How much gravel do I need?

destanyMay 20, 2006

Hello, I'm hoping that I can give enough information to get some advice? I started this landscaping project this week, and now I'm stuck.

This spot below my deck has been giving me fits since I moved into this house three years ago. The area beneath the deck was following the same grade as the areas up on the sides, you can see it's rather sloped. The previous HO had trouble with weeds, so he put down a square border with brick (level to the ground at the bottom), covered with weed tarp and filled in with gravel.

Obviously, the idea wasn't thought through. Any amount of rain, or kids playing tag and running through it, caused the gravel to follow the natural course of gravity and move down the slope, leaving pockets of weed tarp showing - and a mess of gravel in the lawn. I finally decided to fix it, but have like, NO money.

So, I got all of these natural stones from the lower wooded portion of my yard that is just littered with them and built up a 10" high wall. I then removed the gravel to save for later, pulled up the weed tarp and leveled the ground. It's not completely level, I left a very slight grade to allow the water to run away from the house. But it is flat enough now, the gravel should stay in place.

I replaced the weed tarp and gravel, but wouldn't you know it? There's not enough gravel left! I took some photos, I'm hoping this gives a good indication of my area. I should add, that the entire rectangular section is about 10' x 20'. The right side in the photo is fine, there's enough gravel there. The left side has much tarp still showing.

The gravel I need to replace with is 60$ a ton... I'm hoping I can get away with half a ton? I have looked and looked, but can't get a good idea of what a half ton of gravel looks like.

So for you experts, do you think that will be fine? The only other alternative is to buy the cheap fill gravel (ugly stuff) and try and mix it in with the river rock gravel...

Thanks in advance for any help!

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saypoint(6b CT)

Well, that was easy. I googled "gravel calculator" and got this.

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 8:12AM
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Yippie! Thanks!

I just plugged in my measurements and came up with "0.4 yards; 0.5 tons". Which is exactly what I was hoping. Thanks for that!

Hopefully next year I can put some plants in and not have the big square box of rocks, but at least I've solved my problem and won't have to spend all summer scooping gravel and putting it back in. This yard has had to deal with so much poor planning and bad landscaping, I am slowly making progress.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 8:36AM
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saypoint(6b CT)

I wouldn't use the rocks at all, though you didn't ask. I'd remove the gravel and rocks and mulch it, then plant groundcover that will tolerate the conditions to keep weeds down. Looks a lot better too.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 9:17AM
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Thanks for the advice!

Actually, next year I'm planning on turning it into a rock garden sort of thing, and bringing down the landscaping to the pond area.

As I said, this yard needs tons of work and I've had it planned out since I first looked at the yard.

You can see the area beneath the tree that refuses to grow grass because of rain run-off from the street... I'm going to put in a flowering bush (I'm considering lilacs) that will go around from the side of the house and behind the tree to screen off the neighbors house and driveway. I'd like a little extra privacy from that guy.
Plus, it will help to divert the rain somewhat away from the bald section, so I can plant. I'll curve the corner of the "rock box" down as well, and connect it to the pond area. Not sure yet on exactly how I want to do this, but I will see.

I'll also bring the tall flowering shrubbery down behind the pond to connect to another coniferous bush that is already there, that brings it into the woods that is the lower part of my backyard.

That's the plan, at least for the right side of the yard. We have a very large driveway/patio back here also, that has a row of roses at the backside next to the woods and that will be conitinued and eventually have a rectangular mulched bed around it.

If you see any problems with this idea, please let me know!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 1:43PM
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saypoint(6b CT)

It looks awfully shady between the deck and pond for lilacs, check how much sun it gets before you choose a shrub.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 1:45PM
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Yeah, that's what I was thinking, I will have to give a great deal of thought before I choose what bush to plant. I only want something tall and thin with a little bit of color.

Thanks for the reply!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 2:11PM
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We have your same situation with a high deck and nothing but mud underneath and a huge sloped yard from there. We built another deck underneath the deck. I figured nothing was going to grow underneath it because it didn't get enough rain even from the runoff of the deck above it. Another thought for you to put lattice work around it with a door and use it for storage.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 10:28AM
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If it were me, I would LOVE a place for bikes and so forth to get them out of the garage but also out of the rain. I wouldn't plant there at all, but keep it as it is and put up large trellises, from the edge of the deck down, on the front and the right side, then plant wonderful things to vine up them. (Keeping the left side open for access)


    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 7:33PM
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Thankyou both for your suggestions!

We have the garage right next to the bottom of the deck, it's so weird to have the garage in the back, but that's what they did. So I don't really need to think of storage. Plus, I don't want people traipsing in and out of there.
I am thinking of putting a latice or something similar on the far right side, because there is a mound of soil where grass doesn't grow. I'm going to use the same natural stone to build up a bed and put a climbing rose. Either Ice Berg or Climbing Peace...

I will have to think further about what I can do with this space to make it more decorative, but I don't want to screen it all off.

Perhaps I can find a way to screen off part of it though, but I do hope to use natural materials to do this, plants or stones. Because of the woods (which includes a creek), I want things to look neat, tidy and deliberate, but still fairly natural.

It does need to connect in some way with the pond though, or else it looks like a pond out it the middle of the lawn, sort of floating there.
But this is what the pond looked like a year ago!

I still can't imagine why they put that there, but that is the reason for the pond. I am trying to make everything look purposeful and not "hodgepodge-make-it-up-as-I-go".

I really appreciate your input, and further reccomendations are appreciated!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 9:02AM
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My driveway is 125x14 1750 sq feet I want to make it 4 inches thick how much do I need and Can one do it yourself if I am not a handy man?


    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 8:54PM
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Greg, you just want to surface your drive with 4" of crushed gravel? If so, that's going to take about 21.5 cubic yards. Yes, you can do it yourself, but that's a lot of gravel to move around and level so prepare to exert some serious elbow grease. If having the gravel delivered (highly recommended), have them dump it about midway up the drive, unless they can make several dumps along the length.

And for obtaining the best surface for the drive and not generating immediate ruts, I'd suggesting compacting the gravel. You can rent a plate compactor at most rental equipment outlets.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 9:05PM
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