The Stone-Cold Truth: Here’s How Much Decomposed Granite Costs

Katy Willis
Written by Katy Willis
Updated August 1, 2022
A patio with a relaxing dog and decomposed granite laid on the ground
Photo: Hugo / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • The average cost of decomposed granite is $125 to $300 per 400 square feet.

  • Material, delivery, and installation affect the total cost.

  • Decomposed granite is available in several styles that all vary in price.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Decomposed granite is a beautiful, affordable hardscaping option for a variety of building projects. If you’ve been thinking about building a driveway or patio with this material, you should figure out how much of it you’ll need, so you can budget. The cost of building a small patio can be as little as $20 if you bring the decomposed granite home and install it yourself. The cost to have a professional build a larger driveway can cost $1,425 or more.

Minimum CostNational Average costMaximum Cost
$20$200$1,400

Decomposed Granite Prices

How much you’ll pay for decomposed granite—often abbreviated as simply DG—will vary based on several factors. The type of DG (often determined by the size of the individual particles), the quality of the granite, and the color of the natural stone all affect the price. 

Size of Particles

Generally, decomposed granite with smaller particles is less expensive than decomposed granite with larger pieces. For example, red, blue, or gray decomposed granite with particles measuring about 3/8 inch typically costs $60 per ton (or 0.74 cubic yards).

Color

The color of the decomposed granite generally doesn’t change the price of the material. Red, blue, and gray decomposed granite all cost around $60 per ton.

Treated With Stabilizer

You can go a step further and buy DG that has been treated with a stabilizer to help it stay in place and last longer. The stabilizing agent—usually a liquid-bonding polymer agent—at least doubles the cost of decomposed granite. 

For instance, (get ready for some math) when considering the same 3/8-inch grade as the previous example, you’ll pay $185 per ton (or 0.74 cubic yards) when you choose the stabilized version.

Quality

Unstabilized decomposed granite does not contain binders or additives, making it more susceptible to storm run-off, wind, and impact erosion. Though you’ll pay at least half the cost for unstabilized DG, you’ll end up spending more on replacing sections of your landscape that became eroded over time. 

This lower-quality DG is also more likely to get stuck on shoes as you walk on your pathway or patio, where it can accidentally come inside and scratch wood flooring. 

Choose a higher quality, stabilized DG for better stability and fewer maintenance costs in the long run.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Decomposed Granite?

A worker leveling decomposed granite on a patio
Photo: Hoda Bogdan / Adobe Stock

The cost to install decomposed granite will vary based on your project. At the very least, you’ll need to account for the cost of the material itself. In most cases, you’ll also need to add in delivery and installation costs.

Delivery

Because decomposed granite is heavy—one cubic yard weighs well over a ton—it’s unlikely you’ll be able to bring it home yourself (but if you do, nice flex!) This means you’ll need to pay delivery costs to get the DG from the quarry to your building site.

The average delivery cost for DG is $50 to $75 per load. This will vary depending on how much decomposed granite you buy and how far the delivery driver needs to travel.

Labor

On average, you can expect to pay $70 to $80 per hour for professional installation of your decomposed granite. 

However, most local gravel driveway installers won’t charge per the hour. Instead, they determine how long it will take to complete your project and then quote you a flat rate. The only time you may see a quote per hour is when you already have the decomposed gravel on the premises and just need installation services.

When considering labor costs, you may also need to think about site preparation. For example, if you’re installing a new driveway in an area that’s currently overgrown, you need to have that spot cleared and excavated. This could include removing trees and grading uneven terrain.

Assuming you’re building a driveway measuring 10-feet wide by 50-feet long, you could pay $1,500 to $2,000 to level and grade the area. If you need to remove trees, you might pay an extra $200 to $500, based on how many trees you have.

Cost to Install Decomposed Granite by Project

Here are a few examples of what you may pay for different projects. Keep in mind these prices only include materials or materials, delivery, and installation. Site preparation, such as removing trees or grading uneven terrain, is not included. 

The cost of excavation can add several hundred to several thousand dollars to your project cost.

Patio

Patios aren’t designed to hold a lot of weight—it’s mostly people enjoying the outdoors (oh, and furniture to relax in). As such, you only require a depth of 2.5 inches when installing decomposed granite. 

Assuming you’re building a patio measuring 10-by-10 feet, you’ll pay $20 on the lower end for materials alone and $128 for materials, delivery, and installation.

Walkway

As walkways see a lot of foot traffic, it’s best to build them with a minimum depth of 3 inches. Assuming you’re building a walkway measuring 4-by-50 feet, you’ll pay $50 on the lower end for materials alone and $300 for materials, delivery, and installation.

Driveway

Driveways must support a lot of weight, most of it coming from vehicles. To stay safe and ensure the best results, you should build a driveway with a minimum depth of 6 inches. 

Assuming you’re building a driveway measuring 20-by-24 feet, you’ll pay $230 on the lower end for materials alone and $1,425 on the higher end for materials, delivery, and installation.

Cost to Install Decomposed Granite Yourself

Installing decomposed granite yourself will save you anywhere between $70 and $80 per hour for the labor itself. The more labor-intensive your project, the more you’ll save in the long run. 

At the same time, if you need to rent tools for the installation, you might need to tack on additional fees in your total project cost. For example, renting a vibratory plate compactor to pack the gravel will cost around $100 per day.  

DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

Installing decomposed granite yourself may sound like an easy project—after all, all you have to do is dump the crushed granite and then spread it around, right?

The truth is, it’s not that easy. Even for simpler jobs, like building a small 10-by-10-foot patio, you’ll have to spend hours preparing the site, spreading the DG, compacting the DG, and making sure that everything is level.

This is back-breaking work if you intend to do it solely by hand with shovels and wheelbarrows. It’s a more expensive venture if you intend to rent heavy equipment to clear land, spread decomposed gravel, and compact the stone.

While you will save the $70 to $80 per hour that gravel installers typically charge, you’ll likely spend more time on the project than a pro would. On top of that, you may lack the skills to properly prepare the site or finish the project. Ending up with an uneven walkway, for example, will be a nuisance at the least and a fall risk at its worst.

How to Save Money When Buying Decomposed Granite

Choose a Color That’s Abundant Locally

Decomposed granite is available in many different shades. Local quarries will often offer the best prices on locally sourced granite, as there are lower transportation costs associated with mining it. Choosing a shade that’s abundantly available locally will cost less than importing a color that may come from many miles away.

Buy All Your Decomposed Granite at the Same Time

As most quarries charge a flat rate for delivery based on your location, it makes the most financial sense to buy all the decomposed granite you’ll need for your various projects at the same time. When you do this, you’ll avoid having to pay multiple delivery fees for smaller loads.

Prep Your Area Before Your DG Delivery

If you’re hiring a professional installer for your decomposed granite, you can save a bit of money by taking on a bit of the labor yourself. Specifically, prepping your building site could be a job that requires no particular experience and no more equipment than what you already have in your shed.

Clearing bushes, cutting down small trees, and removing other obstacles using chainsaws, rakes, and wheelbarrows can save you at least a couple of labor hours at $70 to $80 per hour.

Decomposed Granite Questions and Answers

How deep should decomposed granite be?

The depth of your decomposed granite depends on its intended use. For example, driveways that need to support a lot of weight should be built at a depth of no less than 6 inches. Walkways that won’t see a lot of weight but lots of foot traffic should be built at a depth of 3 inches, while patios are safe at a depth of 2 to 2.5 inches.

How do I figure out how much decomposed granite I need?

To determine how much decomposed granite you need for your project, you need to first figure out the square footage of the surface. After that, you need to decide how deep the granite will go. Once you have these figures, you can use an online calculator to convert these measurements to cubic feet.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.