water to run through. You will then need to add your sub-base layer of hardcore material. The most common sub-base material is MOT type 1, as it consists of various sizes of crushed rock, which is important to become compact whilst also remaining permeable. You will then need to compact the sub-base using either a compactor or a roller. Both of these are expensive purchases, but are reasonable for hiring for a day or two.

    After you have compacted your sub-base, the easiest part is now laying your gravel onto your driveway. Just ensure you have enough gravel to cover the entire surface of your drive. You should also be aware to not lay the gravel too deep, a maximum of 50mm is all you should need. If you need more depth, more sub-base is what you need. Make sure to buy gravel that is around 20mm in size, as any smaller will get stuck in the treads of car tyres.

    Even if you are not up to the task of doing it yourself, you can always prepare and save yourself some costs by sourcing and purchasing the materials before hiring your tradesman.


    Hiring a Gravel Driveway Specialist

    • Costs of materials, equipment and labour.
    • Costs of disposing of waste and materials.
    • Ask if they are able to locate underground services such as gas and water.
    • Ask about drainage and rainwater.
    • Enquire about the layer of sub-base and if the material is suitable. Most common is MOT type 1.


    Do I need planning permission for a gravel driveway?
    Fortunately, you do not need planning permission for your driveway, as gravel is a permeable material and allows for drainage. Any non-permeable materials being used over 5 square meters will need planning permission.
    Will I need to excavate my driveway?
    Most of the time this will need to be done when installing any new driveway. As the top layer will need to be replaced anyway. But more importantly it is important to lay a strong sub-base beneath the driveway.
    Can I install a gravel driveway myself?
    If you are confident in your DIY skills, then yes you could. However, it is not an easy task, as there is heavy labour involved such as the excavation and laying the sub-base. It may also take you longer to complete than a tradesman, leaving you without a driveway for some time.
    Why should I get a gravel driveway?
    A gravel driveway is easy to maintain and is a simple long term solution if you do not wish to keep repairing solid driveways such as concrete or tarmac, as these materials tend to crack and wear out over time. This will save you unnecessary costs in the long run.
    How can I maintain my gravel driveway?
    There isn't much needed to maintain a gravel driveway, as they are fairly low maintenance and won't wear out quickly over time. Two things I would suggest purchasing though, are a broom to brush up any stray stones or pebbles, and weed killer. The membrane should take care of any weeds trying to break through, but just to make sure, keep some decent weed killer handy.
    How much gravel will I need?
    Getting this wrong can slow down the progress of installing a gravel driveway. Ideally, your hired specialist should be able to tell you once given the details. However, if you want to purchase the material yourself beforehand there is a general rule of thumb. A tonne will cover around 25 square meters, so it should be enough for most small driveways.
    Last updated by MyJobQuote on 5th February 2020.

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