Things You'll Need
Excavating machinery or tools
Compacting machinery, heavy equipment or hand tamp
Filter fabric or landscaping cloth
Larger gravel or stones
As a general rule of thumb, construct gravel driveways by layering stone by size so that the lowest layer is large, fist-sized stone and subsequent layers consist of increasingly smaller stones, like crusher run.
For short driveways where aesthetics are of greater concern than drainage, consider installing wooden, stone or block edgers on the sides of the driveways to contain the crusher stone.
Gravel driveways, when properly constructed, provide relatively affordable, temporary or long-term accessibility to a structure or other feature. Crusher run is a type of gravel that consists of angular, crushed rock ranging in size from 3/4-inch to silt. Several factors influence the success and longevity of a crusher run driveway, including an adequate base, crown and drainage. Check with the governing municipality or jurisdiction before beginning driveway construction, as there are often regulations that apply to driveway materials, slope and other factors.
Excavate the space for the driveway. Remove topsoil and organic matter until hard surface is reached. Use rented machinery, a small tractor or hand tools for this task.
Compact the dirt base by repeatedly driving over it with heavy machinery or by utilizing a vibrating plate or hand tamp.
Lay filter fabric or landscaping cloth in the excavated driveway space, if desired. This fabric may help limit the presence of vegetation in the driveway.
Add a 4-inch layer of gravel to the excavated driveway space. If possible, use larger, fist-sized stones for this first layer.
Compact the first layer of aggregate using the same equipment and methods as with the underlying soil base.
Add and compact crusher run in 4-inch layers until the rough driveway form is achieved. Two to three layers of crusher run are typically required to reach this point, depending on the depth of the excavated driveway space. Wait to compact the final layer of crusher run until it has been shaped.
Shape the final layer of crusher run before it is thoroughly compacted. The surface of the driveway should have a crown that prevents water from puddling on the driveway by forcing it to run off the sides. Make the center of the driveway a few inches higher than the edges, compact the driveway and check to make sure the crown is present by setting one end of a level board on the crown and measuring down from the board at a point above the driveway edge. Move or add crusher run as needed and compact it.
Maintain the driveway regularly by raking the gravel to restore the crown and fill in any low spots, adding new crusher run as needed. Addressing these minor problems promptly will stymie serious problems, like washouts.
- The University of Vermont: Investigation of the Resistance of Pile Caps to Lateral Loading - Soil Parameters
- University of Connecticut: Driveways
- University of Wisconsin-Madison: Road Drainage
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Sustainable Landscape Construction: Materials and Products -- Aggregates and Precast Pavers and Blocks
Angela Ryczkowski is a professional writer who has served as a greenhouse manager and certified wildland firefighter. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in urban and regional studies.