What Size of Gravel Do I Need for My Driveway?

You might be thinking about the best size of gravel that you need for your driveway. Gravel comes in a wide array of sizes. They can be as little as grains of sand to as big as crushed rocks. Moreover, it is made from any natural stone and comes in many colors. If you are planning to have a gravel driveway, one of the things that you need to consider is the size of the gravel that you need to use. Read below to learn more about the topic.

What size of gravel do I need for my driveway? There is no standard size of gravel for driveways and you can use any size that you think would suit best your property. On the other hand, the common gravel size that homeowners use for driveways is #3 gravel. This gravel measures 1 to 2 inches in diameter. It provides a solid, sturdy foundation, and adequate drainage for your driveway.

Gravel is one of the cheapest options that you can have for your driveway. However, they need regular maintenance. Which gravel should you use for your driveway? What size of gravel is best for driveways? How long does a gravel driveway last? What are the different layers of a gravel driveway? These are some of the questions that we will discuss below.

What size of gravel do I need for my driveway
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What is the Best Size of Gravel for a Driveway?

Generally, the gravel for driveways should be between about 3/8 and 3/4 inches in diameter. They should be larger as compared to gravel that is used in pathways. Moreover, you need to consider the number of fines or the small granular material in the gravel. If you are not sure what gravel to use, you can ask for advice from professional driveway installers.

Which Gravel to Use for Your Driveway?

The type of gravel that you need to use for your driveway depends on what you prefer as well as what best suits your area. There are three common sizes of gravel used in driveway installation. For the first layer, choose gravel that is as big as baseball-size rocks. These are referred to as the #3 gravel which provides a good foundation and drainage for your driveway. Moreover, the size of gravel prevents smaller rocks from disappearing into the soil.

Different Sizes of Driveway Gravel to Choose From

There are different sizes of gravel that you can choose from for your driveway which include base gravel #3, item #4, crushed stone #57, crushed stone # 411, and pea gravel. Let us learn more about the different gravel sizes below.

Base Gravel #3

Bear in mind that gravel is graded by size. Usually, three different sizes of gravel are used in driveways. The gravel is placed in layers to provide a solid foundation and also to make sure that there is proper drainage. For the bottom layer, #3 gravel is a common choice. This size of gravel is made from machine-crushed stone and rock fragments.

Item #4

Another gravel size that you can have for your driveway is item #4. This gravel is made up of sand, dirt, and machine-crushed stones that measure about the size of a golf ball. Furthermore, item #4 is available in various compositions. For instance, one composition is made up of recycled brick, concrete, rock, and other stones. Regardless of what it is made of, this size of gravel is ideal as a base layer for driveways.

Crushed Stone #57

This size of gravel is usually used for the middle layer of the driveway. Crushed stone #57 is made from golf-ball-size crushed stone. Aside from driveways, this machine-crushed stone is a good choice when it comes to landscaping. The size of the gravel provides proper drainage.

Crushed Stone #411

For the final layer of the gravel driveway, you can use crushed stone #411. It is made up of smaller gravel that is mixed with coarse rock dust called fines. The mixture of small stones and rock dust helps form a stable and solid surface that can withstand heavy traffic and vehicles.

Pea Gravel

This size of gravel is an attractive option that you can use for the top layer. It is made up of smooth, small, and rounded weathered stones. Furthermore, this type of gravel is available in many colors. It is a popular choice for gravel driveways because it provides an attractive finish and smooth texture. On the other hand, the downside to this gravel is that the rounded stones do not lock together so they will move when a vehicle runs over them. As a solution, you can have an edging added to the driveway so that the material holds in place. We have also written this article that discusses if all concrete driveways crack. You can check out the article to learn more about the topic.

✅ Video – Gravel Types – Colors & Sizes

Cat in a Hammock shared the video below on YouTube. It discusses the different colors and sizes of gravel. If you are planning to use gravel for your driveway, you should take note that there are many gravel options to choose from. Check out the article for more tips and information.

Different Layers of Gravel Driveways

The different layers of gravel driveway are the base layer, the middle layer, and the top layer. Each layer is composed of different sizes of gravel that also serve a different purpose. Let us find out more about the layers of gravel driveways below.

The Base Layer – Made of Larger Gravel

For the base layer, large size gravel is usually used. #1 angular gravel is a popular choice. They are the same size as a baseball and are 4 inches in diameter. Moreover, angular gravel is made specifically for construction purposes using rock-crushing machines. The gravel interlocks and provides a more durable driveway. Round gravel might not be a good choice because it can move under the weight of vehicles.

The Middle Layer – Made of Medium-Sized Gravel

The next layer is the middle layer. This layer measures 4 inches. Use the smaller size of angular gravel which has the same size as a golf ball. The size of the gravel fits perfectly with the larger gravel. As a result, it forms a solid base for your driveway.

What size of gravel do I need for my driveway
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The Top Layer – Made of Smaller Gravel

For the top layer, you can use smaller-sized gravel. #57 gravel that has the same size as nickel is a popular option. The gravel on this layer should be smaller than the gravel in the middle layer. Gravel sizes for this layer usually contain rock dust that helps the pieces of gravel to adhere firmly to each other.

What are the Advantages of Using Gravel on Your Driveway?

Gravel is affordable, easy to install and maintain, and comes provides a stylish look into your property. It is one of the best options that you can have when you looking for a material to use in upgrading your driveway. Let us learn more about these advantages below.

It is Affordable and Easy to Install

One of the advantages that you can get from using gravel on your driveway is that it is affordable and easy to install. You do not have to break the bank just to make your driveway nicer.  It is also easy to install so you do not have to pay much for labor. If you have the skills, you can do a DIY project.

What Size of Gravel Do I Need for My Driveway
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It is Easy to Maintain

If you want a material that is easy to maintain for your driveway, gravel is an ideal choice. To keep the appearance of the driveway, you need to fill in the parts where the gravel has sunk into the soil.

It is Stylish

Another advantage that you can get from using gravel in your driveway is that it is stylish. They are available in a wide array of styles that will suit the exterior look of your property. Moreover, they come in different colors.

How to Maintain Your Gravel Driveway during the Winter Season?

Maintain your gravel driveway so that it is set for the winter season by repairing any issues that you see. For instance, if there are any potholes, fill them with fresh gravel. Use a tractor’s grader blade to grade the surface of the driveway. To do this, create a crown in the center of your driveway that measures one inch every three or four feet of the width of your driveway. Pull gravel back to the center using the blade. You might need to add fresh gravel as needed. You can also check out this article that discusses if rain helps asphalt cure. We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

What Size of Gravel Do I Need for My Driveway
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How Long Does a Gravel Driveway Last?

When it comes to how long a gravel driveway can last, this usually has to depend on the installation, use, and maintenance of the driveway. A gravel driveway that is properly maintained can last for many decades. You need to add new gravel now and then to maintain the look of the driveway. You also need to consider the amount of traffic that the driveway receives every day.

What is the Cheapest Gravel for a Driveway?

One of the cheapest gravel that you can use in your driveway is the crush and run gravel. It cost about 0.40 cents per square foot. It is an affordable option if you are working on a large and spacious driveway. Installing a driveway can be expensive so you should choose affordable materials which are still high-quality and durable. You can also check out this article that discusses what the cheapest material for a driveway is. Check out the article for more tips and ideas.

How to Keep Grass from Growing in Gravel?

To keep grass from growing and in the gravel, you use salt. This common ingredient that you use in your kitchen can effectively kill weeds and keep the driveway free of them. On the other hand, you need to be careful when using salt regularly. Take note that long-term use of salt can cause it to spread to nearby plants through water which can also kill the plants. It is recommended that you use salt treatments sparingly.

Can You Use Pea Gravel on Your Driveway?

You can use pea gravel in your driveway. On the other hand, you need to consider that they do not function as well compared to other types of gravel because they are smaller and rounded. Because of their size, pea gravel can move around more. You can place a thin layer of pea gravel over a more stable base of gravel.

Is it Ideal to Add Cement to a Gravel Driveway?

It is not ideal to add cement to a gravel driveway. This is because the gravel that is used in driveways is smaller so it does not make a good base for cement.


In this article, we have discussed what size of gravel you will need for your driveway. We have found out that there are different sizes of gravel that you can choose from. Each size has its use and benefits. Moreover, we have discussed the different layers of a gravel driveway and the right sizes of gravel that you need to use for each layer. Gravel is an inexpensive material that you can use for your driveway. With proper maintenance, it can last for many years. Thank you for reading!

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