Last Modified: April 6, 2024

Gravel Driveway Cost

calculations and comparisons

Decorative gravel driveway

By Ben Parrot - Landscape Gardener & Amateur Geologist

Overview

Creating a gravel driveway is an accessible and popular option for many homeowners in the UK, offering a blend of affordability, natural beauty, durability and environmental benefits. Based on our own calculations and insights from various sources, we provide tips and a comprehensive overview of essential information for costing a gravel driveway, including materials, comparisons and DIY installation.

A quick heads-up regarding our freshly introduced tool, the 'Pebble Picker', accessible in the sidebar or menu. It streamlines the task of viewing and comparing decorative aggregates, organised by colour and type, for your convenience.

Garden gnome meme

Key Takeaways

  • How much does it cost to gravel a driveway?
  • The different cost factors to consider when planning a driveway.
  • Find out the DIY bonded gravel driveway cost when using a kit.
  • How much does driveway gravel cost based on five popular types of aggregates.
  • To get an accurate estimate, access to our gravel driveway cost calculator.
Flamingo gravel driveway with stone edging. Jpg

Basics Gravel Drive Costs

In this section we first cover two fundamental questions about establishing a gravel drive, how much it costs per square metre on average and also the average cost of a two car driveway. Following that, we break down the cost factors including aggregate costs.

How much does it cost to lay a gravel driveway in the uk?

The average gravel driveway cost per m2 in the United Kingdom typically falls between £40 and £100, excluding labour cost. The overall size of the driveway plays a significant role in determining the cost. As the square meterage increases, the price per ㎡ tends to decrease, offering a more cost-effective solution for larger areas. This pricing structure makes gravel driveways an attractive option for those looking to cover substantial spaces without incurring the higher costs associated with other materials. If you are considering building your own, we have many resources which may be of great help, including Stone Chippings for Driveways.

How much does a 2 car driveway cost?

Based on some online research, the cost of having a driveway built for two cars, typically around 30㎡ in size, ranges from £6,000 to £8,000, depending on the choice of materials. For larger driveways, approximately 90㎡, prices start at about £13,000 and can top £17,500 or more. These costs are influenced by your location within the UK and the difficulty of the driveway.

Double drive with golden pea shingle

Cost Factors

Choosing your gravel is one of the most significant costs for a drive and Outdoor Aggregates features an encyclopaedia of decorative aggregates that many people don't know about. Gravels come in various colours, textures and sizes and can cater to different styles. They are also affordable and fit almost any budget. However, finding the 'perfect' one can be challenging. But with over 100 unique aggregates and counting, Outdoor Aggregates has made it easier for readers to access almost every type sold in the UK. We also have an aggregate-matching technology in the sidebar that allows users to select their preferences before showing them the types of stones and other aggregates that match their preference or are close to it. If you haven't given it a try yet, give it a go, it's free.

Alpine blue chippings front garden

Driveway Gravel Costs

A wide selection of stones are available for constructing your driveway surface and base, each with its own characteristics and price points:

  1. 1
    Crushed Gravel: Angular decorative stones, preferable to pebbles for stability, costing from £50-£350 per 850kg bulk bag.
  2. 2
    20mm Gravel: A budget driveway gravel available as a natural river rock pea gravel or crushed aggregate from £50-80per bulk bag.
  3. 3
    Slate Chippings: Offering an aesthetic appeal with its muted grey colour, costing around £70-£100 per bulk bag.
  4. 4
    Self-Binding Gravel: Useful for creating a rustic, natural surface, priced at around £100-£200 for an 850kg bag.
  5. 5
    Resin Bound Gravel KitsFor creating DIY, permeable surfaces on old concrete or asphalt at £6-£12 per ㎡. 
  6. 6
    Crushed AggregatesA versatile option used for sub-base layers or as a top layer, costing around £40-£70 for an 850kg bag.

The cost of the driveway materials above are estimates, correct as of February 2024, and subject to many variations by supplier and type. Next, we cover some of the other factors to consider when estimating the cost of an aggregate driveway.

Golden flint garden for parking

Factors For a Gravel Driveway Cost UK 

The cost of installing a gravel driveway in the UK varies based on several factors:

  1. 1
    Driveway Size: The total area influences the overall cost and difficulty, with larger driveways a bigger challenge for DIY builds.
  2. 2
    Gravel Type and Quantity: With gravel costs ranging from budget to luxurious, the type and amount needed affect the cost.
  3. 3
    Edging and Features: Edging will be necessary to contain the stones, and other features like decorative boulders, outdoor lighting and drainage solutions need to be added to the cost.
  4. 4
    Labour Costs: The cost of professional driveway installers service can vary depending on the tradesperson's hourly rates.
  5. 5
    Regional Variations: Prices can differ based on where you live in the UK, with costs generally higher in the South and London areas.

For a detailed costing example, jump to 'Costing a Slate Driveway' in our article Slate Chippings For Driveways.

Need to work out how much gravel your project needs? Try our free gravel calculator.

Do You Need a Sub-base for a Gravel Driveway?

Unequivocally, yes! A strong sub-base is important for a gravel driveway's longevity and functionality. It supports heavy loads and evens out irregularities, creating a stable foundation. MOT Type 1 is a recommended sub-base material due to its effective compaction and durability, ensuring a reliable driveway structure.

Excavating an area for laying gravel

Advantages of a Gravel Driveway

There are several advantages to choosing a gravel drive. They range from being more budget-friendly than just about every other type, to the fact that they generally don't require planning permission, along with the DIY-friendly nature of  building with gravel. They also last for decades while requiring minimal maintenance, adding value to your property to boot.

Savings on Planning Permission Costs

Permeable materials like gravel, permeable concrete block paving, or porous asphalt can be used for new or replacement driveways without requiring planning permission. Rainwater can drain through these materials naturally, which eliminates the need for additional planning approvals, saving you money as well. Gravel can be a popular choice for those looking to avoid the complexities of planning.

Garden gravel requiring maintenance

Is a gravel drive cheaper than tarmac or block paving?

Gravel driveways are generally a more cost-effective option compared to tarmac or block paving. They require less groundwork during installation, and the cost of driveway gravel per ton can range in price from very cheap right through to luxurious marble chippings, making them suited to most budgets. Although they need occasional upkeep to keep the surface tidy and topped up, the overall cost-efficiency makes them one of the most affordable choices for homeowners looking for an attractive and durable driveway solution.

Attractive and Long lasting

A gravel driveway construction can last up to 100 years with proper installation. It's durable and easy to replenish. Regular care and occasional repairs to damage can keep it in good condition for decades, making it a long-term solution for your front entrance.

Is it hard to maintain a gravel drive?

No, gravel driveways are easy to maintain, with raking, occasional top-ups and weed removal generally all that the surface will require. Regular edging and shaping of surrounding greenery is also necessary to keep the driveway looking neat.

Raking shingle drive

Installation Overview

If you're planning to install a gravel driveway, there are several important steps you should take to ensure its longevity and durability, including choosing the appropriate type of gravel for your driveway.

  1. 1
    To prepare the area for excavation, mark it out and remove the topsoil to a depth of 150mm. Ensure the site is level and clear of vegetation to avoid issues in the future and ensure their is a slight slope for run-off.
  2. 2
    Create a stable foundation for your driveway. You'll need to lay a 100mm deep sub-base layer of hardcore material like crushed rock or limestone. Use a vibrating plate compactor to level and compact the layer.
  3. 3
    After installing the sub-base, use a geotextile membrane barrier to prevent weeds and ensure proper drainage. Overlap the strips and make sure there are no gaps or holes.
  4. 4
    Lastly, lay the gravel, ensuring it is a minimum thickness of 50mm deep, and evenly spread and compacted. 

We cover this in great detail with our step-by-step, DIY guide to Installing a Gravel Driveway. We also have an article focused on How to Make Edging For a Garden which could be of great help to you.

Pea gravel on woven geotextile weed membrane. Jpg

Gravel For Driveway Cost Calculator

Our gravel driveway cost calculator is here for you. To ensure accurate measurements and calculations for project planning and ordering, it is crucial to use the appropriate tools and approach. However, achieving this level of accuracy is possible with the right resources and methodology. Here's what you will need:

  • A measuring tool, such as a tape measure, laser measurer or similar
  • Pencil/pen
  • Sketch pad
  • Someone to help you, or pegs/heavy objects if you can't get help

Now that you have the measurements, all you need is the approximate cost of your aggregates, and you should be ready to finalise an approximate budget, unless you plan to hire labour. In this case, you will need to seek a quote from a contractor - just check their reviews.

Outdoor Aggregates Driveway Gravel Calculator

Results

kg

(excluding delivery)

Summary

A gravel driveway is an attractive, cost-effective option for many homeowners, offering flexibility in design and a relatively straightforward installation process. By considering the factors that affect costs and being prepared for the maintenance involved, you can enjoy the benefits of a gravel driveway for years to come.

For those considering a DIY gravel driveway installation, it's important to assess your skills, experience and the time required. And remember, preparation is key. Otherwise, hiring tradespeople for the job may be best to have it done correctly, potentially saving time and avoiding complications.

Golden chips front drive

FAQs

Are gravel driveway costs cheaper than concrete?

Yes, gravel driveways cost less compared to asphalt or concrete slabs, making them ideal for budget-friendly projects covering large areas.

Is gravel the cheapest driveway material?

Gravel is the most cost-effective driveway material compared to resin, paving and concrete. Its low cost makes it an attractive option for those seeking an economical solution.

What are the cons of a gravel driveway?

Despite their durability, gravel driveways require ongoing maintenance to address the formation of ruts and potholes and occasionally the need for periodic replenishment of the crushed stone layer. These maintenance tasks, typically needed every one to three years, can add to the long-term upkeep costs and effort required to maintain the driveway's condition and appearance.

Is a gravel driveway worth it?

Gravel driveways are cost-effective, easy to install, and require minimal maintenance. Plus, they offer aesthetic versatility, making them a great alternative to concrete, asphalt, or non-porous pavers.

Is it cheaper to gravel or pave?

Gravel is a budget-friendly choice for a driveway compared to paving stones. Material cost and installation expenses are much lower, making it a popular option for enhancing outdoor spaces without high expenditure. However, recycled pavers can reduce the cost dramatically.

How do you harden a gravel driveway?

Compacting the gravel in a driveway is crucial for durability and stability. Heavy vehicles can help compact the gravel for smaller driveways. However, for a more uniform and professional result, a mechanical compactor is a better option.

Do gravel driveways need planning permission?

Gravel driveways don't usually require planning permission because they have permeable surfacing that allows water to drain through. This simplifies the process for homeowners while providing effective water management. Choosing permeable materials can be a strategic way to avoid planning consent complexities.

How much does a ton of gravel cost in the UK?

Gravel prices in the UK vary based on the type, quality and location of the supplier. As a rough guide, an 850kg bulk bag can range from £50 up to over £400 per bag. Get quotes from our suppliers to help you budget effectively for your project.

We have every type of gravel available to choose from in the UK. Check them out!

About the author 

Ben Parrot is a landscape gardener and amateur geologist. He is the founder of Outdoor Aggregates, with the mission to create the first encyclopaedia for decorative aggregates. From natural stone through to decorative bark, these aggregates are critical to garden and landscape design, universally.

The problem: There isn't any place where all the different types of decorative landscaping materials and construction aggregates can be found, nor are the specifications of each type readily available. So, enriched by his extensive experience, and inspired by the timeless elegance and raw beauty of stone and rock, etched by nature's artistry over millennia, Outdoor Aggregates was born.