With tons of cheap gravel driveway ideas out there, finding the right design for your outdoors can prove daunting. The good news, however, is that gravel is aesthetically appealing and more affordable compared to other driveway designs. So what are some of the top gravel designs worth considering for your driveway?
Some of the most affordable and aesthetically appealing gravel driveway ideas include the crushed gravel driveway, pea gravel driveway, recycled asphalt gravel driveway, crushed granite gravel, and the gravel and paver driveway. You can also try out the gravel and brick, gravel and grass, gravel and shell, gravel and concrete, or even gravel and wood chip driveway designs.
Looking to spruce up your driveway using unique gravel ideas? If so, then you couldn’t be in a better place. Read on as we take a closer look at some of the cheapest (and most attractive) gravel driveway ideas to transform your outdoors.
Characteristics of Cheap Gravel Driveways
Investing in your driveway is a surefire way to add some gloss to your outdoors and transform the space. Most homeowners prefer gravel due to its availability and affordability. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key characteristics of gravel driveways.
- Affordable: On average, you’ll end up spending $1 to $4 per square foot when setting up a gravel driveway. The total paving costs will largely depend on your driveway’s overall size. Gravel is a lot cheaper to purchase compared to concrete and asphalt, which can range anywhere between $4 to $15 per square foot.
- Low maintenance: While gravel driveways require regular maintenance, the total cost of making repairs is a lot cheaper than concrete and asphalt driveways. You’ll only need to refill gravel to make it level or fill up potholes.
- Versatile design options: There is a wide range of gravel designs that you can play around with to achieve your desired design. Some of the most popular gravel options include pea gravel, dense grade, and river rock.
- Excellent drainage: Gravel has outstanding drainage properties, which makes it ideal for use in driveways, especially in wet areas. While puddles and wet spots can form on asphalt, brick, and concrete driveways, the same can’t be said for gravel surfaces.
- Durable and long-lasting: Gravel driveways are highly durable and can serve owners for decades if well maintained. Unlike concrete or asphalt driveways that are prone to cracks and holes, gravel has great absorption properties and can’t develop cracks.
- Suitable for various climates: Most homeowners struggle with removing snow and ice on concrete pavements to prevent the damage resulting from the freeze-thaw cycle. However, gravel has great drainage properties and cannot crack or develop holes when water seeps between the granules.
- Eco-friendly: Gravel is considered to be an eco-friendly material to use on driveways. Its good drainage properties reduce the chances of flooding and it doesn’t contribute to the heat island effect compared to the likes of concrete or asphalt.
- DIY-friendly: Bringing cheap gravel driveway ideas to life is a lot easier for first-timers as the installation process is pretty straightforward. Asphalt and concrete driveways often require a lot of work and are best done by professionals.
Crushed gravel is a great option if you’re in search of an affordable material that pairs well with different outdoor concepts and designs. It’s available in different colors and is composed of tiny stones intermixed with coarse sand.
The average cost of crushed gravel stands at approximately $35-40 per cubic yard. Of course, the total costs will come down to the size of your driveway. While the average DIY cost stands at $1.5 per square foot, you might end up paying $2.8 per square foot should you outsource to experts.
Pea gravel is available in a wide range of colors, with the most common being gray. Besides the different shades of gray, you can also find pea gravel in earthen tones like tan, brown, and white. You can also find pea gravel in colors like blue or red if you want to add a layer of uniqueness to your driveway.
Rough pea gravel is a lot cheaper than softer gravel and works best for driveways. On average, you’ll pay around $25 to $65 per cubic yard for pea gravel. You can also find small cubic foot bags at Home Depot ranging from $4- $12, depending on the size. The total cost of outsourcing to experts will depend on the size of your driveway and the local average.
Recycled asphalt gravel driveways are increasingly common due to their availability and ease of installation. They work well with different outdoor themes and boast impressive drainage properties like other gravel designs.
On average, expect you’ll pay between $12 to $35 per yard without installation. The prices largely depend on the quality of the crushed millings.
Granite chippings combine well with gravel to give your outdoors a retro look. You can choose to mix the granite and gravel equally or use one more than the other, depending on your tastes and preferences.
The cost of crushed granite ranges between $30-$60 per cubic yard without labor. However the costs can go up if you opt for the expensive type of decomposed granite.
5. Gravel and Paver Driveway
The gravel and paver driveway is among the most common cheap gravel driveway ideas, especially for large driveways. Most homeowners prefer having large gravel driveways separated by concrete pavers. However, you can choose a design that best suits your preferences and outdoor theme.
The type of paver you choose to work with will determine the total costs of the entire project.
Brick is a popular choice for edging gravel driveways. Bricks are well-renowned for their timeless style and will help lock the tiny pieces of gravel in place. Incorporating brick into your cheap gravel driveway ideas is a surefire way to give your outdoors a classy appearance.
On average, brick pavers cost between $1 to $20 per square foot (depending on brick design). Labor costs tend to range between $6 to $10 per square foot.
7. Gravel and Shell Driveway
It’s hard to leave shells out when comparing cheap gravel driveway ideas. Shells give your driveway a neat rustic look and combine well with gravel. You’ll need to refill your shells over time as they tend to disperse easily.
The cost of shells ranges from $0.50 to $5 per square foot. Installing shells and granite should prove straightforward even for first-timers.
The grass and gravel design is among the timeless yet cheap gravel driveway ideas to try out. It works especially well for large driveways and is highly affordable. It’s worth noting, however, that the design requires more maintenance, as the granite can disperse easily.
On average, you’ll end up paying between $4 and $15 (inclusive of labor) to install a grass driveway. The costs are likely to be higher when installing a gravel and grass driveway as opposed to just one design.
A gravel and concrete driveway is among the most preferred cheap gravel driveway ideas, at least in terms of durability. Combining these two ideas into one won’t cost you much, especially if most of the driveway is gravel.
Without counting labor costs, concrete pavers will cost you between $4-$7 per square foot. You can get gravel for y $35-40 per cubic yard, which is greatly affordable. Installation costs will depend on your preferred design and driveway size.
A gravel and wood chip driveway is a great option when looking for a drainage-friendly solution. This idea is pretty easy to implement and won’t require much in terms of capital and maintenance. You will, however, need to factor in wood chip and gravel refilling costs at least once a year, depending on where you live (and driveway size).
Wood chips cost an average of $40-$45 per cubic yard and are a lot cheaper in bulk. Labor costs will largely range between $4 – $10 per square foot, but can vary depending on type and size of project.
3 Additional Ideas of Cheap Gravel Driveway Edging
Although cheap and easy to install, gravel tends to get dispersed over time. Your best bet is to install edging to keep the gravel (and other material) in place. Here are some additional ideas you can implement.
Wooden edging gives your driveway a timeless look that fits well with the outdoors. A well done wood edging project will amplify the beauty of a driveway and hold the gravel in place for years to come.
Plastic or rubber paver restraints are ideal for gravel driveways. They’re strong and durable and easily available. What’s more, they rarely require much in terms of installation, as long as you observe the provided instructions.
Many cheap gravel driveway ideas incorporate natural stones as borders. These stones are usually preferred for their natural look, and can go well with different types of outdoor themes. They’re usually weather resistant and do a superb job in keeping gravel in place.
FAQs About Cheap Gravel Driveway Ideas
The least expensive gravel you can use for the driveway is pea gravel. The gravel is highly versatile as it is available in different colors. On average, you’ll end up paying between $10 to $35 per ton of pea gravel.
The easiest and cheapest way to make a driveway is using gravel. Compared to other materials, graphite is easily accessible and cheap. It’s also easy to install, even for inexperienced homeowners.
You can use gravel to make a cheap driveway as it’s low cost and doesn’t require much in terms of labor. It’s also advisable to combine gravel with other paving materials to give your driveway a unique look.
Gravel is an ideal material to use when looking to give your driveway a new look without breaking the bank. You can combine gravel with a variety of materials like recycled asphalt gravel, grass, concrete and even wood chips.
While you can implement all these ideas on your own, consulting with experts is highly advisable for the best outcomes.