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12 Different Types of Gravel for Driveways

A collage of different types of gravel for driveway.

Driveway gravel has many benefits for both practical and decorative purposes. It is a low-cost and easy-to-install option that can add visual interest and functionality to your property.

There are many benefits to using gravel for your driveway. Gravel is an affordable option that can last for many years with proper maintenance. It is also easy to install and can be done by yourself if you are handy.

There are many types of gravel to choose from, so you can find the perfect one to match your home’s style. Whether you want a traditional look or something more modern, a type of driveway gravel will suit your needs.

Related To: Driveway Edging Types | Alternatives to Asphalt Driveways | Concrete Alternatives for Driveways 

Types of Gravel for Driveways

1. Aquarium Gravel

Different mixture of gravels for aquarium.

Aquarium gravel is a popular option for driveway gravel because it is smooth and comes in various colors. It’s not only for your fish tank! It works as a natural substrate to help filter out impurities. It is also relatively inexpensive when compared to other types of gravel.

2. Crushed Stone

Crushed Stone gravel beside an asphalt road.

Crushed stone is another type of gravel that can be used for driveways. It is made from larger rocks that are crushed down into smaller pieces. Crushed stone is available in various colors and can be used to create a decorative surface.

Crushed stone is a bit more expensive than other types.

3. Pea Gravel

Pea gravel is a small, rounded stone that is available in a variety of colors. It is often used in landscaping projects because it provides good drainage and is easy to walk on. Pea gravel can also be used as driveway gravel.

This type of gravel is smaller than other types. It typically measures 3/8 inches and is round, which gives it its name of pea gravel.

4. Bank Gravel

Bank gravel is considered a “hybrid” type of gravel. Hybrid gravel is a mix of two or more different types of gravel. Bank gravel is usually a mix of pea gravel and crushed stone. It is typically used to build roads or driveways.

5. Recycled Asphalt

Recycled asphalt is a type of driveway gravel made from recycled materials. It is a sustainable option that can be used in place of traditional asphalt.

There are many benefits to using recycled asphalt, including the fact that it is environmentally friendly and can help you save money on your driveway project.

6. River Rock

A rocky river with gravels and trees.

River rock is a type of driveway gravel that is smooth and rounded. River rock is slightly more expensive than other types of stone, but it is also very durable and long-lasting.

The unique, eye-catching rocks look natural and give a more elevated feel to your home’s style.

River rock gravel can be found in a variety of finishes. Some of them have a dry appearance. Others have a smooth, polished look. Many times, the water from the river naturally polishes them.

River rock gravel is usually layered with other types of stone and is not used as a base layer.

7. Crimson Stone

A man holding a red piece of crimson stone.

Crimson stone includes colors like red, gray, black, and orange. It is a warm and sunny type of gravel that adds a lot of colors.

Pink quartz is one type of red rock frequently used for driveways.

8. Decomposed Granite

Decomposed granite is a type of gravel made from granite that has been broken down into small pieces. It is available in various colors and can be used to create a decorative surface.

It is very absorbent and easy to take care of. Plus, it is eco-friendly. Also, it is very affordable as it is often a byproduct of other industrial or commercial processes.

It is beneficial to help prevent or mitigate driveway flooding.

Decomposed granite is a bit more expensive than other types of gravel, but it is also very durable and long-lasting.

9. Lava Rock

Lava rock is a type of gravel that is made from cooled lava. You can find it in shades like red, black, gray, and brown. It is often used in landscaping because it is visually appealing and can add great interest to your yard.

It has a characteristic porous texture. This lets water drain through it like a sponge. Also, it is very lightweight and easier to transport and install. It’s abundantly found in places like Hawaii. This rock is an eco-friendly alternative to asphalt or concrete.

11. “Jersey Shore” Gravel

This sunny, yellow type of gravel is everywhere in New England. Because it is a specialty type of gravel, it is used more for edging and decorative purposes than for functional purposes.

12. White Marble Chips

Crack white Marble Chips for driveway gravel.

White marble chips are a type of gravel that is made from marble that has been crushed into small pieces. White marble chips are very easy to maintain and are resistant to staining.

White marble chips create a sparkling effect with grey veins that can make a driveway look clean and sophisticated. Also, the white color and marble can lower the temperature and functionally make the driveway area cooler.

When choosing gravel for your driveway, consider the size, color, and type of stone best suit your needs. Also, consider the climate in your area and the amount of traffic your driveway will need to accommodate. You’re sure to find the perfect gravel for your home with many available options.

Decorative Gravel Vs. Driveway Gravel

When it comes to gravel, there are two main types: decorative rock and driveway gravel. Decorative stone is used to add aesthetic appeal to your home or landscape. Driveway gravel is functional and serves a purpose, providing a surface for your car to drive on.

Many types of gravel are available, so it’s essential to choose the right one for your needs. If you’re not sure which type of gravel to choose, here’s a quick overview of the differences between decorative and driveway stone:

Decorative Gravel

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Available in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes
  • Can be used for landscaping projects, gardens, flower beds, etc.
  • Does not need to be compacted

Driveway Gravel

  • Functional and serves a purpose
  • Available in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes
  • Used for driveways, roads, parking lots, etc.
  • Must be compacted to create a solid surface

When deciding which type of gravel to use for your project, it’s essential to consider the purpose of the gravel and the desired look you’re hoping to achieve. Driveway gravel is the best option if you need a functional surface that will withstand heavy traffic. However, decorative gravel would be the better choice if you want to add visual interest to your home or landscape.

Practical Benefits of Driveway Gravel

A house with garage and stone driveway.

1. Low Cost

Gravel is one of the most affordable options for paving a driveway. It is much cheaper than concrete, asphalt, or pavers.

2. Easy to Install

Gravel can be easily installed by yourself or with the help of a professional. It does not require any special skills or equipment.

3. Low Maintenance

Gravel driveways are low maintenance. They do not need to be sealed or regularly swept like other types of driveways.

4. Durable

Gravel is a durable material that withstands heavy traffic and extreme weather conditions. It is also resistant to cracking and breaking.

5. Good Drainage

A plastic mat for laying gravels.

Gravel driveways provide good drainage for your property. They allow water to seep through, preventing pooling and flooding.

6. Eco-Friendly

Gravel is a natural material that does not require any manufacturing or energy to produce. It is also recyclable.

7. Versatile

Gravel can be used in various ways to create different looks for your driveway. You can use different colors, sizes, and gravel textures to make your home look perfect.

Decorative Benefits of Driveway Gravel

1. Visual Interest

Gravel driveways can add visual interest to your property. Gravel’s different colors and textures can create a unique and eye-catching look.

2. Curb Appeal

A well-maintained gravel driveway can improve the curb appeal of your home. It can make your property look more inviting and increase its value.

3. Customizable

You can customize the look of your gravel driveway to match your home’s style. You can also use it to create different looks for different areas of your property.

4. Natural Look

A driveway with gravel and trees.

Gravel driveways have a natural look that can complement any home. They can make your property look more rustic or country-inspired.

How Much Rock Do I Need for a Driveway?

To figure out how much rock you need for a driveway, you first need to determine the size of your driveway. Use a tape measure to measure the length and width of your driveway.

Once you have these measurements, multiply them together to get the total square footage. For example, if your driveway is 10 feet long and 10 feet wide, it would be 100 square feet.

Next, you need to decide on the depth of your driveway. The average depth for a gravel driveway is about 2 inches. 

Finally, you need to calculate the amount of gravel required by using the following formula:

Total Square Footage x Depth (in inches) / 12 = Cubic Yards of Gravel Needed

For example, a 100-square-foot driveway with a depth of 2 inches would need 8.3 cubic yards of gravel (100 x 2 / 12 = 8.3).

How Much Does Driveway Rock Cost?

The cost of driveway rock varies depending on the type of gravel, the size and quantity you need, and your location.

Generally, gravel is much cheaper than other types of driveway material such as concrete, asphalt, or pavers. The exact price will depend on the stone you choose and your supplier.

To get the best price, it’s essential to compare the prices of different suppliers. You can easily use an online gravel calculator to compare prices from other sources.

How Long Does a Gravel Driveway Last?

A gravel driveway can last for many years if it is properly maintained. However, the lifespan will depend on several factors, such as the type of gravel used, the amount of traffic, and the climate.

To extend the life of your gravel driveway, regularly grade it and removing any debris or weeds is essential. You should also add fresh gravel as needed to replenish the material that has been lost over time.

If you take good care of your gravel driveway, it can last for decades.

Tips for Laying Gravel

A man scraping asphalt on the road.

1. Plan Ahead

Before you start laying gravel, it’s essential to plan. This will help you avoid mistakes and make the process go more smoothly.

2. Choose the Right Gravel

There are many different types of gravel to choose from. It’s essential to select the right style for your needs. Some factors to consider include the gravel’s size, color, and texture.

3. Prepare the Area

Before you lay the gravel, you need to prepare the area. This includes removing existing vegetation or debris, leveling the ground, and compacting the soil.

4. Install a Barrier

To keep your gravel in place and prevent it from washing away, you need to install a barrier around the perimeter of your driveway. This can be done with edging stones, pavers, or other border materials.

5. Spread the Gravel

Once the area is prepared, you can start spreading the gravel. Use a shovel or rake to distribute it across the surface evenly.

6. Compact the Gravel

After you have spread the gravel, you need to compact it. This will help prevent it from shifting or washing away. For this task, you can use a hand tamper or a gas-powered plate compactor.

7. Finish Up

Once the gravel is compacted, you can finish up by adding any desired finishing touches. This may include adding mulch, stones, or plants around the perimeter.