Problems with gravel driveways

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

Picture of Natasha Maerz

Natasha Maerz

Owner/Office Manager

Gravel driveways are a great option for anyone looking to redo their driveway in a timely manner. They are relatively low cost, and can be installed quickly, usually in a day or two.

While gravel is a good option to use for a driveway, there are still problems associated with it.

If we haven’t met before allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Back 40 Landscaping and our expertise is in retaining walls and hardscaping. We also like to bring education to those looking for gravel solutions.

Installing the wrong gravel for your space

The three main shapes of gravel that are used for landscaping jobs are minusclear, and round rock. Each of these materials have pros and cons (read different types of gravel), and each serves its own purpose. If you have the “wrong” type of gravel installed for your driveway, two things will most likely happen. You will either be disappointed with end result and have to replace the material with a gravel material that will work, or you will “live with it”, and be frustrated every time you park your car or walk on your driveway.

If the wrong material is used for a driveway, it can be extremely difficult to walk and park on. Larger gravel will not compact, and the surface will never be a uniform surface. Minus material, which is gravel that is no bigger than 3/4”, is a great option to use for a gravel driveway, where you want a hard, sturdy surface.  It compacts hard, and provides a uniform surface, making it easy to wheel strollers, or garbage cans over.

Pot holes

There is nothing that is going to prevent your gravel driveway from forming pot holes, because they form from the wear and tear of everyday vehicle traffic. The issue with potholes is that many homeowners are under the impression that you can just fill a pot hole in with some gravel, and that this will fix it. Unfortunately, filling in a pothole with gravel is a temporary solution, and will not work long term.

The proper way to fix a pot hole is to destroy it, regrade, and then rebuild the driveway. (Gravel driveway costs touches on this). This means that a large machine will need to be brought in, new material needs to be spread over the area, and the entire area will need to be compacted.  This is why it is suggested that a gravel renovation be done every couple of years on your gravel driveway.


While the winter months bring the excitement of Christmas and time spent with family, it also brings the cold winter weather, and snow. Unlike an asphalt or concrete driveway, it is extremely hard to plow a gravel driveway, as snow and ice like to stick to sand and gravel. Having a gravel driveway plowed can make a big mess, and when the snow melts, homeowners will be able to see how the gravel has washed away, and been tracked to other areas of their property, and on the road. Most gravel driveways will need a top up of gravel after the winter, so this can be a good time to think about getting your gravel driveway renovation done.


Cleaning your gravel driveway

Cleaning a gravel driveway can be a challenge. Paver and concrete driveways are relatively quick and easy to clean, because they can be hosed, swept, or blown off. With gravel, all you can really do to clean it is try to rinse it off with a hose, or just replace it. Some people suggest “sifting” the gravel, but that is going to take hours to do, with little reward for your efforts. When getting a gravel driveway installed remember that over time, dirt and debris will mix with the gravel, and the look of “dirty” gravel is something that you will have to consider.

Even with a couple of problems, gravel driveways are still a wonderful option. If the proper type of gravel is used, and maintenance is done every couple of years, most people are very happy with their choice of having a gravel driveway installed.