Shaping the surface of a gravel lane, road, or driveway to keep water from standing on it is the biggest maintenance concern for most home and landowners. Standing water can lead to gravel erosion and potholes. The solution is crowning, which can be done in four easy steps.

Benefits of Crowning a Gravel Driveway

The “crown” in a gravel driveway is the center high point that runs along its length. There should be a gentle slope going down from each side of the crown to help water run off instead of standing on and soaking through the gravel. The more a surface is sloped, the quicker it will shed water into the areas around it and the less likely it is to become muddy.

Crowning also reduces gravel loss through erosion and prevents potholes from forming, which lessens the need to constantly add new gravel. That saves time and money!

How to Crown Your Gravel Driveway

Even if your gravel driveway or lane was originally constructed with a perfect crown, it will need to be redone from time to time. Snowblowers and plows, rain and snow, and everyday traffic will wear down, flatten, and make the surface uneven.

Because of this, crowning your gravel driveway once or twice a year is highly recommended, depending on how much traffic it receives. Follow these four steps to help you be free from water and erosion worry:

  1. With a tractor or skid-steer grader, make several passes up and down the length of your gravel driveway to break up the existing gravel.
  2. Traverse up one side of the driveway with a grader to pull the gravel to the center, creating a protrusion along the middle of the lane — this will be your crown. Turn around and repeat this activity again but on the opposite side, again raking the gravel toward the center.
    • The ideal crown height is a half inch for every foot of driveway width. For example, a driveway that is ten feet wide should be 2-1/2” higher in the center.
  3. If you notice your gravel looks sparse, fill it in. You may need to add new gravel over the entire length of the driveway, or just over areas where it’s a little thin.
  4. Once the proper pitch is achieved and any needed gravel is in place, make several passes with a roller, tractor, or skid-steer to compact the material.

Best Grader for Crowning

When looking for a grader for crowning and maintaining your gravel driveway or road, purchase the highest-quality grader your budget allows. We recommend the following features:

  • Adjustable depth of cut on either side to easily set and maintain a consistent slope on your driveway
  • Dual blade configuration to eliminate washboarding when grading and windrows of displaced gravel when crowning

Great Graders for Great Results

If you follow the steps above, a cross-cut of the result will look like there is a slight A-shaped peak in the middle of your driveway. This will keep standing water to a minimum and ensure your gravel driveway or lane performs very well for you. If you’re in the market for a new skid-steer grader, check out our options here, and feel free to contact us with any questions.