Gravel Driveways-viable alternative to Concrete and Asphalt driveways

Published by Millennial1 on October 1, 2007 - 1:00am

Gravel driveways are being considered more by home owners now that porous pavers provide the support for cars and are good for the environment.

Rustic gravel driveway

The curb appeal of some landscaped homes is often enhanced by a gravel driveway. In Washington DC, we are starting to see more gravel driveways, especially in higher priced homes.

Aside from the rustic appearances of gravel driveways, there are several advantages:

  1. Cost is much lower than concrete, asphalt or driveways that used pavers,
  2. Life of a gravel driveway is about 60 years compared to 8-15 years for asphalt and 2-25 years for concrete,
  3. Allows rain and snow runoff to permeate and recharge ground water instead of just running into sewers and streams, and
  4. Can be built to support cars and SUVs without making deep ruts in the gravel.

Myth - Gravel Driveways are a mess once you drive on them
Many of you may be thinking that gravel driveways will look terribleonce you drive your car over them. In the past this was very true. The weight of your car would just make giant ruts in the gravel and really detract from the above benefits.

Closeup of flexible porous pavers installed on driveway

Flexible Porous Pavers for gravel have changed all of this. A flexible porous paving system does double duty by providing good drainage and support for automobiles and light trucks. The flexible porous pavers achieve this by transferring the weight of your car underneath the gravel to the base layer underneath. The porous pavers are relatively inexpensive and are made of recycled plastic and are rigid enough to hold the gravel in place.

Gravel porous pavers come in rolls and are easy to install and connect together. You must prepare the soil below the porous pavers by compacting it first. After that, you install the porous pavers and then add the gravel or aggregate by filling up the holes and adding a couple of inches above that. Porous pavers should be installed after all major earth moving activity is completed. You don't want runoff and eroded soil clogging the porous pavers since that would not allow it to drain properly.

You can use a porous paving system on driveway with slopes not greater than 5-7 percent. Also, plan on replenishing some of the gravel every 8 years and filling in low spots.

Other uses for Porous Pavers
Aside from driveways of homes and small businesses, gravel walks may be also ideal for garden walkways, trails and other areas where carts or light equipment must travel. The same benefits accrue and gravel can be an inexpensive substitute for more expensive flagstone and concrete walkways.

Grass Porous Pavers
In addition to the gravel porous pavers, there are grass porous pavers. They work the same way and allow water to permeate into the soil. Grass grows through it. With grass porous pavers, there is no need to nail them to the base. You then fill the holes with sand and put sod above that layers. The root system of the grass will keep it in place.

Once the grass comes up you wont be able to tell the difference between it and other areas of your lawn. Just water the grass and fertilize it as you normally would. Forget about aerating the grass though. The porous pavers really do that for you.

Finished gravel driveway laid over porous pavers

Resources
Many builders are not familiar with porous pavers. You will find that landscapers are though.

Comments

The manufacturer of Geoblock and Geoblock 2 is Presto Products Company. Their website is www.prestogeo.com. Click on Porous pavement systems on the left hand size of the home page. There is technical and installation information, and also a link to find the distributor in your area.

Hi

I own a 36 unit apartment complex in AZ. My asphalt needs replacing and the lot has some drainage issues. I would like to go with a porous paving medium, but I'm not sure if Geoblock would stand up to the city garbage truck that comes in 3x week to empty our dumpster.
Any ideas?

Thanks!
Joyce

First, what a great idea. You'd really be doing something good for the environment. Check with your local city or county officials, you may qualify for a tax credit, grant or loan since this is an "environmental project." From our research, the Geoblock system should be able to accommodate that garbage truck that you mentioned. Incidently, a garbage truck can weigh 25 tons, about the weight of five elephants. The Geoblock Porous Pavement System provides vehicular and pedestrian load support over grass areas while protecting the grass from the harmful effects of the traffic. The system has four major components once fully developed. The components are (1) the Geoblock unit, (2) the base support soil, (3) the selected topsoil infill and (4) the selected vegetation. Both the Geoblock unit and the base support soil work together to support the imposed loading. See Figure 1 in http://www.tarsu.com/pdf/geoblock_teknik_ayrinti.pdf [PDF] Also the article that provides a nic overview of geblock at http://products.construction.com/Manufacturer/Presto-Products-Co.-NST2544/overview Suggest you contact Presto Products Toll-Free: (800) 548-3424 for the name of companies in your area who can install the system. Presto Products Company - Geosystems® P.O. Box 2399 670 N. Perkins Street Appleton, WI 54912-2399 Tel: (920) 738-1336 Fax: (920) 738-1222 Toll-Free Fax: (800) 535-8221 Web site: http://www.prestogeo.com Email: info@prestogeo.com

I've always preferred block paved driveways, much less work than gravel. That said yours suits the surroundings very nicely. Cheers, Anthony.

This is awesome! I will have to tell my brother about this. He has a gravel driveway that is a complete mess.
San Diego movers

Anytime we can use something besides an oil-based product (like asphalt) I am all in favor of it.
San Diego moving companies

Hello All

The product in the second and third photo is Gravelpave2 by Invisible Structure. It is made from 100% recycled plastic and comes in rolls (like carpeting).

http://www.gravelpave2.com

Thanks,
David

Hello All,

The product seen in the photos is Gravelpave2 by Invisible Structures. It rolls out nicely for easy installation. It can also support more than a DC10 Jet Airliner, so any street legal vehicle can drive or park on it.

The other nice aspect to Gravelpave2 is it is a flexible system that can move with freeze-thaw patterns and not "pop" up. The flexible rolls come in four colors - black, gray, terra cotta, and tan - to match your gravel fill.

http://www.gravelpave2.com

Thanks

Beside the fact that it looks awesome, the gravel driveways also allow the Earth to breathe and to receive water when it rains. I am proud I have been having such a driveway for a very long time and everybody still loves the way I take care of it, thanks to Easy Saver Rewards!

Those pavers are really interesting, especially the grass porous ones. I wonder if the grass would get damaged by being driven but since they are making them out of recycled plastic it's still good for the environment.

We have some concrete alternatives too but ours are military landing mats and are non-porous.

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