Even though we’ve left winter far behind, your driveway may still be suffering its effects. To keep your gravel driveway maintained and smooth, follow these tips.
1. Rake Regularly
Between shifts in the weather and vehicles regularly traversing the surface, the gravel in your driveway can become displaced — especially where your tire tracks go. Regularly raking, whether with a hand rake or gravel rake that you pull with a piece of equipment, will keep the stones uniform and looking smooth and nice.
2. Keep Debris Off the Driveway
Whether it is sticks, leaves, or litter, debris will inevitably find its way to your driveway. So, when you see any debris, stop and pick it up. This will keep too much from piling up and causing water to sit on the surface of, or sinking into, the stones, which could cause potholes and vegetation to grow. Regular raking will keep debris off too.
3. Remove Vegetation
Weeds usually grow through the gravel where it is least driven on, like the center and the edges. You can remove weeds the old-fashioned way (pulling them), or you can spray the driveway with a chemical weed killer. Using a chemical weed killer isn’t always permanent, and dead vegetation can become organic material under the gravel, creating a haven for more weeds to flourish. Using the serrated blade on a grader also works well to break up vegetation that is growing up through your gravel.
4. Remove Potholes
Potholes can form in any climate. If you live in an area where temperatures become extremely cold, freezing and thawing will cause the gravel to break up. If you live in a warmer climate, extreme heat can do the same thing. Over time, driving on a vulnerable area will displace the stones, thereby causing a pothole.
When eliminating potholes, it is important that you take the extra time to grade out their entire depth. If you just fill them in with stones, the potholes will reappear the next time you have any substantial inclement weather. Make sure the grader you use is heavy duty with angled blades. The weight of the grader will allow you to cut the driveway more aggressively, and the angled blades will prevent your grader from chattering and creating a washboard effect, especially if you are trying to grade harder-packed materials.
5. Add Stones Every Few Years
Plan on adding a new layer of stones about every two years at a depth of 1–2”. Use a grader that offers 4” of adjustment (2” above grade to 2” below grade) so you can easily spread the desired depth onto your driveway in one pass. We recommend grading your driveway to the correct slope before adding stone, which will allow you to be more efficient and spread more evenly.
By following these tips, you will keep your gravel driveway looking and performing nicely for decades to come. For more information on Roadrunner tractor grading blades or skid-steer graders, visit our products page or contact us!