How to Care for a Gravel Driveway
Gravel driveways are the most economical driveway option available today. They are also sturdy, long-lasting, quick to install, and customizable. The only drawback to gravel driveways is that they need to be regularly maintained.
Fortunately, this maintenance is easy to do. Major potholes should be repaired as soon as they are noticed. Otherwise, you should take some time to fix up your gravel driveway about once or twice per year.
To perform your own gravel driveway maintenance, you are going to need: fresh gravel of various sizes, a shovel, a hand tamper, herbicide, and a garden sprayer. If your driveway is small, you may be able to perform the maintenance by hand, using a roller or rake. If your driveway is longer, you should rent a small tractor with a grader blade.
Dig out potholes to make them wider and deeper. Open the hole all the way to the base of the driveway, if you can. Fill the bottom of the hole with coarse gravel and pack it down using a hand tamper. Next, add a layer of medium-sized gravel and tamp it. Finally, fill the hole the rest of the way using small, crushed gravel and tamp it down firmly.
Find and Fix Low Spots
Pay attention to where puddles form in your driveway when it rains. This can give you a clue as to where your driveway might not be draining effectively. Use small gravel to elevate any low areas. Use your shovel to smooth out bumps that might be creating dams.
Grade the Driveway 1-2 Times per Year
Position your tractor with a grader blade attachment near the house, and slowly move toward the end of the driveway, grading the gravel to form a smooth line. Your gravel driveway should lose elevation slightly as you move away from the house to help ensure proper drainage. If your driveway is small, you may be able to perform this action manually using a rake.
Clean Drainage Ditches
Take a good look at the drainage ditches alongside your driveway. If these ditches are plugged up, your driveway will not drain the way it should. If you rented one, you can use your tractor and grader blade to clear out your drainage ditches. Otherwise, use a shovel to remove debris.
Treat the Driveway With Herbicide
If you want your gravel driveway to last a long time, you need to prevent grasses, plants and weeds from peaking up between the stones. Use a garden sprayer to apply a coat of herbicide to your gravel driveway. Be sure to read and follow all package instructions.