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How Much Does it Cost to Build a Gravel Driveway?

Low
$300
Average Cost
$1,750
High
$5,000
(two-car driveway topped with decomposed granite)

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How Much Does it Cost to Build a Gravel Driveway?

Low
$300
Average Cost
$1,750
High
$5,000
(two-car driveway topped with decomposed granite)

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Driveways are integral to every property and are built and finished in a variety of ways. Using gravel is an inexpensive method to create a driveway. A gravel driveway is made up of layers of stone, designed to drain and withstand cars driving on it. There are several options for creating a gravel driveway from the method to the materials used.

This means that there is a wide range of stone costs. The national average to build a gravel driveway is $1,000 - $3,000, with most people spending around $1,750 on a 2-car gravel driveway topped with decomposed granite.

Cost to Build a Gravel Driveway

Gravel Driveway Costs
National average cost$1,750
Average range$1,000-$3,000
Minimum cost$300
Maximum cost$5,000


Updated: What's new?

Build a Gravel Driveway Cost by Project Range

Low
$300
Single-car driveway topped with crushed stone
Average Cost
$1,750
Two-car driveway topped with decomposed granite
High
$5,000
Three-car driveway topped with marble chips and bordered with river rocks

Gravel Driveway Cost per Square Foot

Gravel driveways are among the least expensive driveways to build. They go down in layers, and the only real labor is dumping and spreading the stone, so they have a fairly low overall cost. The average cost per square foot ranges from $1 - $3, depending on the stone used.

If your driveway needs significant grading or uses premium materials, the cost is considerably higher. In addition, if you choose to create a stabilized gravel driveway, your costs also include the structure beneath the gravel, which adds $3 - $7 to your total costs. This makes the average price of a stabilized gravel driveway between $4 and $10 a square foot.

Driveway Gravel Cost per Cubic Yard

The cost of driveway gravel per cubic yard varies depending on the type of gravel used. Costs for materials start at $15 a cubic yard for base materials and go as high as $100 a cubic yard for some premium materials.

The average cost range for driveway gravel per cubic yard is around $75 delivered and spread.


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Gravel Driveway Cost by Size

While every driveway is different in terms of scale, gravel depth, and the cost of the gravel used, there are some average sizes for 1, 2, and 3-car driveways, which give you an estimate of the total cost:


Gravel Driveway Cost Chart

Gravel Driveway Cost Chart


Driveway TypeDriveway DimensionsAverage Cost Range
Single-car9’ x 20’ - 12’ x 24’$360-$900
Parking stall10’ x 20’$400-$600
Single-car turnaround10’ x 20’$400-$600
Two-car turnaround20’ x 20’$800-$1,200
Two-car20’ x 24’ - 24’ x 30’$1,000-$2,200
Three-car30’ x 24’ - 30’ x 30’$1,500-$3,000


Driveway Gravel Prices by Type

Your driveway needs to be made of at least three layers of stone, which start about the size of baseballs and gradually shrink to small gravel. From there, you have a choice of what kind of material to use, particularly when it comes to the top layer - the layer most visible.

Some materials sold for driveways are only used for edging and should not be used to cover the entire top layer of the driveway. Each has its own cost per yard or per ton, depending on how it is sold:


Driveway Gravel Prices

Driveway Gravel Prices


Gravel TypeAverage Cost
Item #4$12-$22/ton
Base gravel #3$15-$25/ton
Crushed granite$25-$50/ton
Quarry process/Crusher run$40-$50/ton
River rocks$45-$100/ton
Crushed stone #57$66-$75/ton
Crushed limestone$66-$75/ton
Jersey shore gravel$85-$100/ton
Pea gravel$100-$180/ton
Marble chips$100-$400/ton


Cost of Item #4

Item #4 is one of the options used as a base for a gravel driveway. Driveways are built up in three layers, with the first measuring roughly 3 - 4 inches deep. Item #4 is made of a mixture of crushed gravel with sand and dirt mixed in. It may also contain recycled material like asphalt or made of limestone or bluestone. Any of these are suitable as a base layer. Item #4 costs between $12 and $22 a ton.

Base Gravel #3 Driveway Costs

Base gravel #3 is the most common base for a gravel driveway. It is made up of stone measuring 1 - 2 inches in diameter and is sometimes called “clean stone.” It is a mixture of crushed stone with irregular edges and costs $15 - $25 a ton.

Crushed Granite Driveway Costs

Crushed granite or decomposed granite is a material most commonly used on the top of a gravel driveway. It is a fine mixture of crushed granite material combined with some rock dust. This finer texture means that it packs tightly on top of your driveway, forming a longer-lasting layer. Crushed granite comes in a few colors, depending on its origin. Expect costs of around $25 - $50 a ton.

Price of Crush and Run

Quarry process or crusher run is another material used on the top of a driveway. It is a fine mixture of crushed stone and stone dust. The dust packs and settles between the larger fragments to form a smoother driveway surface. Using the quarry process increases your total costs because you need to “crown” your driveway or make the center higher than the sides so that it drains properly without damaging the surface. It costs between $40 - $50 a ton.

River Rock Gravel Cost

River rocks are smooth stones measuring ¾ inch to 2 inches in size. They make a beautiful surface but not a good surface. If you want to add them to your driveway, they should be used as a border because they do not hold up well to car tires. Used as a border, they contain gravel, so you do not need to work as hard to maintain your driveway. River rock gravel costs approximately $45 - $100 a ton.

Crushed Stone #57 Cost

Crushed stone #57 is the second layer of your driveway. It goes on top of item #4 or gravel #3. This is an irregular stone roughly the size of a golf ball. It is also a machine-crushed stone but rougher than the others. You want at least 3 - 4 inches of this material to facilitate drainage beneath your final gravel. It is frequently made from limestone but can be made of other materials. Expect costs of between $66 - $75 a ton.

Crushed Limestone Driveway Cost

Limestone is frequently used for crushed stone #57 and sometimes crushed stone #3. It comes in many sizes and colors, depending on its composition. Crushed limestone averages $66 - $75 a ton.

Jersey Shore Gravel Cost

Jersey shore gravel is a pretty, yellow stone with a smooth texture and rounded surface. It makes a beautiful driveway but is not usually recommended for this use because the smooth stones move frequently, falling off your driveway and onto the sides. If you use this material, it requires very high maintenance and replenishing the stones every 1 - 2 years. Alternatively, Jersey shore gravel makes an excellent border stone and costs $85 - $100 a ton.

Pea Stone Gravel Prices

Pea gravel gets its name from its shape, size, and surface texture. This stone comes in a range of colors and consists of small, smooth pebbles rather than a rough crushed stone. Pea gravel makes a beautiful driveway but has the same problems as Jersey shore gravel. It migrates easily and makes your driveway very high maintenance. You spend more time raking it back and adding extra material every 1 - 2 years. Expect costs of around $100 - $180 a ton.

Marble Chips Cost

Marble chips are another material that makes a stunning top to a gravel driveway, but it is not always recommended. This is normally a white marble with a fairly smooth texture, so it does not interlock well and may migrate.

If you live in Virginia, however, you may be able to get mixed marble chips made from mosaics. These are often smaller chips that are perfect for driveways and come in a rainbow of colors. This depends on the area and is not always available. Marble chips cost $100 - $400 a ton.

How Much Gravel Do I Need for My Driveway?

This depends on the driveway size, its slope, and the material used. For some larger sizes, you need less material, while others require more.

Get a very basic estimate by measuring the length and width of your driveway and multiplying these numbers together to get the square feet. Next, multiply this by the depth of your finished driveway, which varies by material. Most driveways are 8 - 12-inches deep. This gives you cubic feet. Divide this by 27 to get the total number of cubic yards. One ton of gravel is roughly equal to 1.13 cubic yards, but this number changes depending on the gravel size. Multiply the number of cubic yards by 1.13 to get a very rough estimate of how many tons of gravel you need.

Remember that you need three separate types of gravel to complete your driveway, and each has a different recommended depth. For this reason, it is advised that you speak to your landscaper or contractor to find out how much gravel you need.


Long red gravel driveway to a custom home with trees lining the driveway


How Deep Should a Gravel Driveway Be?

Gravel driveways should ideally measure 12-inches deep, made up of 3 layers of material, which are 4-inches deep each. For some materials, however, 3 inches may be adequate. This includes your base layer of #3 gravel or item #4, followed by a layer of #57 gravel, and topped with the finish material of your choice.


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Stabilized Gravel Driveway Cost

Most gravel driveways need to have new gravel added every 2 - 4 years. This is because the gravel migrates off the top, due to car tires, snowplows, shovels, and simple wear and tear. With a stabilized gravel driveway, more gravel stays where it belongs, so it requires less maintenance and does not need to be replenished as often.

Stabilized driveways consist of a set of honeycombs set into the ground filled with gravel. The honeycombs hold the gravel in one spot so that it does not migrate. They are made of a few different materials and have varying depths and sizes, depending on your needs. They add $3 - $7 a square foot to your total costs, making the total cost $4 - $10 a square foot.

Cost to Build a Gravel Driveway

Labor varies a lot, mostly due to the condition of the area before you begin. It is common to excavate the area down about 12 inches because it will be built up with gravel. The driveway also needs to be graded then compacted before the first layer goes down.

From there, the labor is fairly easy: dumping and spreading the three gravel types. Contractors charge between $60 and $100 an hour for this work. This makes up the bulk of the cost of the project. Assuming 6 tons of gravel - two tons per layer - the average material cost works out to $400 - $500, plus $100 for delivery for a two-car driveway. The remaining $1,150 - $1,250 is for labor costs.

If you have boulders, trees, an oddly shaped driveway, or a more than a moderate slope, your labor costs will be closer to $2,000 in labor, plus the material costs.

Cost Factors to Install a Gravel Driveway

Many factors affect the total cost of a gravel driveway. These include its shape and size, gravel type, and depth, as well as the slope, location, and condition the area was in before you began. The more excavating that needs to be done, the higher the costs. Likewise, adding edging or stabilizing the driveway to help prevent migration also increases your total costs. Using a premium material or doing a chip seal driveway where the gravel is added to a bitumen layer also increases the total project costs.

Finally, the distance the gravel needs to travel is a factor. Most companies have a delivery fee of $50 - $100, but if you live further from the stoneyard, this has a higher cost.


Large English country mansion with wrought iron gates and gravel drive


Benefits of a Gravel Driveway

The biggest advantage of installing a gravel driveway is the cost. Gravel is less expensive than concrete or asphalt, so it is a good choice if you have a very long driveway. Gravel is very attractive if it has a good depth and a nice color to the stone.

They are difficult to maintain because they require a lot of raking and stone replacement. They may not be plowed down to the stone either because it removes stone from the driveway. You also need to add new gravel every 2 - 4 years on average to help it look its best.

Gravel Road Construction Cost

While the cost range to build a gravel driveway is $1 - $3 a square foot, the cost range to build a gravel road is completely different and varies from road to road. Costs start closer to $4 a square foot and go as high as $10 a square foot, depending on the gravel type, grading, slope, and size and shape of the road.

Every road has different variables that impact its cost, so it is best to consult your contractor about the total costs.

Gravel Parking Lot Cost

Gravel parking lots have similar costs to gravel driveways but often need additional drainage if the parking lot becomes big enough. Some gravel types drain through to the ground, but most allow the water to run off like asphalt or concrete. For a driveway, crowning is usually sufficient, but for a parking lot, you have the same costs to add and spread the gravel at $1 - $3 a square foot, but you may have added costs for drainage.

Gravel vs Asphalt Driveway Cost

Gravel is one of the least expensive methods of creating a permanent driveway. For a two-car driveway, they cost around $1,750 for a medium-grade gravel. In contrast, the same size asphalt driveway costs nearly double at $3,600 for a mid-grade bitumen, making gravel much more affordable.

Gravel Driveway Maintenance

Gravel driveways take a lot of maintenance to keep them at their best. This includes raking the gravel back from the edges to redistribute it a few times a year. You need to add more gravel to it every 2 - 4 years on average, and occasionally, you may also need to have it crowned or built up in the middle to help water run off more easily.

They still form potholes, particularly in rainy climates, and you need to fill these regularly. In addition, gravel sometimes has weeds or grass growing through it, which needs to be dealt with to keep your driveway at its best.


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Enhancements and Improvement Costs

Painting Your Gravel Driveway

Gravel driveways are painted using either acrylic or oil-based paint. Any movement of the stones brings unpainted stone up to the top, so painting may need to be done several times. Painting costs $1 - $2 a square foot.

Cost to Regrade a Gravel Driveway

Sometimes, your driveway may need regrading or to be crowned. This is done at a cost of $60 - $100 an hour and takes 1 - 4 hours.

Cost to Pave a Gravel Driveway

The cost to pave a gravel driveway varies depending on what you are paving it with. Asphalt starts at around $4,000, while concrete begins at around $5,000. This includes grading and removal of the gravel.

Gravel Driveway Repair Cost

Most gravel driveways are easy to repair by adding additional gravel and grading. This costs $100 - $300 on average.

Drainage

Most gravel driveways need to be crowned to drain properly. This has an added cost of around $100 for the labor.

Driveway Garden

If desired, create a driveway garden with a gravel driveway. This includes adding plants to the center or sides. Typical landscaping costs apply, depending on the type of plants being added.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Gravel driveways last up to 100 years if they are properly cared for and maintained, including adding additional gravel every few years as needed.
  • Gravel delivery costs range from $50 to $100 per driveway, depending on the amount and distance. Some suppliers do not deliver less than 10 cubic yards, roughly 9 tons. Others do not deliver less than 20 tons.
  • Purchase your own gravel for a DIY driveway at a landscape supplier or quarry.
  • If you purchase your own gravel, keep in mind that delivery does not include spreading or installation.
  • In most areas, you do not need a permit for this project.
  • It is important to note that weeds creep up through the gravel on the driveway, so some weed control may be necessary.
  • You need three types of gravel for your driveway. The least expensive includes Item #4, gravel #57, and some kind of crushed granite or crushed rock.

FAQ

  • How much is driveway gravel per yard?

The average cost is around $75 per cubic yard installed and spread.

  • Is gravel good for driveways?

Gravel makes an attractive and inexpensive driveway but requires a lot of maintenance.

  • How much does pea gravel cost per cubic yard?

Pea gravel is sold per ton at $100 - $180 per ton. A ton equals 1.13 cubic yards.

  • How much is a truckload of pea gravel?

A ton of pea gravel is sold at $100 - $180 per ton. Trucks hold varying amounts, but the gravel is sold by the ton.

  • How long will a gravel driveway last?

When properly maintained, a gravel driveway lasts up to 100 years.

Cost to build a gravel driveway varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Updated:
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.
Car parked on a gravel driveway and showing some of its light blue paint.
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Cost to build a gravel driveway varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.