Stone and Gravel Driveways

by Marcus Pickett

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Driveways & Walkways

The driveway is a critical part of any home. It's one of the first things guests will see, and it's the most natural entrance onto your property. There are several options you have when it comes to driveway materials, and each has different qualities. Stone and gravel driveways may not be nearly as popular as asphalt or concrete, but they have their place and advantages as well. If you're thinking about building a new driveway, here's some things to note about these two materials.

Gravel Driveways
Gravel driveways can refer to crushed gravel driveways or crushed stone driveways, a higher end installation. Crushed gravel isn't the most elegant driveway material out there, but it is the cheapest. For this reason, gravel driveways are most commonly found in rural areas, as homeowners who have extremely long driveways (rarely found in the city) and a strict home improvement budget may have few other options. Another nice trait of gravel driveways is that they can always be paved over later with a material of your choice.

Other than their low installation cost, they are also the easiest to maintain. Naturally, you don't have to worry about driveway cracks. Gravel driveways are designed to shed water, but you'll need to ensure that you have proper yard drainage before installation. If you live in the northern United States and constantly need a functional driveway, keep in mind snow removal from a gravel driveway is extremely difficult.

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Stone Driveways
Stone driveways can also mean a number of different things. Stone driveways can refer to concrete stones, brick stones, and natural stones. The most common "stone driveway" is, of course, natural stone, but even different natural stones can have several kinds of colors and textures. Of the different kinds of stones you can choose, a natural stone driveway will probably be the most elegant, but also the most expensive and the hardest to maintain. Some natural stones are rare and cost-prohibitive to many homeowners. Again, you'll have to ensure proper drainage in your yard and cold, moist climates will decrease the lifetime of this costly driveway with heavy freeze/thaw cycles.

Driveway Edging
Whichever driveway material you choose, driveway edging will make it better. It can spruce up an otherwise dirty, bland gravel driveway. For stone driveways, it can help keep the stone pavers in place and reduce the incidence of cracks and costly repairs. Driveway edging can be made from stone, metal, or even wood. It can be made from the same material as your driveway or contrasting colors and textures may add a more conscious decorative element to your driveway.

Marcus Pickett is a professional freelance writer for the home remodeling industry. He has published more than 600 articles on both regional and national topics within the home improvement industry.