Laying a gravel path

In terms of keeping it simple, laying a gravel path is about as easy as garden construction gets. However, if you want it to look good, and be easy to maintain, there are a few necessary precautions to take in its design.

Mark line of gravel path 1. Mark the line of the path with pins and a string line. Dig out the turf with a spade, following the string lines.
digging out path 2. Dig out to a depth of about 6cm. Try to be as accurate as you can as you don’t want large differences in the gravel depth.
using pegs with edging boards 3. Drive in wooden pegs along the length of the path at 1m intervals. These pegs are made from roofing batten – cheap, but also treated.
fix treated edging boards 4. Cut to length and fit treated edging boards to the pegs on either side of the path. Get the top edges level with the ground – a spirit level is useful here.
fitting weedproof membrane 5. Roll out a weedproof membrane and trim it to fit the pathway. Allow the membrane to overlap up the sides of the treated timber. If you need to overlap lengths of the membrane, do so by at least 10cm.
raking gravel level 6. Simply pour in the gravel and rake it level. You may need to add a bit more after a few weeks when the path has settled and the surface has dropped a little.

Laying gravel tips

  • You may be tempted not to bother with the weedproof membrane – don’t be! If you don’t use it, the path will be overgrown in a matter of weeks.
  • Although you don’t need to worry too much about compacting the soil before laying a gravel path, remember that the more compact it is the better. Tamping the soil down with the head of a sledgehammer, giving it a roll with a garden roller, or even using your own body weight to gradually stamp the soil down will all help in stopping the path slumping to any great degree.
  • Don’t underestimate the amount of gravel you need. If you imagine a 25 kg bag of gravel and lay it down on its side – in terms of surface area coverage, if you’re lucky, you’ll get twice the surface area of the bag. The good thing is that gravel is cheap!
  1. Will says:

    Thanks Julian. I’m looking forward to laying my paths this weekend.

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