How to Stabilize a Loose Gravel Driveway

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Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or ditching machine

  • Mechanical roller

Gravel driveways require regular maintenance for top performance.

Gravel is an inexpensive choice for driveway material, but it is a relatively high-maintenance choice. Gravel driveways are often loose, which leads to the loss of gravel and difficulty navigating the drive. Fortunately, stabilizing a gravel driveway is a straightforward process that most homeowners can complete on their own. If you have not completed this type of project, it is possible to rent large equipment, such as mechanical rollers and ditching machines, for an hourly or daily rate.


Step 1

Remove organic matter from the driveway. Tree limbs, leaves and mud can end up on the driveway. Organic materials will not compact enough to support vehicle traffic. Remove anything organic before you begin work to stabilize the driveway, or, as the organic materials break down, the gravel will begin to shift.

Step 2

Fix any drainage issues. Look carefully at your driveway after a rain. If water runs across the road at any point, dig a ditch parallel to the road to catch the water before it moves onto the road. Water can loosen the gravel in your driveway by moving under it and separating it from the base.


Step 3

Fill potholes and other low spots. Most gravel driveways develop low spots over time. These typically are potholes, which are round, deep holes, and low spots that are more subtle areas that need attention. Low spots often form from the wear of tires on the driveway. Fill potholes and low spots with enough gravel to bring them up to the level of the rest of the driveway.

Step 4

Compact the gravel. Perform this task with a rental mechanical roller or by driving your own vehicle back and forth over the driveway. The second method, while less expensive, is more time-consuming and less effective unless you have a heavy vehicle. Continue to compact the gravel until it is firm and you don't leave tire tracks when driving on it.



Stephanie Dube Dwilson

With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.