What Kind of Gravel is Best for My Driveway?

Written by Builders Sand & Gravel Inc. on . Posted in Blog

pea gravelUnless you are a landscaping expert (or maybe if you work in a quarry), you probably did not realize there were so many different varieties of gravel until it came time to update or install a gravel driveway. Gravel driveways are relatively inexpensive and easy to install as a do it yourself project, and a carefully maintained gravel driveway that was properly installed can last up to ten years. People choosing which kind of gravel to install in their driveways will make their selection based on availability, cost, appearances, and drainage. Some popular choices for gravel include river rock and pea gravel, which we will discuss among others below. 

River rock: a natural look. River rock is composed of gently rounded and semi-glossy stones that have been dredged up from the beds of rivers. Because of this, it gives the driveway a natural and almost rustic look. However, if your driveway contains steep slopes, inclines, curves, or other features that may be difficult to maneuver, take extreme caution in choosing river rock just for its attractiveness: the smoothed stones shift significantly under vehicles. 

Quarry stone: practical, not pretty. Also known as crusher run, quarry stone is a popular, practical option for driveways. The gravel stones are typically smaller and mixed with a great deal of gravel dust, which allows the gravel to compact and form a semisolid surface. However, due to these properties of the crushed gravel or quarry stone, it does not serve as a good drainage gravel for driveways in wet climates. 

Pea gravel: Like river rock, pea gravel stones are also naturally weathered. They are typically small, round, and smooth, hence their name. Pea gravel is usually multicolored in appearance and has the same attractive, natural look as river rock, without as much of the vehicle instability that river rock yields. However, since the pea gravels stones are round and not angular, they don’t interlock like crushed stone tends to, and can spread out off the surface of the driveway over time unless it is properly edged to keep the stones in place. Pea gravel tends to be a better drain rock option than quarry stone since it allows water to flow through between the round rocks. 

As long as you have gravel delivery arranged (since gravel tends to be quite heavy and difficult to manage by nonprofessionals in a non-commercial vehicle) installing and maintaining your driveway is simple and easy. Just make sure you choose the stone type right for you, to avoid corrective expensive or even vehicular damage and accidents in the long run.