The Quick Answer
Unfortunately Gravel is not maintenance free.
It can be quite difficult to keep on top of Gravel maintenance as it requires some effort to keep the surface looking smart and well maintained. Using gravel grids is a brilliant way minimise the maintenance required, however issues such as; displacement of aggregates and growth of weeds is still likely to occur.
Using Geotextile membrane
Geo-textile membrane (weed-proof membrane) should be installed in the preparation stage for and gravel surface. It helps prevent weeds growing from the sub-base up through the decorative layer. This being said it is impossible to combat seeds falling and becoming lodged between the aggregate, in turn causing a sprouting of weeds. The membrane also acts as a barrier between existing sub-base and the newly installed base. This is an important barrier that helps provide strength to the overall structure.
Weeds can be kept at bay by regularly spraying the surface of the gravel with weed killer and hand removing visible weeds from the surface. Any areas of the gravel driveway/patio that see repeated use, may show dips and sinking, this is especially the case with vehicular use. This is due to the aggregate become displaced and continuous compression causing the gravel to sink into the base. This was once one of the biggest reasons people avoided choosing gravel for functional. Fortunately this is no longer something to fear as the use of gravel grids is becoming more popular. You will still have to rake areas every so often but the time spent on maintaining the levels is minimised.
Top Tips To Reduce Level Of Gravel Maintenance
- Check Before Starting – Take some time to scour the area surrounding your driveway/patio. Look out for things like; overhanging trees, areas that slope towards you, areas of poor drainage or areas that don’t see any sunlight.
- Spread out use – It’s a good idea to avoid using the same tracks every day with your car. This will help avoid repeated compression of small areas. Obviously if you have limited space this may not be possible so we recommend raking the tracks as frequently as possible to avoid too much displacement.
- Weed Killer – Treat total area with weed killer before it’s too late. A frequent issue most people with a gravel surface incur is weed growth. If you can find the time, it is a good idea to spray areas that are yet to be visually effected.