Gravel driveways evoke earlier times and country settings. They’re less formal than other driveways and work particularly well when there’s some distance between the street and the home or garage. Compared to other, harder surface driveways like concrete or asphalt, gravel driveways have a lower installation cost, and require less maintenance. They don’t crack and heave in cold weather, but do need a little special care when they’re plowed – the plow should be raised a bit to avoid spreading the gravel outside the bounds of the drive.
For all of the above reasons, plus the fact several of the other older homes in our neighborhood have gravel driveways, we’re considering one for our home. It was built in 1900 and apparently never had one, just a small makeshift parking area near the curb.
I’ve been scanning photos on the web, and collecting some ideas.
The two images above show ribbon style gravel driveways that allow for tire tracks and little else, with green space in between. The very top photo also features large pavers along the driveway bands. Both examples depict a relaxed, natural look with no hard edges, so to speak.
Below are two more examples of gravel driveways. The top shows a tall hedge border on one side, and what appears to be brick on the opposite side. The photo below shows a gravel driveway with a cobblestone edging. Both have nice clean lines, and a little more formality. geograph.org.uk Howard Slatkin
Stone walls, and plantings are also nice alternatives for making tidy edges and containing gravel.
For our place, I think we might settle on something a little less formal, and something that maintains as much lawn as possible, along with a little room for perennial borders. Instead of a ribbon design, a single strip of gravel with a wider area in back for parking near the barn might work best. And for edging, brick might be a good option since we plan to use it in the patio area and walkways, and it would help create a unifying element throughout the landscape.
One thing we’ll have to get used to is the crunching sound as tires hit gravel. I think I could get used to that, perhaps even like it.