Gravel driveways have many benefits. They are affordable to install and last for years with regular maintenance. They work in both city and country locations. If you are building a new home, you may want to install a gravel driveway until you can get a permanent one installed. In the country, a long, paved driveway is probably too expensive to install and maintain so gravel works best. If you want a gravel driveway, you don’t have hire a professional to build it. You can do it yourself by following some simple guidelines and renting the necessary equipment. If you are building the driveway on a steep slope or other tricky area, it’s better to consult a professional about proper drainage before you begin for the best results.

Start by planning your driveway. Map out the location using a measuring tape and some rope and stakes. Look for locations that are easy to work with so you don’t have to remove trees, bushes or other permanent objects. Choose the most direct path to save time and money. Install stakes and rope along one side of the driveway location. Measure 10-feet across and install stakes and rope on the other side. You can make the driveway narrower or wider if desired. Be sure to measure the driveway’s width periodically as you install the stakes to make sure it is even. Chalk or a can of spray paint also work to mark the boundaries if you don’t want to pound stakes.

Dig out the inside of the driveway to create a trench that is about 1-foot deep. A digger or bobcat works best in this situation. You can rent this machine from a home supply store that rents equipment. Make the trench as even as possible with a flat floor.

Insert landscaping fabric over the trench and cut it to fit. A utility knife works best for cutting this fabric. Make sure that the landscaping fabric overlaps at the joints so the entire surface is covered. Landscape fabric will keep the silt in place, prevent weeds and improve drainage. If you are installing it on a windy day or you can’t finish the driveway that day, you’ll need to lay gravel or rocks over the fabric to keep it in place while you work.

Your first layer of rocks is tennis ball-sized stones. Fill these to a depth of 6-inches. Use a metal rack to spread the stones out, and then press them into place with a mechanical roller. You can rent a mechanical roller from a home supply store. By pounding them into place, you are helping settle the driveway so it doesn’t shift as much when it is used.

Spread 6 inches of golf ball-sized rocks over the base layer and stamp them in place with a mechanical roller.

Finish the road by adding 4 to 6 inches of pea-sized gravel to the top. Gravel that has some dust in it, such as limestone, will last longer than plain gravel because the dust helps the driveway set after it gets wet. Rake the gravel into position and create a crown, or arch, in the center to encourage drainage. Make the crown a gradual slope so the highest point is about 2.5 to 5 inches above the edges. The driveway is now completed.