If you live in a wet or cold climate, a dirt driveway is not ideal. Dirt driveways often get ruts that fill with water or ice, and they become a muddy mess after a rain. If a paved driveway isn't in your budget, gravel is an inexpensive alternative that will avoid these problems.

Gravel is an inexpensive driveway material.

Use the Proper Amount of Gravel

Using too little gravel will result in ruts and excessive shifting of the gravel with increased use. While 5 1//3 inches (135 mm) of gravel is adequate for a driveway, 7 inches (180 mm) is suggested if the driveway is used frequently by heavier vehicles. If the driveway cannot be dug to the desired depth, support materials are available. Use porous pavers underneath the gravel to support the weight of vehicles. Using a support method such as this will keep unsightly and possibly dangerous ruts from forming.

Use Care When Removing Snow

When removing snow, take care to use equipment that will not push or throw your gravel out of the driveway. Consumer Reports recommends using a two-stage gas-powered snow blower, because the auger does not contact the ground and will not throw gravel while clearing snow.

Install Drainage

Although it seems that a gravel driveway would allow water to drain through it, much of the water runs off. Gravel driveways can be installed to include a drainage system. According to MillenialLiving.com, using porous pavers underneath the gravel will allow water to drain properly. Another method of drainage is to install drains on either side of the driveway and make the center of the driveway higher than the sides. This will force the water toward the drains. If these drainage methods are not possible, to avoid putting chemicals, yard clippings and pet waste into the wastewater system, keep your gravel driveway clear of this debris as much as possible.

Install Edging

Installing a hard edging to the gravel driveway will help keep the gravel in the driveway. When edging is not used, the gravel gradually moves into the yard, causing problems for yard maintenance and destroying the integrity of the driveway. Wood, brick or concrete make good edging materials. Be sure to install them before the gravel is poured and the sub-base is added.