Gravel driveways are a great choice for driveways because gravel is cheaper than other driveway materials, provides great drainage, and can be personalized to your home’s style. Unfortunately, unsightly weeds can grow through the gravel. We’ve done the research to provide you with multiple ways to prevent this.
To keep weeds from growing up through your gravel driveway, try any of the following methods:
- Dig Out The Weeds
- Lay Mulch Under The Gravel
- Use Landscape Fabric
- Spray Salt Water
- Use Weed Killer
In this article, we’ll provide you with all you need to know about keeping weeds from growing in your driveway, along with some more helpful information concerning gravel as a driveway option. Continue reading to learn more.
How To Keep Weeds From Growing In Your Gravel Driveway
Weeds can be quite a nuisance and can quickly overtake your driveway every year if you don’t take the necessary steps to treat and prevent them. Some of these methods may have to be done along with other preventative measures, but these are the five most effective ways to prevent them.
Dig Out The Weeds
If your driveway is small enough, one way to prevent weeds is to dig them out by hand. However, weeding by hand is very tedious and won’t stop the weeds from coming back next year, so you don’t want to use this method if you have a large or long driveway. Raking the weeds out of the driveway throughout the year can keep you from having to dig out the weeds all at once.
When pulling out weeds by hand, it is essential to pull the weeds so that the roots come out with the top of the plant. If you don’t get the roots out, the plant will continue to grow. Some weeds have deeper roots than others, so the best way to get them out is to use a weeding tool. There are many different types of weeding tools, but they all serve the same purpose, so whichever one you use depends on your preference.
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Lay Mulch Under The Gravel
Mulch is great for preventing weeds in gardens, but it can also be used to prevent weeds in your driveway too by laying them under the gravel. This method works best if you’re laying a gravel driveway for the first time because you can place the mulch before putting the stone down.
However, before you lay mulch, you will need to dig out any already growing weeds. You can do this with a trowel or a weeding tool. Then, use a rake or cultivator to turn the soil to make sure that you removed all of the weeds. Smooth the area back out, then lay the mulch.
If you already have a gravel driveway, you will need to remove the gravel before laying the mulch down. This will involve shoveling away the gravel from individual sections, laying down the mulch, and spreading the gravel back out. This can be tedious, but laying mulch can be very effective if you don’t mind the work.
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Use Landscape Fabric
Like mulch, landscape fabric acts as a weed barrier, but it won’t biodegrade over time. It is a lot of work to layout landscape fabric, but this is one of the most effective weed prevention methods. Gravel with landscape fabric keeps weeds from getting the necessary sunlight needed for them to grow.
Again, laying landscape fabric is very easily done if you’re installing a gravel driveway for the first time. If you’re laying it under an existing gravel driveway, you will need to remove all of the gravel first and then remove any already growing weeds. Although it requires a lot more work, landscape fabric will prevent weeds from growing in your driveway for years.
Spray Salt Water
If you don’t have the time or budget to lay mulch or landscape fabric under your gravel, you can spray saltwater on the weeds to kill them. This isn’t a permanent solution but will prevent weeds for a short amount of time. You will need to repeat this when the weeds start to grow back. Salt will also kill any plants growing near your driveway, so be sure only to spray it on the weeds.
If your driveway is smaller, you can spray the whole driveway. But if you have a larger driveway, you may find it easier to spray the individual weeds as they grow. To do this, you will need salt, water, a garden spray bottle, and dish soap (optional). Garden spray bottles usually hold 1 gallon of water. You will need to mix about 64 ounces of salt with 1 gallon of water.
- Mix the salt and water in a garden sprayer.
- Add some dish soap to the mixture to kill large weeds.
- Spray the mixture on the weeds or, depending on size, your whole driveway.
Use Weed Killer
Weed killer is an affordable and effective way to kill weeds that are growing in a large driveway. But like salt, weed killer will only last for a few months before you have to reapply it. When purchasing weed killer, look for a product that has glyphosate in it.
Some weed killers only kill the above-ground growth. Glyphosate will not only kill the above-ground portion of the root but the roots as well. Killing the roots means that the weeds will stop growing altogether. This means that you won’t have to spray the weed killer as often.
What Are Natural Ways To Kill Weeds?
While weed killer is the most effective way to kill weeds, many people want a more natural method. Both the mulch and saltwater methods mentioned above are natural ways to kill and prevent weeds, but there are other ways as well.
- Vinegar- Add vinegar to a spray bottle and spray it on the weeds to kill them. Just be sure not to spray other plants accidentally.
- Boil water in a kettle on the stove, then pour the boiling water directly onto the weeds to kill them. Just be careful not to get any boiling water on your skin.
- All-Natural Weed Killer- Natural weed killers do not contain glyphosate and are safer to use around pets.
Does Landscape Fabric Allow Water Through?
Many people worry about using landscape fabric under gravel because they think it doesn’t allow water through, saturating their driveway every time it rains. They also feel like if it does let water through, it will still allow weeds to grow.
Landscape fabric is made from fibers that are woven together. Even if it does look like one solid sheet, there are pores in the fabric that allow water to pass through. The pores keep water from collecting on top of the fabric, which could saturate your driveway. It is also okay for water to pass through the fabric because weeds need sunlight and water to grow. The fabric with gravel on top blocks sunlight from reaching the ground below.
Can You Use Plastic Sheeting Under Gravel?
Tarps or plastic sheeting are more affordable alternatives to landscape fabric that effectively prevent weeds. Plastic sheeting can also be purchased in larger sizes so that you can cover more areas of your driveway.
Plastic suffocates the soil underneath it, preventing weed growth. Many people are hesitant about using plastic under the gravel in their garden because plastic doesn’t allow water to pass through, so their plants won’t get the water they need. It also decreases soil health. But plastic sheeting should be okay to use under a gravel driveway since you will not grow any plants there.
How Deep Should A Sub Base Be For A Gravel Driveway?
When building a gravel driveway, you don’t want just a single layer of gravel. Driveways receive a lot of heavy traffic, so you want several layers of gravel for the driveway to retain its shape. A sub base is a layer under the gravel that helps to strengthen the driveway and keep it level.
Sub bases are usually made of smaller-sized gravel than your top layer. In a properly constructed gravel driveway, the sub base will be the first layer laid down. If you use landscape fabric or mulch as a weed barrier, it will go on top of the sub base. The decorative gravel will go on top.
When digging your driveway, you will need to dig a depth of about 6 inches or 150 millimeters. Digging to a depth of 6 inches will give you plenty of room for the sub base, weed barrier, and decorative gravel that goes on top.
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Can You Lay Gravel On Top Of Grass?
Gravel cannot be laid on top of grass without killing or removing the grass first. If you don’t remove the grass, the grass and weeds will grow through the gravel. If you use landscape fabric or mulch to prevent this, laying gravel on top of the landscape fabric or mulch will make the gravel surface uneven.
To kill the grass, you can use a chemical grass and weed killer or suffocate the grass using a plastic sheet. Or, you can dig out the grass, but this is very time-consuming. Digging the grass out will also remove some of the soil, so you may have to level the ground again before laying the gravel.
Weeds can be a nuisance and can be unsightly in your beautiful gravel driveway. Taking preventative measures before installing your driveway is the best way to keep weeds from growing. Otherwise, you will likely have to use a weed killer or pull the weeds by hand. Thanks for reading!