Installing driveway gravel involves a number of steps that must be carefully planned. Here are some things to do when installing a driveway.
Decide Whether to Call a Professional
First, you'll want to figure out whether you can handle the job on your own or whether you want to call in a professional, such as a gravel and concrete contractor. The job of placing a gravel driveway can be done without a contractor's help, but it's a lot more work. For instance, the contractor can help you calculate the volume of materials that you need so that you don't waste money or run out of gravel. They can also bring equipment that will help with excavating the driveway, pouring the materials, and compacting each layer. Plus, they help to ensure that no steps are missed in the process and that the finished product is of a professional quality. If anything goes wrong, their professional insurance can take care of it.
Gather Your Equipment
Next, you'll want to gather the materials that you need. Several layers of gravel will be needed, from the large, base rocks to the fine top layer. Some equipment rental may also be helpful; a bobcat helps with tamping each layer before the next one is poured. You'll also need stakes and string for marking off the boundaries of your driveway.
Mark Off Boundaries
Use stakes every three feet to show the contour of the driveway. The string can be wrapped around the stakes to give further definition to the lines of the driveway.
Dig Out the Driveway
Excavate the driveway to about 12'' deep so that you have ample room for your gravel driveway filling. It's possible to do this with a shovel and wheelbarrow; you might want to rent a roll off dumpster to store all of the excavated dirt before hauling it off of the property. Of course, a contractor may bring a digging machine to speed this process along.
Pour and Compact Material
The first step is to pull up any weeds or other debris that could affect your base layer. Optionally, you can lay down a piece of landscaping fabric to cover the base of your driveway. This will prevent weeds from growing back through the rock layers and becoming unseemly. Next, you will need to lay down each layer of your driveway and then compact it to ensure rocks don't shift too much later on. Once you've laid down all of the layers, optionally have the driveway crowned so that its peak is in the center; this will help water to flow off more easily.