Stone Driveway: Cost, Installation, Pros and Cons

Sure, you could easily associate stone driveways with cobblestones, flagstones, and the like because they really make any driveway look grand and sophisticated. But along these, stone driveways also include crushed stones and loose stones that often go unnoticed.

The rise of stone driveways has been around in any era with its economic and aesthetic value as their main selling point but here, we focus on crushed stone driveways. 

In this post, we narrow down some of the most important information that you should know about stone driveways. From pros and cons, to installation, costs, and types, this is a comprehensive guide to crushed stone driveways so read on. 

Related: 23 Best Concrete Driveway Ideas and Designs

What is a stone driveway?

There has been a lot of confusion when it comes to the term because of the presence of more refined stone materials like the ones mentioned above.

Stone driveway basically refers to driveways whose surface is made by small or crushed stones entirely. This should not be confused with crushed gravel driveways because this one includes sand, clay, and some concrete aggregates. 

Stone driveway pros and cons

This is one of the most important things that you should know about stone driveways. It might not be for everyone’s driveway given some specific factors, so you must decide, given these pros and cons, if crushed stone is the best material for you. 

Pros

  • Varied options: Depending on the terrain of your driveway, you can choose from different types of crushed stones (from washed to traditional or decorative). You can also choose from a range of crushed stone sizes. 
  • Versatility: While crushed stone driveways are commonly associated to country sides, rural areas, and ranches, it is also a versatile choice for urban and suburban driveways. The fact that it also comes in different shapes, angles, and sizes make it a versatile driveway material choice. 
  • Cost and ease of installation: These are the major upsides of a stone driveway. One, it is the second most inexpensive material next to gravel. Most of all, you just need the right tools and basic skill set to install one on your own. And at a fast rate, for that matter. 
  • Maintenance: Aside from being cheap and easy to install, it is also very low maintenance. All you need to keep it in shape would be to clean off stuck leaves, debris, and other obstructions in between. Blowing the leaves off and basic raking is all you need to do for maintenance. 

Cons

  • Stone displacement: It is quite normal to have stones kicked out from the driveway’s perimeter, but the smaller ones tend to be more displaced with bigger car tires. Sometimes, when the displaced stones get to the lawn, you can have mowing issues too. 
  • Snowplowing: If you are in colder regions where snow piles can become too thick, you must make sure that you are only shoveling just above the surface of the crushed stone driveway or else, you mess up their arrangement. 

Stone driveway cost

As have been mentioned, stone driveway is one of the most inexpensive driveway constructions out there as it only ranges from $0.40-3 per square foot. A full professional installation of stone driveways (this includes material and labor costs) is estimated to range to up to $200 per 100sq.ft.  

Related: 30 Best Driveway Gate Ideas and Designs

Stone driveway installation

One of the best things about stone driveways is the fact that you can install them DIY. If you want to know how to install stone driveways on your own, refer to the following steps here. 

  1. Measure the driveway. Mark the perimeter using stakes and nylon strings. After this, dig a depth of 8-inches on all sides. 
  2. Pack the dug sides with enough soil for the crushed stones to be laid on. After that, spread the crushed stones uniformly around the perimeter. Check the high spots if it is even and fill gaps with smaller crushed stones. 
  3. As soon as every space is filled, wet the crushed stone driveway using a garden hose. This way, air pockets are released, and the crushed stones are tightened. 
  4. Lastly, compress the crushed stones in place. Resin sealing is optional to keep them tight for the years to come. 

Related: 10 Best Driveway Edging Ideas On A Budget

Stone driveway ideas

Of course, you would not have a context of the things that we have covered here if you do not get to see some stone driveway ideas that you can draw inspiration from. In this case, here are some of the best stone driveway ideas that you can consider for your home. 

Slate and crushed stone

This contemporary and trendy home here features a warm wood exterior and is complemented well by crushed granite stone and slate walkways. It offers a rugged yet earthy look which upscales the property’s curb appeal

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This is another idea for crushed granite stones that you can opt for. It has a smoother texture, less angled and features finer crushed stones alongside white slates working as gapped edging and walkways at the same time. 

English manor style

If you want to invoke the classic, outskirts vibe of English manors, you can use a combination of 1-2-inches of natural stones like granite, white marble, gneiss, and limestone.

This one features a stone driveway that leads up to the front door. The transition is made of stone pavers, giving off a uniform look. 

Another English style stone driveway would be this one, featuring the contrast of white angled marble chips at 2-3-inches and brick edging. The color of the crushed marble brightens the entire area since it extends up to the main door too. 

Related: Brick Driveway: Cost, Installation, Pros and Cons

Crushed stones and parking grid

If you are in a muddy location and still insist on having a crushed stone driveway, incorporating a parking grid on top of the landscape fabric is a good idea.

This way, the stones are kept intact within the driveway and of course, to provide natural irrigation to prevent water puddling. 

Natural edging

This neat and classic looking driveway here features small river rocks on a contrast of perfectly mowed natural edging out of the turf grass.

The symmetry and color contrast of these two simple elements create a very dainty look to the driveway as it complements well the natural stone design of the home. 

River rock driveway

The many colors of river rocks and their smooth surface make them one of the best crushed stone driveway materials out there. You can line them in between stone paver or concrete barriers like this one here to create a modern and minimalist take on stone driveways. 

Or you can also bind the river rocks with resin to create a glossy, polished looking courtyard style driveway that extends to the front door or porch like this one here. 

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For a modern and rustic flair, this one here features larger river rocks and wood stepping slates for the driveway. With the warm wood exterior of the home, this is the complete fusion of Asian zen and modern rustic style. 

For a geometric take, you can use stone pavers to work as parking grids or just to add a decorative edge to your river rock driveway. This one features finer river rocks that are held in by stone pavers. All in all, the contrast creates a polished and bound look. 

Concrete paver edging

This suburban home features a medium sized driveway composed of crushed cobblestone and limestone and edged with flat concrete pavers which serve as a walkway around the home. The crushed stones create a warm tone for the driveway and is a perfect choice for a stone house like this one here. 

This curved, small driveway here also took advantage of pure crushed limestones edged with concrete pavers too. Its simple and open design is advantageous in adding curb appeal to suburban homes like this one. 

This one here is another simple open courtyard style but instead of limestones, it made use of crushed bluestones. A simple stone raised edging which is also used as a low planter offers the green and live contrast to this raw and simple looking open driveway. 

Speaking of open driveways and raised stone edging to serve as planters too, here is another classic style made of finer crushed natural stones such as limestone, bluestones, and granite. The towering trees provide a shade canopy reminiscent of southern driveways. 

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Related: 25+ Best Driveway Lighting Ideas and Designs

How to edge a stone driveway

Stone driveways can do well in both flat and raised edging. More than ever, stone driveways that rely on crushed stones need a protective edge to ensure that the stones are in place. Here are some of the best stone driveway edges that you should consider. 

  • Concrete blocks
  • Plants, grass, or flowering plants
  • Stone pavers
  • Bricks
  • Wood

Type of stone for driveway

Here comes the tricky part because when we talk of type of stones for driveways, we are basically also talking about types of gravel (which makes sense because crushed stone can also be gravel depending on how fine it is crushed). Hence, here are your options when it comes to the types of stone for driveway. 

  • River rock
  • Quarry stone
  • Clean stone
  • Marble chips
  • Jersey Shore
  • Granite, limestone, sandstone, basalt, gneiss, slate

Crushed stone vs gravel driveway

Crushed stone and gravel are two of the most inexpensive materials for driveways. Their starkest difference is that crushed stone is manmade while gravel is not. A lot of people mistaken these two as peas in a pod but there are significant differences between them. 

On one hand, crushed stone and gravel are both derived from the mixed or single crushing of natural stones. However, crushed stone is more angled, and has more variations when it comes to shape and sizes, making it a more preferred residential driveway material. When it comes to cost, crushed stones are a bit more expensive than gravel. 

In contrast, gravel is made naturally due to erosion, when large natural rocks become reduced to finer rocks over time. Compared to crushed stone, it has a smoother surface and is often round. It is lighter than crushed stone and is often used as binding agent in construction. Since it also comes in many sizes, some types of gravel are used in driveways and landscaping. 

Related: 19+ Types Of Gravel For Driveways and Landscaping

Asphalt vs stone driveway

Believe it or not, the argument about asphalt vs stone driveways has been going on for years. In terms of appearance, the difference between asphalt and stone driveway is very emphasized. But since we are talking about their performance as driveway materials, we break down their pros and cons relative to each other. 

AsphaltStone driveway
Sleek, black appearance. Comes in more color, size, and shape ranges. 
Lasts for 30-50 years. Needs regular stone replenishment to last. 
Higher maintenance requirements (needs sealing regularly). Low maintenance (does not require sealing). 
Can melt in high heat. Does not melt in high heat and remains durable in frost. 
More expensive compared to stone driveways. Inexpensive driveway material (most inexpensive next to gravel). 

Related: Sealing Asphalt Driveway Pros And Cons

Crushed stone driveway maintenance

As have been once mentioned, crushed stone driveways are easy to maintain. But to give you a visual clue of what to do in maintenance and upkeep, here are some maintenance tips to consider. 

  • Regular raking is a must. This is specifically important after heavy rains, winds, and after summer or fall. 
  • Improve drainage. Water puddles wash the smaller crushed stones away so make sure that you have good drainage down the driveway. 
  • Fill potholes. Once you notice potholes, make the initiative to refill it with more crushed stones to avoid weak points in the driveway. 
  • Replenish stones. It is recommended that crushed stones in the driveway be replenished annually or after two years. 
  • Extra care on snow. Best leave at least 1-2-inches of snow during winter so that you would not over plow the surface. 

FAQs

Other than these stone driveway essentials, there is also other notable information about setting up and maintaining a stone driveway that you should know about. Hence, here are stone driveway FAQs which you can use as reference should you intend to install a stone driveway for your home. 

How much stone do I need for my driveway?

This one depends on your desired driveway area. For old school calculation, you need to multiply the length with the width of the space to get the square footage of the driveway. After that, divide it with the coverage area per ton of stone. To get the figure for the coverage area per ton, you need to decide on the size of the stone to be used for the driveway. 

As per standard, 1-3-inches of stone is divided to 80 sq.ft. coverage area per ton while 4-8-inches would be divided at 60 sq.ft. coverage area per ton. If you do not want to go through the hassle of manual measurement, you can always find an online calculator to do the job for you.

How deep should a crushed stone driveway be?

According to leading online contracting services, stone driveways should be filled with 4-6-inches of stone. This consequently means that the driveway should be at least 12-16-inches deep. This way, full coverage is given, and no potholes are created. It is also sturdy enough for larger vehicle loads and more. 

How to repair a stone driveway after a snow plow?

There is not much to repair when a stone driveway is damaged after a snowplow. Most often than not, the damage would range from deep potholes or displaced stones. When this happens, the main thing that you can do is to rake the potholes to make an even ground and replenish the displaced stones. 

Best snowblower for stone driveway

Snowblowers are good interventions in managing the possible damage of snow plowing. If you are considering having one, the following snowblowers are the highest rated ones out there and you might want to consider them. 

How to get rid of weeds in stone driveway?

Because of moist and soil nutrients, weeds tend to thrive even in stone driveways. Of course, the most immediate way would be to use potent weed killers. But if you want to veer away from chemicals, there are also equally potent yet less abrasive solutions to spray on the weeds and it would be the following:

  • White vinegar, liquid detergent, and water solution
  • Pulling weeds by the root
  • Boiling water
  • Hot water and salt solution

Related: How to Control Weeds in a Crushed Stone Pathway

How long should a paving stone driveway last?

The use of stone pavers has always been the prime choice when it comes to durability and longevity. At best, paving stone driveways when properly installed and maintained well could last from 25-50 years. 

What is the best size of crushed stone for driveways? 

Since crushed stones come in various shapes and sizes, you have to choose the most appropriate ones for surfaces that are safe for driving and also promote good drainage at the same time. To these ends, the best size of crushed stone for driveways would be at 3/8-inches, ¾-inches and 5/8-inches. 

Is crushed asphalt cheaper than crushed stone?

A lot of people would say that they are relatively comparable when it comes to cost but really, crushed stone is way cheaper than crushed asphalt. The latter starts at $2 while crushed stones start at $0.40. That is a huge difference when you are computing material costs for driveways. 

Do crushed stones need to be compacted? 

This is a common question asked when it comes to crushed stones and the proper answer is no for driveways. For one, they are at just 12-16-inches in depth. You only need to compact crushed stones in deeper layers. Another is that this requires skilled labor and a lot of time. If you are working on a small to medium size driveway, it is not a practical thing to do. 

How do I re-channel water runoff from a stone driveway?

While stones are already natural drainages on their own, you should still install French drains in your driveway or have a central drainage at the end that connects to the street drain. With these, you can prevent water puddling in your driveway and lessens the erosion of your crushed stones. 

Can I cover a stone driveway with resin?

Yes. If you want a glossy, polished look for your stone driveway, you can cover the crushed stones with resin. At an average, one square meter of resin would cost you $50 and up, excluding labor and material costs.

If you are considering this, note that when it is damaged, you would have to change the whole thing because you cannot just replenish the stones immediately as they are already bound and hardened by the resin. 

Nonetheless, the advantage to covering your stone driveway with resin is that you would not have to worry about the onset of weeds in the driveway ever again. 

What to put under a stone driveway?

Still the best item to put under a stone driveway would be a heavy-duty landscape fabric with ground grid. Having this underneath reduces ruts as well as potholes because the ground grid prevents the migration of crushed stones even at high impact driving.

Putting a landscape fabric underneath the stone driveway also lessens the frequency of having to replenish the stones through the years. 

Related: Tar And Chip Driveway: Cost, Pros and Cons

Conclusion

When it comes to driveway materials, you can have a range of options to choose from. But among these driveway materials, crushed stone is simply one of the best choices because of its aesthetic appeal, workability, low maintenance and affordability. Much can be said about stone driveways, but they should not be confused with stone pavers, and gravel driveways. 

With all things considered, the choice of having a stone driveway still relies on how beneficial it is to you as a homeowner in consideration to cost, style, climate conditions, and needed upkeep of stone driveways. If you think it would be a good choice for you, there should be no reason not to choose a stone driveway for your home.

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