Last Updated on January 15, 2022

Gravel Driveway Cost – UK Prices for 2022

Zac Houghton

Zac Houghton

Construction expert and founder of Loftera.

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Driveways that don’t offer proper permeability can cause substantial financial and logistical issues for homeowners.

Luckily, gravel driveways provide a solution. Gravel driveways boast a texture that allows rainwater to drain straight through them and reach the soil below.

When looking to have a new driveway installed, there are many different driveway surface options that you can choose from, such as concrete, asphalt and resin. Gravel is one of the most common driveway surfaces.

Gravel driveways bring advantages such as strong weather resistance, minimum driveway maintenance, and an attractive appearance, making them a popular choice for homeowners. But how much do they cost?

The cost of a gravel driveway varies depending on certain factors. However, installation of a standard gravel driveway, including materials and labour costs, will set you back £2500 on average. 

This article will explore the average costs and the general benefits of having a gravel driveway built.

gravel driveway cost

Table of Contents

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What Is A Gravel Driveway?

Gravel is a processed product consisting of sand, tiny rocks, and clay. Gravel is commonly used for driveways and comes in a range of different colours, shapes and sizes to give your driveway a unique look.

When constructing a gravel drive, you’ll need to consider more than just the top layer of stones; there’s the sub-base too. It’s crucial to have a sub-base when installing a gravel driveway, as the drive will need to support heavy loads. A sub-base creates a flat and solid base for your driveway, which is ideal if you’re working with an uneven surface. This, of course, adds to your overall gravel driveway cost.

gravel driveway price

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Gravel Driveway Price Guide

The average gravel driveway costs take into account the driveway materials, labour costs and additional costs such as excavation and waste removal. The total price will include factors such as the size of your driveway, the complexity of the driveway design, and whereabouts in the country you live.

The below prices are based on averages for the typical domestic driveway. If you have a particularly large or small driveway, you can expect to pay slightly more or less for your gravel driveway.

Average Gravel Driveway Prices:

Labour costs 

£400

Excavation and waste removal 

£400

Weed proof membrane 

£40

Driveway sub-base 

£450

Decorative gravel 

£350-£450 (depending on gravel type and the amount needed)

Additional costs (such as gravel mats)

£400

VAT 

£400

gravel driveway uk

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Cost Of Different Types Of Gravel:

Pea Gravel 

£70 for 850kg bag

Quarry Stone 

£60 for 850kg 

Crushed Stone 

£70 for 850kg

Washed Stone 

£70 for 850kg

Polished Pebbles 

£300 for 850kg

Stone Dust 

£70 for 850kg

Blue Grey Slate Chippings 

£150 for 850kg

Marble Chips 

£145 for 850kg

 

What Are The Different Types of Gravel?

There are various types of gravel to choose from when selecting your new driveway material.

A range of textures, shapes and colours exist across the different gravel types. Price doesn’t vary too significantly, so you can base your decision on your preferred finish. For an 850kg bag of gravel, you can expect to pay on average around £70.  Smaller 20kg bags come in at less than £5 each.

Pea Gravel

Pea gravel, also known as pea shingle, is made up of small stones of various shapes and sizes, with each stone measuring 20mm or less. Each individual pebble has a smooth surface. This means that, unlike crushed rock, the stones don’t lock together.  Pea gravel will therefore require edging to keep the stones in place.

Quarry Stone

Quarry stone goes by other names such as dirty stone, MOT Type 1 and blinding. Quarry stone is a mixture of 40mm stones, some smaller stones, sand, and dust. Its stable surface, when compacted, makes it a suitable material for use as a sub-base.

Crushed Stone

Crushed stone gravel is a mixture of coarse sand and small stones. Different combinations of the two components give different results, so crushed stone can be useful as both a sub-base or top layer.

Washed Stone

Washed stone has a similar appearance to crushed stone. However, as the name suggests, it’s washed, which gives it a cleaner and shinier finish. The smaller stones are ideal for use in the sub-base, with the larger stones coming in handy for the top layer.

Polished Pebbles

Polished pebbles are pebbles that have been polished by water, such as a river or beach. They come in a range of colours, making for a beautiful finish for your driveway.

An advantage of polished pebbles is that they provide free drainage for surface rainwater. However, because polished pebbles are round and smooth, they don’t provide the ideal surface material for a driveway. You can also expect to pay a lot more for polished pebbles than other varieties of gravel, due to their unique finish.

If you want to incorporate polished pebbles into your new gravel driveway, but not as part of the sub-base or top layer, you can use them as edging material, providing a border for a more stable type of gravel.

Stone Dust

Stone dust, or stone screenings, resembles very coarse sand. It can be used by itself or in combination with smaller and large stones, and is typically used as a binding agent for the sub-base or top layer.

Blue Grey Slate Chippings

Slate chippings offer a trendy aesthetic with all the traditional benefits associated with gravel driveways. The only downside to this type of gravel is that you can expect to pay slightly more per bag for the unique look of these chippings.

Marble Chips

Marble chips offer a stylish finish for your driveway. These come in a variety of different colours, with white dolomite being one of the most popular. While an attractive and decorative gravel type, marble chips do tend to migrate. With this in mind, it’s advisable to install edging to keep them in place.

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Things To Consider

Excavation and Waste Disposal Costs

If the driveway is particularly large, you may need to hire mini-excavators for the removal of topsoil. You’ll need skips for waste removal, and the number and size required will depend on how much loose soil is produced in the excavation process. This will add to your total gravel driveway cost.

Sloping

If the driveway has a slight slope, there’s a risk of gravel migrating downwards and ending up in the road. To prevent this from happening, you may require gravel mats.

Weed Proof Membrane

After excavating the site, you’ll need to add a layer of weed-proof membrane. This membrane not only prevents unsightly weeds from appearing in your driveway but also allows for proper drainage to occur without any obstacles.

Sub-base

Gravel driveways require a sub-base as well as a top layer. The UK’s most commonly used sub-base material is quarry stone, which compacts well to create a smooth and permeable sub-base for the other layers.

Edging

To stop stone chippings from migrating from your driveway onto gardens and pavements, you’ll need to install edging. There are several options for your edging material, including wood, bricks, polished pebbles, or other materials of your choice.

Benefits Of Gravel Driveways

Appearance

The driveway is one of the first things guests see when they arrive at a property, so it’s a great way to make a lasting first impression before your guests reach the door.

Because gravel comes in various shapes, colours, and sizes, you can create a driveway that is unique to your tastes. Colourful edging is an added extra to consider. You could also factor in the cost of driveway gates to give your driveway the all-important finishing touch.

Weather Resistance

Unlike other driveway materials, gravel driveways are unaffected by harsh weather conditions. Due to the permeability of gravel driveways, they don’t require additional drainage to cope with run-off and surface water in heavy rain.

Low Cost

Gravel driveways are cost-effective compared to other driveway materials, especially when the gravel is bought in bulk. The cost of Indian stone driveways and other trendy materials can be much higher. Gravel driveways are low maintenance, meaning you’ll save money on repair costs.

Gravel can be cheaply replenished when necessary, and potholes can be fixed easily with extra gravel, eliminating the need to call out a professional. The main cost you’ll incur for gravel driveway maintenance is investing in a rake, which will set you back between £40 to £70.

Immediate Use

Other driveway materials such as asphalt take a few days to cure, meaning your new asphalt driveway is initially out of bounds once it’s been installed. With gravel driveways, you can park up immediately as the stones don’t require any curing time.

Easy To Install

Gravel driveways are straightforward to install, requiring only the compacting of the sub-base and adding layers of your chosen gravel. This ease of installation makes gravel driveways more DIY-friendly. However, it’s not recommended to take on a project such as a new driveway by yourself unless you have the necessary tools and prior experience doing something similar.

Planning Permission For Gravel Driveway

It can be tricky for homeowners to know whether or not to apply for planning permission when building a new or replacement driveway.

The good news is, as long as the material used allows for sufficient driveway drainage, there’s no need to apply for planning permission. Because gravel driveways are permeable, they provide natural drainage and therefore easily fit this requirement.

Gravel Driveway Installation Process

Installing a gravel driveway can be performed by a professional tradesperson. A competent person familiar with this type of home improvement could even install a gravel driveway themselves.

Clear The Area

Once you’ve marked out the site for your new gravel driveway using pegs and string, you’ll need to remove the grass and topsoil from the chosen area. It’s common to hire a mini-excavator to perform this job. Clearing can be done by hand, but it will take longer.

Choose The Gravel

Before ordering your gravel of choice, you’ll need to calculate how much gravel you need for your new driveway. You can use an online gravel cost calculator to work this out, or use the simple formula below:

The amount of gravel needed in metres squared – length x width x depth of area

Required gravel weight – the amount of gravel x crushed stone weight

Cost of gravel – the amount of gravel x price (per cubic meter or cubic yard)

Once you’ve worked out the amount of gravel needed and how much it will cost, you should decide which type of gravel you wish to use for the sub-base and layer and order it from your supplier.

Prepare The Site

The next step is for hardcore and sand to be applied as a layer onto the subsoil. The hardcore should be pushed into the ground using a plate compactor, creating a stable surface for all the materials that will come next. Sharp sand will then fill in between the hardcore. This is known as blinding the hardcore. Once this process is complete, compact the sand and hardcore until it becomes a smooth surface.

Apply The Weed-Proof Membrane

The weed-proof membrane will then be laid on top of the hardcore and sand layer. The corners of the membrane should be tucked into the corners of the excavation layer.

Edging

At this point in the process, your edging should be fitted. Edging materials include wood, pebbles or curbstones, all of which give different finishes for your driveway.

Lay The Gravel

The final step is to lay the gravel in two stages: the sub-base, closely followed by the top layer. The sub-base should be compacted using a plate vibrator before the top layer can be applied.

The top layer will then be laid to the depth of around 50mm. Any deeper than this, and the surface becomes difficult to walk or drive on. Once you’ve raked the layer to get rid of any hills, your driveway installation will be complete.

FAQs

How does gravel differ from other driveway material options?

Gravel driveways provide several benefits that differ from the competition. Concrete driveways, for example, can develop cracks and holes over time. However, there is less flexibility in appearance if you opt for a concrete driveway.

The cost of tarmac driveways is similar, but this material provides a less traditional aesthetic and worse permeability than gravel. Cobblestone driveways are another excellent option for people wanting a traditional finish to their driveway, but because these drives are paved, you can expect the price of a cobblestone driveway to be more than you would for a gravel drive.

How long does gravel driveway installation take?

The job of installing a gravel driveway should take only 2-3 days when performed by a professional driveway installer. If you’re carrying out the driveway installation as a DIY project, it may take longer.

How do I prevent gravel migration?

Car wheels, weather and footfall can cause gravel to move out of its place. Edging should be installed to ensure that the gravel doesn’t end up on gardens or pavements. You can purchase a gravel mat to stop it from moving around in the driveway.

Gravel mats prevent gravel migration, rutting and pitting, while retaining the porous nature of a gravel driveway. They also improve accessibility on gravel surfaces.

How do I maintain my gravel driveway?

Maintaining your gravel driveway is relatively simple, taking minimal time and only a few tools. Regularly remove debris and weeds from your driveway to keep it looking clean and fill in any holes and ruts with fresh gravel.

Depending on the local climate and the amount of footfall and traffic that your driveway gets, you should look to perform maintenance work on your gravel driveway at least once a year.

After between 5 and 10 years after your gravel driveway installation, you should look into the cost of a professional driveway clean.

How much value will a driveway add to my home?

Installing a driveway can significantly affect the value of your property when you come to sell, making it a worthwhile investment. It’s estimated that adding a driveway will add between 5-10% to the value of your property.

How long does a gravel driveway last?

Grave driveways boast an impressive lifespan when looked after properly. If a gravel driveway is adequately maintained and the gravel is replenished as necessary, it can last up to 100 years.

Are there any disadvantages of gravel?

Just like any driveway material, there are pros and cons to working with gravel. Unlike other driveway surface options, weeds, grass, and moss can appear in between gravel stones, ruining the appearance of your driveway. Also, ruts and holes can appear in your gravel if you use heavy vehicles, leaving unsightly gaps.

However, these issues and others associated with using gravel are easily fixable by regularly maintaining your driveway, removing weeds and filling ruts with fresh gravel. These small drawbacks don’t come close to outweighing the extensive advantages provided by gravel driveways.

How much would it cost to remove my driveway?

If you want to replace your driveway, you’ll have to remove your existing one. If you’re removing a tarmac or resin driveway to make room for a gravel driveway, this will cost between £150 and £700.

The cost of a concrete driveway will set you back slightly more, at the cost of up to £1500. If you’re removing an existing gravel driveway, the average price is between £150 to £250.

The Bottom Line

Installing a gravel driveway increases the value of your property, adds convenience, and creates an impressive exterior to your house.

Gravel driveways are an ideal choice for any homeowner looking to spruce up the front of their property. Their low cost, ease of maintenance and attractive appearance makes them an excellent option for a new driveway.

Once you’ve thought about the type of gravel you intend to use for your new drive, the first step to take towards installation is getting in touch with a contractor for a quote.

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