Gravel, or may be better put, aggregate driveways are a practical and nice feature to your country or rural home driveway needs. A properly built aggregate driveway should last many many years with some simple up keep. Here are 4 tips to get the most life out of your gravel, I mean aggregate driveway.
#1 Trim Up Trees
Tree overhang offers a lot of beauty to a driveway but can also be detrimental to the longevity of your driveway. When it rains, droplets fall on the leaves and come together at certain gutter points on a tree branch. When they fall to the ground, the larger droplets hitting the same spot on a driveway can begin to erode that spot quickly. Once the driveway forms a small pothole, it is just a matter of time before that pot hole opens up into a larger one. What you want to do, if possible, eliminate as much of your tree canopy as possible to prevent these larger droplets from eating away at your driveway. Trim Up your trees as much as you can.
#2 Blow Off Driveway
Keep your driveway blown off of leaves and other organic material. Leaves break down over time and work there way into your aggregate driveway. This will begin to jeopardize your base material as organic matter holds moisture and can begin to turn into mud. The easy solution is to lightly blow off your driveway once a week or as needed.
#3 No Base Material, No Good
When people think of gravel driveways, they typically think or pea gravel or #57 rock or something similar, something that looks like gravel. The nice thing about a washed gravel is it looks clean, isn't dusty, and looks like a gravel driveway. But, clean gravel is gravel that will move side to side and down. A good gravel driveway needs a mixture of material from the size of a grain of sand up to at least .25 inch gravel. With out the base material, that is the mixture of aggregate sizes, the gravel will not lock in place. This causes traction problems and also, over time as the gravel shifts around, it can begin to bury itself. Therefore, whether it is an aggregate base material or a synthetic one, a good gravel driveway needs to be installed on top of or mixed in with the base material. If you choose to go with a clean gravel on top of the base material, consider compaction as this will help embed the gravel into the base, locking it better in place.
Call a tractor guy every quarter or when you notice potholes forming and have your driveway graded out. For starters it will look new again and you will love it, plus your car will thank you by not needing suspension work done prematurely. Also a simple maintenance routine will cause your gravel driveway to last a very long time, probably much longer than your neighbor's concrete driveway that was installed 3 years ago and is already cracking.