A gravel pad for a shed typically costs around $1,400.
This is a fairly easy DIY project if you don’t mind some heavy lifting.
The type of gravel you use, the size of your gravel pad, and the pro you hire are the biggest cost factors for this project.
Building a shed to store your lawn and garden tools, vehicles, and other items that won’t fit in your garage can be an expensive project. But here’s a hack: to save money on your shed storage, opt for a gravel pad instead of a concrete floor.
The typical cost of a gravel pad foundation for a shed is $1,400. Find out if a gravel pad is the right choice for your shed and what to budget for as you plan out the project.
|National Average Cost||Minimum Cost||Maximum Cost|
How Much Does a Gravel Pad Cost Per Square Foot?
Gravel costs about $1.25 to $1.80 per square foot, or around $200 to $288 for an average 10-by-16-foot shed base. You’ll also need to plan for the cost of tools and materials needed to complete the project, as well as the labor cost if you hire someone to complete the project for you.
This is significantly more affordable than the cost of a concrete slab, which is generally $6 per square foot, or nearly $1,000 for a 10-by-16-foot shed base. Plus, if you ever decided you wanted to move the shed or get rid of it in the future, the gravel pad is easy to remove—concrete, not so much.
The gravel pad should be a foot or so larger on all sides than the shed itself so that you can easily set the shed on top.
“There are two ways to look at filling a space with a material such as gravel,” says Bob Tschudi, Angi Expert Review Board member and general contractor in Raleigh, NC. “First, you look at the volume and figure out how much material you need. This should result in the number of cubic yards you need. Then you need to determine the weight of that much material. That will give you the info you need to estimate the cost of material.”
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Gravel Pad Yourself vs. Hiring a Pro?
It costs about $30 per hour to hire a professional to lay gravel for you. But handy homeowners will be happy to know this is a pretty simple DIY project, as long as you don’t mind some digging and heavy lifting.
To start, you must measure out and remove the grass and topsoil from the area you plan to build the shed. Next, roll out landscaping fabric to cover the area you plan to fill with gravel to help avoid future weed growth. Then, place the pressure-treated lumber in a frame around the perimeter, digging out more dirt if necessary to ensure the frame is level all the way around. Secure the boards with lag screws to keep it together.
Once you’re ready for gravel, a local gravel delivery company can either lay the gravel in a pile where you plan to spread it out (if it’s accessible) or in a pile elsewhere on your property. But always have the area prepped and your frame complete before you schedule the gravel delivery so that you’re not wheelbarrowing tons of gravel from one place to the other.
“One trick we use is to ask the gravel delivery person if they can ‘spread’ the material,” Tschudi says. “This means that they will move the dump truck forward very slowly as they dump the material, giving you a head start on distributing the material. We usually give the driver a cash tip for this, as it can save us hours of labor.”
Once the gravel is poured, use a steel rake to spread it out flat and evenly over the gravel pad base. Having a level on hand is necessary to make sure the gravel pad stays level throughout the process and before placing the shed on top.
If you choose to DIY this project, plan on spending several hundred dollars on materials and tools, including:
Wood landscape stakes: $10
Work gloves: $15
Spray paint: $2
Shovel(s): $20 each
Hoe(s): $20 each
Landscaping fabric: $30 for standard 3-by-50-foot roll
Pressure-treated lumber for framing (8): $50 per 16-foot 4-by-6-inch board
8-inch lag screws (4): $3 each
Steel rake(s): $15 each
And don’t forget to factor in the cost of the gravel itself! You might also want to rent a skid steer from a local hardware store to remove the topsoil and carry the gravel, rather than using a shovel and wheelbarrow. It costs between $200 and $400 to rent a skid steer for a day, plus delivery and pickup costs.
What Factors Influence the Cost of a Shed Gravel Pad?
The type of gravel you use and the size of your gravel pad are the biggest cost factors for this project, but whether you decide to DIY or hire a pro and who you decide to hire also impact the total price you’ll pay.
Type of Gravel Material
The type of gravel you use in the gravel pad can impact the cost of your project. For example, pea gravel is the most affordable option, costing as low as $10 per ton, but it’s typically not as sturdy as other options. Crusher run gravel is also affordable, costing just $0.40 per square foot or $28 per ton. Crushed stone is closer to $2 per square foot or $60 per ton. Purchasing colored gravel can increase the price from as much as $20 to $50 per ton.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of average gravel material prices:
|Material||Cost per Square Foot|
|Crushed stone or limestone||$2|
|Rock pebbles (river rocks)||$1.50|
Size of the Gravel Pad
Some gravel sellers will cut you a deal if you purchase gravel in bulk units. If you are building a large shed or also building a gravel driveway, patio, or pathway at the same time, acquiring the gravel this way may save you some money.
Who You Hire
Every contractor is different, so take some time to read reviews online, ask your loved ones if they recommend anyone for the job, and look for a professional stone and gravel company near you that has all the qualifications and trustworthiness you’re looking for in a contractor.
FAQs About the Cost of a Gravel Pad for a Shed
What other projects should I do at the same time?
To take advantage of any deals on ordering gravel in bulk, it can also be beneficial in the long run to work on other gravel projects you plan to complete someday. These may include filling in a gravel driveway, building a patio, constructing a fire pit area, planning a garden walkway, or using stone instead of mulch in your flower beds.
Do I need a permit to build a gravel shed pad?
You don’t typically need a permit to build a shed, but it’s best to check with your local city clerk to make sure before you start the project. Every town, city, and municipality can have different rules when it comes to any home improvement project. Homeowners associations sometimes have restrictions on the materials you can use on your property as well.
How long will it take to build a gravel pad for my shed?
This is a project you can probably complete yourself in a weekend. Even quicker if you hire a pro, who can likely get it done in a few hours. The main variable that might extend the timeline of your project is whether you can schedule a gravel delivery company to deliver the stone around the same time you’re removing the topsoil and framing out the gravel pad area.