Large gravel drive, replace or rejuvenate, how?

We have a big, approximately triangular, area of gravel in front of our five garages (an embarrassingly large number!). I've fought a never ending battle with the weeds on it over the eight years or so we've lived here and we're now at the stage where we have a little time, 'space' and money to tackle the problem more permanently.
Weedkiller is not very effective for a couple of reasons I think. Firstly our land is very sandy so, when it rains, anything in the soil is rapidly washed downwards, not to mention that the gravel is on quite a significant slope so that aids drainage too. Secondly the sorts of weeds we get are pretty tough and well able to survive on the very poor sandy soil around us so a gravel drive is almost their native environment!
The major problems with the gravel drive are:-
Weeds (as described above)
The slope, the gravel has a decided tendency to migrate down the slope and then down the (even steeper) concrete ramp that runs down the to private road/track we live on.
In some places the edging is rather indeterminate, I think the shape has been changed at several times in its history.
The sheer size of the area, it's approximately a right angled triangle with the two shorter sides being around 50ft and 100ft or so I would guess.
The gravel gets everywhere and isn't terribly good for man powered (and/or two wheeled) vehicles.
So, what alternatives are there and/or how can we rejuvenate the drive?
We don't really want to pave the whole area, it would be out of character with the rest of the house. Are there any other things one could try? Is there any way we can try and reduce the way the gravel moves down the slope?
If we decided to stay with gravel then presumably a membrane of some sort is the way to keep the weeds at bay. What sort of equipment would one need to scrape up the existing gravel, lay the membrane and then relay the gravel?
--
Chris Green


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
     snipped-for-privacy@isbd.co.uk writes:

I have a similar problem, although the area isn't as big. In my case, the gravel is covering up what I assume is the foundations of some earlier building on the site. For the weeds, this spring I set myself a task of pulling up about 10 weeds each time I walk from the car to the house. This has kept the main body of the area clear, and I normally have to walk to the the far edge now to find my quote of 10 weeds. In my case, the weed roots usually don't go very deep as they hit the concrete/brick foundations, but sometimes you find one which has come up through a crack in that and is a bugger to get out.
--
Andrew Gabriel

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What about that paving that lets grass grow through? The appearance is grass that you mow, but the support is like paving, they use it for airfield taxiways, car parks that are only used sometimes and the like. The slightly cheaper alternative is sold by screwfix and is like a honeycomb of plastic, the soil goes in the holes and the hexs keep people and cars from crushing it.
mrcheerful
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
mrcheerful

Now that is an idea, thanks, I've seen that in various places and mowing is something we can do. We have a small rotary mower, two strimmers, a Viking sickle bar mower, a Kubota ride on mower and a big topping mower for the tractor! :-)
It might also solve the bits around th house problem too.
--
Chris Green


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@isbd.co.uk wrote:

... and a bit of searching has led me to:-
http://www.pavingexpert.com /
which seems to have just about all the ideas and information I could ever want! :-)
--
Chris Green


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
mrcheerful

By "slightly cheaper alternative is sold by screwfix" do you mean:-
http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?ts 320&idU900
If so that's going to cost around 7000 for our drive, eek!
--
Chris Green


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
... gravel drive area issue...
We had something similar. We edged the area with Railway sleepers, pinned to the ground and to each other using large staples made by the local blacksmith. Works brilliantly - the gravel is contained, the grass marries nicely with the sleepers, and it looks good. Stops SWMBO and her friends driving on the grass when doing turns too... Did take 72 sleepers, though... we have no membrane - just about 50cm of type 1, with compacted gravel on top (about 5 - 10 cm).
Use Roundup (aka. Glyphosate - the generic term) on the drive with a back-pack sprayer. Glyphosate is systemic (taken in by the leaves and goes down to the roots). very very effective. Has the added advantage that it immediate decomposes on contact with soil into inert chemicals, so is not going to kill anything "downstream" (or your pets). Keep it away from direct spraying into ponds, though.
With a big area like yours, I'd buy a 5liter container from an agricultural merchant - we buy ours from UAP - its the only cost-effective way. We spray the drive annually, and that does the trick nicely. Takes me about 2 hours to do.
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Unfortunately, the main weed around here, Marestail, seems to be completely immune to it, even after several applications. It's not even touched by the strong stuff the council use up the pavement.
--
Andrew Gabriel

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If you stay with the gravel, then my advice is to put down a membrane ( glass mat roll ). However, things start to get complicated. You need to put a layer of sand under and above the membrane to protect it from puncturing. This has the effect of lubricating the gravel so it parts from under your feet when walking on it, exposing the gravel. This would be more of a problem with 10mm rounded gravel than with 20mm angular gravel.
Anyway, to cope with this you may need to put a binder layer on top of the membrane. This will act as a medium for plants to grow in, but you're not quite back to square one, since they will always be shallow rooted and easy to remove. Whatever you do, soil will always find its way into the gravel eventually so this cannot be avoided.
The binder itself may be some sort of clay subsoil ( that's what I used since I was able to dig some up ). I mixed mine with the 1" layer of sand that goes on top of the membrane, then poured the gravel on and compacted it a bit. In certain areas you can get 'Hoggin' a natural clay/gravel mixture that forms a firm, stable surface of its own accord.
You need to contain the gravel on all sides: a solid step surrounding the gravel and 1" higher than it ought to be enough. Whether you use concrete or wood or whatever is your decision.
Pesticides have been covered by OP's. Give the drive a rake once in a while in the opposite direction to the slope, to move gravel back uphill and grub up incipient weeds.
Andy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
We have a big, approximately triangular, area of gravel in front of our five garages (an embarrassingly large number!). I've fought a never
ending battle with the weeds on it over the eight years or so we've lived here and we're now at the stage where we have a little time, 'space' and money to tackle the problem more permanently.
Keep the gravel!!!
It's noisy when walked on, so you can hear the burglars coming!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

To be quite honest this sounds like a UL (or an old wives tale), how many people would really notice steps on the gravel outside when watching the TV or sleeping?
--
Chris Green


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@isbd.co.uk wrote:

I hear cars coming into my gravel car park at night.
However, crunching over gravel in the dead of night will sound loud to the burglar, so it acts as a deterrent.
Owain
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

how
It scares the postman when I just open the door and put my hand out having heard him scrunch across our drive !
AWEM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@isbd.co.uk wrote:

Yes, instantly.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.