The first thing visitors see when they approach your home is the driveway. But there are many options when it comes to driveways, so why should you choose a gravel driveway? Many simply love the simple, rustic look that a gravel driveway offers, while others prefer a neater paved driveway. Price is always a major factor when it comes to any building work and driveways are no exception. Gravel driveways usually cost considerably less than other alternatives and there are a variety of shapes and colours of gravel available to suit anyone. The other advantage of choosing a gravel driveway is that is possible to do the job as a DIY project. On the down side, although a gravel or chippings driveway is easier and quicker to install in the first place, there are more maintenance and upkeep costs over the long run when compared to alternative driveway types.
Ruts and holes can develop in gravel driveways over time just because of the action of driving on them, these ruts and holes can be a hazard for your vehicle exhaust, suspension and underside - so will need to be filled-in and maintained. Weeds are another bugbear on gravel driveways, as long as you install the driveway properly and use landscape fabrics and other recommended materials, you can limit weed growth, but all you can really do is slow down the process, they will develop over time!
However, maintaining a gravel driveway is a simple process ,as long as you have the right tools and know-how available. For smaller driveways, all you really need is a shovel and rake, plus some extra gravel available to fill in any holes that develop (do not make the mistake of using gravel from other parts of your driveway as this will over time just cause more potholes in other areas to develop). A gravel driveway can provide many years of service if properly installed and maintained, needing regular maintenance perhaps just twice a year. But perhaps the biggest selling point is the flexibility you now have in choosing the sizes and colours of the chippings, almost every colour imaginable is readily available along with choice of size and even shape!
If tackling a gravel driveway as a DIY enthusiast, you have to remember that it will be unlikely that the construction will require no excavation. At the very least, topsoil needs be removed to a depth of 50-300mm to leave you with an layer of firm subsoil. Any soft areas that remain after topsoil is removed will also need to be excavated and then filled with compacted sub-base material before you can lay the membrane. This is a lot of backbreaking work if digging with a shovel! In addition, if hiring an excavator to make the job easier you must ensure you know exactly where all buried services are located. Any services need to be located by hand to ensure the proposed works are not going to interfere. Usually buried services have warning tape buried just above them as a warning, but you cannot rely on this, especially with older properties. If you are unsure you should seek professional advice.