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How Much Does a Gravel Driveway Cost Per M2? - 2024 Prices

By: John Devlin

featured image for the cost of a gravel driveway

If you’re looking at a new driveway shortly, you’ll be pleased to know that the average gravel driveway cost per m2 for installation is one of the cheapest options. See the average prices, labour costs and hidden extras you still need to consider below.

A gravel or shingle driveway looks traditional and straightforward. You can use different coloured stones for a unique effect; it’s permeable, so there’s no problem with rainwater run-off and low maintenance.

A good driveway has three key elements to make sure it lasts. A solid sub-base with excellent drainage and an appealing surface, gravel driveways tick all the boxes, plus they’re an affordable option.

How Much Does A Gravel Driveway Cost?

The average cost of gravel driveway installation in the UK is £55 per square metre; this will increase the further south you are and if the existing drive is hard work to remove

We’ve compiled these figures as a guideline for gravel driveway prices to give you an idea of what to expect; however, you will need to get a few quotes from local companies to get an accurate custom price.

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Why Trust Us?

As a paving and landscaping business with over 30 years of experience, our team excels at gravel garden creation and maintenance. We’ve been doing this for a long time!

Our experience covers thousands of successful paving projects, and we’ve learned a few tricks along the way.

Gravel Drive Cost Factors

an image detailing the different costs of installing gravel on a driveway

Existing Driveway Surface

Depending on the condition of the current driveways will have a significant impact on gravel installation costs. Does it need excavation and a new sub-base or driveway drainage?

If so, will this take longer and increase costs? You can lay gravel on top of some surfaces if they are in good condition and flat, although you need to use gravel mats to prevent gravel migration, which again adds to the price.

Labour Costs for Gravel Driveway Installation

Labour costs vary throughout the country, so you could be looking at anything from £80-£250 per day, so for a simple two-day job, it would be between £160-£500.

How Many Tonnes of Gravel Will You Need

The gravel price varies depending on the type and how much you buy.

Driveway Size
Depth
Required Quantity
Packaging Options
Approximate Cost
Small (5m²)
5cm
850kg or 20 x 20kg bags
1 x 850kg bulk bag or 20 small bags
£60 for bulk bag
Large (25m²)
5cm
2.5 tonnes
3 x 850kg bulk bags
£180 for bulk bags

Gravel Size

So, how much does gravel cost per m2? It depends on your size and style; pea shingles, crushed rocks, and quarry stones are the cheapest options, costing between £60-£80 per 850kg bag.

However, choosing marble chips, slate, or polished pebbles will see your gravel driveway installation cost rise steeply; polished pebbles, for example, can cost up to £300 per bag

Stabilised or Self-Binding Gravel Cost More

Self-binding gravel, sometimes called “Hoggin,” is a blend of small stones, sharp sand, and clay that binds tightly when compacted, creating a solid gravel surface. It is often used in public parks and stately homes for pathways and is relatively cheap.

However, a stabilised gravel driveway will be more expensive as it uses grids to keep the stones in place, so you must factor this into the price.

Access

As we’ve mentioned, your old drive needs to be excavated and the waste removed, plus the new sub-base and gravel itself need to be delivered, so having good access is essential.

Having enough space so the delivery lorry can access your drive is essential. Using a wheelbarrow to get all the waste and driveway materials in and out will significantly increase the price.

Excavation and Waste Removal Costs

Installing a new gravel driveway often necessitates excavation and removing old materials. These steps are crucial for preparing the site and ensuring proper drainage but add to the overall project cost. Excavation can uncover additional considerations, such as the need for landscape alterations or addressing unexpected underground issues.

Moreover, disposing of rubble and waste from the existing driveway is essential to your budget planning. Skip hire costs vary widely, ranging from £160 to £450, influenced by the skip’s size and your location. This expense ensures a clean, efficient transition from old to new driveway surfaces.

Delivery Charge

It’s often cheaper to buy gravel directly from a retailer and take it home in your car or van than to have it delivered.

The weight of gravel bags can drive up delivery and handling fees; sometimes, you can expect to pay £30 – £40 for the privilege.

Impact of Driveway Size on Overall Costs

Understanding how the size of your driveway affects the overall cost is crucial for planning and budgeting. The cost of a gravel driveway is directly influenced by its dimensions, as larger driveways require more suitable materials, labour, and preparation work.

  • Small Driveways: Smaller driveways (up to 20m²) are typically the most cost-efficient to cover. Despite the lower quantity of materials needed, the cost might be slightly higher due to the minimum charges for delivery and labour.
  • Medium Driveways: For medium-sized driveways (20m² to 50m²), economies of scale start to apply, reducing the cost as the quantity of materials and labour time increase proportionately.
  • Large Driveways: Large driveways (over 50m²) require significant quantities of gravel, potentially leading to bulk purchase discounts. However, the increased site preparation and labour scope can add to the overall cost.

Benefits Of A Gravel Driveway

If you need your driveway replaced, gravel is an excellent option with many advantages. It’s cost-effective compared to some other materials; with proper maintenance, they can last up to 100 years, and there are many colours and styles to choose from.

advantages and downsides of using gravel to surface a driveway

Below, we highlight the key benefits:

Affordability: Gravel is more cost-effective than many other driveway materials, making it an economical choice for installation and maintenance.

Easy Maintenance: With routine upkeep, gravel driveways can maintain their appearance and functionality for up to a century. They’re also easy to repair by simply adding more gravel.

Quick Installation: Unlike paved driveways that require time to cure, gravel driveways require nothing and can be used immediately after installation. This fast turnaround minimises disruption to your property.

Variety: Available in a myriad of colours and styles, gravel can complement any home exterior.

Environmental Permeability: Gravel allows rainwater to percolate through, reducing runoff and the risk of puddles.

Security: The distinctive sound of gravel underfoot can deter uninvited visitors by announcing their arrival.

For a more detailed breakdown of these benefits, alongside potential drawbacks, visit our guide on the advantages and disadvantages of gravel driveways.

Do I Need Planning Permission to Gravel a Drive?

As gravel is not an impermeable surface like some other driveways, you will only need approval from your local council to build your gravel driveway if you need a dropped kerb.

Adding one without permission can result in a hefty fine of up to £1000.

Laying over an existing surface?

It isn’t advisable to put a gravel layer on top of any driveways as it has nothing to bed into and will move, which is dangerous and can leave unsightly bald spots from tyre treads; this is especially so with pea gravel, which is small and round.

Slate with jagged edges works better, but you need either self-binding gravel or resin for the top layer.

The Cost Of Installing A Gravel Driveway

The further south you live, the higher gravel driveway prices will be, but below are the UK’s average costs for a gravel driveway install.

Installation Description
Average Size in m2
Car Space
Days to Install
Material Costs
Labour Costs
Final Costs
Small Gravel Driveways
20m2
1
2
£500
£600
£1100
Average Sized Gravel Driveways
40m2
2-3
3
£1000
£1100
£2100
Large Gravel Driveways
80m2
5-6
4
£2000
£2000
£4000

Additional Costs

Additional Costs
Description
What’s Involved
Time to Install
Costs
Single Step
A matching step created with boot kerbs and blocks
Specialist corner kerbs installed and step created
3 hours
£150
Double Step
See Above
See Above
5 hours
£250
Aco Drains
Drainage installation to catch water flowing towards house
A channel is created in front of brickwork or garage to protect from water
1 hour per linear metres
£80 per L/M
Pin Kerbs
Pin kerbs are installed in any area that needs retainment.
A specialist pin kerb is set in concrete.
1 hour per 3 linear metres
£25 per linear metre
Boot Kerbs
Boot kerbs allow for high raised borders
Boot kerbs designed to match the driveway are set in concrete
30 Minutes per linear metre
£40 Per linear metre
Manhole Covers
Manhole covers are swapped for inset trays and blended with the paving
Removal of manhole and specialist tray inserted and paved.
3 hours
£250 Each

A Plastic Grid System

A grid system is ideal for decorative gravel driveways as it stops gravel migration, keeping your new driveway looking its best for longer. It also provides a secure base and better vehicle traction, avoiding sinking.

They also help with drainage and are essential if your drive’s on a slight slope. The cost of installing a gravel driveway will increase; however, you may save money on future driveway maintenance.

Will I Need Landscape Fabric?

You will need a weed-blocking membrane under your sub-base to stop weeds from growing through the driveway material.

If you have a small driveway, this doesn’t break the bank, but for a substantial sweeping drive, the costs will add up, maybe adding a couple hundred pounds to the average material cost of installing a gravel driveway.

Different Types Of Gravel For Driveways

Type
Description
Maintenance
Appeal
Cost Consideration

Crushed Rock

Mid-sized, rough stones offer a natural, rustic look. Ideal for driveways, landscaping, and drainage projects.
Low
Natural
Cost-effective

Pea Gravel

Smooth, round stones are available in various colours. Suited for patios, flowerbeds, and decorative purposes.
Moderate
High, versatile
Higher, demand-driven

River Rocks

Polished, smooth stones are used for water features and aesthetic landscaping. Offers a delicate, natural appeal.
Moderate
Natural, smooth finish
Variable

Basalt

Durable with a dark, sleek appearance. Offers a modern look for driveways and high-traffic areas.
Low
Modern, sleek
Mid-range

Granite

Luxurious and durable, it is available in a variety of colours. Ideal for premium driveway projects.
Low
Luxurious, colourful
Higher, luxury option

Flint

It offers a unique appearance and traditional charm, especially suitable for rural settings.
Low
Traditional charm
Mid-range

Quartz

Decorative and durable, it adds sparkle and robustness to driveways.
Low
Decorative, sparkling
Premium
5 great edges for gravel

Upgrades: Lighting and Security Features

Enhancing your gravel driveway with lighting and security features boosts its functionality and adds an extra layer of safety. Driveway lighting makes navigating easier during the night and adds a welcoming glow to your home’s entrance. Security features, such as motion sensors or cameras, deter unwanted visitors.

Driveway Lighting: Options range from solar-powered stakes to LED spotlights, offering energy efficiency and great looks. Lighting can highlight landscaping, define the driveway’s boundaries, and improve visibility.

Security Features: Motion-activated lights and surveillance cameras deter trespassers and help monitor driveway activity. These installations can seamlessly integrate into your driveway design, ensuring security without compromising style.

Maintenance: What To Expect

Use a weed barrier and routine maintenance to effectively combat weeds in your gravel driveway. For airborne weeds, pull them up or apply weedkiller. Gravel may need replenishing every couple of years to stay fresh.

Keep paths clear to avoid tripping hazards and mower damage. Regular raking and weeding will maintain its appearance. For detailed strategies, visit how to stop weeds in gravel driveways.

Alternative Driveway materials

Finding The Best Driveway Installer

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FAQ's

Is gravel cheaper than concrete or tarmac? 

Yes, gravel is cheaper than concrete or tarmac, often costing less than half of these alternatives, making it a cost-effective choice.

How deep to lay gravel? 

For a driveway using 20mm gravel, it’s recommended to lay it to a depth of 50mm with a sub-base depth of 150mm, totalling a 20cm depth for the driveway.

Can I install gravel myself? 

Yes, you can install a gravel driveway yourself. Here is a comprehensive guide for those interested in DIY gravel driveway installation.

How long does an installation take? 

Installing a small driveway of about 20 square metres with gravel and sub-base typically takes 1-2 days professionally. Larger driveways may require 2-3 days, with more time needed for DIY installations.

Does a gravel driveway add value? 

A gravel driveway can add value to your home by improving off-street parking availability and enhancing curb appeal, often covering the installation cost.

Final Thoughts

Having a gravel driveway installed will be the most beautiful addition to your home. But before you begin, there are a few things to consider, such as whether your existing drive surfacing needs excavating, how much gravel you will need and waste disposal costs.

However, the most important consideration is who you get to do the job. Bark.com puts you in touch with local tradespeople backed up by 5-star customer reviews for peace of mind.

This post has given you an idea of the rough costs of gravel driveways and what factors you need to consider when installing a new driveway. 

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