How Much Does a Gravel Driveway Cost?

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated January 21, 2022
gravel driveway leading up to house and garage with stone siding and blue sky in background
RachelDewis/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Driveway gravel prices usually fall between $1.25 and $1.80 per square foot, including basic installation

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There’s something nostalgic about crackling gravel beneath your tires, and the fact that it makes a beautiful, wallet-friendly paving material only sweetens the deal. The average gravel driveway cost for a 16-by-30-foot driveway is about $1,500, while smaller driveways can go for as little as $300. Your final cost for a gravel driveway depends on the type of gravel, how much you need, the state of the landscape, and labor costs.

How Much Does a Gravel Driveway Cost per Square Foot?

Driveway gravel prices generally go for around $1.25 to $1.80 per square foot, including the cost of equipment and professional installation. Considering the cost of concrete driveways, which go for about $4 to $15 per square foot, or the cost of asphalt driveways at $7 to $15 per square foot, it’s no wonder some homeowners prefer this budget-friendly option. Just be sure to keep your shoes on though, as gravel doesn’t offer the same smooth surface for bare feet.

Depending on the type of material you’re looking for, there are a few outliers in terms of pricing. Here is the average gravel cost per square foot for these popular varieties:

  • Gravel: $1 per sq. ft.

  • Rock base: $0.95 per sq. ft.

  • Pebbles: $1.80 per sq. ft.

  • Crushed stone/limestone: $2.30 per sq. ft.

  • Crushed shells: $0.90 per sq. ft.

  • Caliche: $0.75 per sq. ft.

Again, the above figures also account for basic equipment and labor costs. Prices will vary depending on where you get the materials, as well as the units the business sells them in. For example, some sell in units of 100 square feet, while others go by cubic yard. You might get bulk discounts if you purchase driveway gravel at a cost per ton. 

For the most accurate estimate, contact a gravel driveway company near you.

Gravel Driveway Cost Estimator

Here are some cost estimates for a 20-foot-long driveway, assuming a width of 12 feet per vehicle:

  • 1-car (240 sq. ft.): $300–$432

  • 2-car (480 sq. ft.): $600–$864

  • 4-car (960 sq. ft.): $1,200–$1,728

Here are gravel driveways costs for a 50-foot-long driveway:

  • 1-car (600 sq. ft.): $750–$1,080

  • 2-car (1,200 sq. ft.): $1,500–$2,160

  • 4-car (2,400 sq. ft.): $3,000–$4,320

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Gravel Driveway Yourself?

Installing a gravel driveway entails more than just pouring the rocks into place, but it’s still a doable DIY for those willing to take it on. 

Before we go any further, it’s important to note that the weight of gravel is nothing to kick rocks at. Eat a good breakfast and stretch beforehand, because you’re in for some heavy lifting. Your gravel delivery truck might be able to help by laying the rocks down the length of your driveway rather than just leaving a large pile. It never hurts to ask.

Here are the basic supplies you need, along with their average prices:

  • Landscape stakes: $10

  • Landscaping fabric: $120

  • Twine: $3

  • Work gloves: $15

  • Wheelbarrow: $60

  • Shovel: $20

  • Hoe: $20

  • Steel rake: $15

Total: $263

Prior to laying down your fabric and gravel, you’ll need to dig up any grass and topsoil covering the area. You may be able to handle a small area with a shovel and wheelbarrow, but ideally you’ll rent a backhoe or excavator for about $350 per day.

You’ll also want to rent a mechanical compactor for about $100 per day to settle the stones into place. If you’ve got a heavy truck to repeatedly drive over the stones, you might get away with that, but the compactor will give you the best results.

Gravel Driveway Cost Breakdown

The cost of a gravel driveway is pretty simple: you’ve got your rock base, the gravel itself, and labor prices to consider. If you’re forgoing the labor, see the section above for additional supply and equipment costs.

Rock Base Price

You’ll spend about $0.65 per square foot for the rock base, which is the first layer that gets laid before the actual gravel. This is usually around $38 for a cubic yard or about $46 for a ton.

Driveway Gravel Prices

Driveway rock prices are typically between $0.40 and $2 per square foot for materials alone. Because of supply and demand in the mineral market, prices can fluctuate.

Here are average prices for the different types:

  • Gravel: $0.70 per sq. ft.

  • Crushed stone/limestone: $2 per sq. ft.

  • Crushed shells: $0.60 per sq. ft.

  • Rock pebbles (river rocks): $1.50 per sq. ft.

  • Crusher run: $0.40 per sq. ft.

  • Caliche: $0.45 per sq. ft.

Cost to Install a Gravel Driveway Professionally

The labor for your gravel driveway install typically goes for about $30 per hour. Of course, this cost might vary based on the construction market, where you live, and how complex the job is.

gravel driveway lined with lots of plants and shrubbery and a red brick house and white door on the other side
PaulMaguire/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

How Much Does a Gravel Driveway Cost by Type?

Driveway gravel prices vary by type, and each has its own unique look and texture. Below are the average prices for some of the most popular kinds.

Steel Slag Driveway Cost

Steel slag costs about $24 per ton. This steel byproduct tends to expand in humidity, so it’s best suited for drier climates.

Crush-and-Run Driveway Cost

A crush-and-run driveway, also called a crusher run, is one of the most affordable options at about $0.40 per square foot. You might also pay $20 per cubic yard or around $28 per ton.

Limestone/Crushed Rock Driveway Cost

The most expensive option, crushed limestone or crushed stone might be as much as $55 per cubic yard or $2 per cubic foot. These come in a variety of colors and styles all at varying price tags, so your cost depends on your pick.

Pea Gravel Driveway Cost

Pea gravel prices generally go for between $15 and $75 per cubic yard. These little pea-shaped stones are most popular in landscaping, but they are an option for gravel driveways as well.

River Rock (Rock Pebble) Driveway Price

Rock pebbles, aka river rocks, cost about $1.50 per square foot and about $86 per cubic yard, or about $100 per ton. These are another pricier option, but they often have beautiful color variations. As an added bonus, rock pebbles have a smooth surface, making them much more foot-friendly than other contenders.

Caliche Driveway Cost

Caliche costs about $0.45 per square foot or $25 per cubic yard. A ton goes for around $32. This sedimentary rock is mostly found in the southwest and other arid climates, where it’s best suited.

Cost of a Crushed Shell Driveway

Crushed shells typically run for about $0.60 per square foot or $40 per cubic yard. You might also pay around $50 per ton. They’re a great way to bring the beach to your home if you’re missing your last vacation.

Steel Slag Driveway Cost

Steel slag costs about $24 per ton. This steel byproduct tends to expand in humidity, so it’s best suited for drier climates.

What Factors Influence the Cost of a Gravel Driveway?

A few key variables come into play when determining your gravel driveway cost. These include:

  • Driveway gravel prices

  • Varying prices on the mineral market

  • Labor costs

  • State of the terrain (land clearing will cost extra)

FAQs

How deep should a gravel driveway be?

The depth of your gravel will vary per project, but a good rule of thumb is to make sure it’s at least 4 to 6 inches deep.

How do you figure out how much gravel you need?

Multiply your driveway’s length by width by the depth of the gravel (in feet). For gravel depth, convert to a decimal (e.g. 4 inches is 0.33 feet). This will give you the cubic feet of material that you need. 

If you’re looking for cubic yards, divide that above number by 27.

How do you reduce dust coming up from your gravel driveway?

It’s certainly a less desirable feature, but there are ways to reduce dust on your gravel driveway. You might enjoy more dust-free days by giving your driveway some sprinkler time (but not too much—you don’t want to create standing water). Reducing your vehicle’s speed might kick up a lot less material as well. In any case, proper installation and maintenance are the best ways to keep your gravel driveway looking rock star.

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