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9 Tips For Excavating A Gravel Driveway In Roseville

Key Takeaways:

  • Planning is key when excavating a gravel driveway.
  • Consider the size of the area, the scope of the project, the type of soil, and the terrain before beginning the project.
  • Have a realistic timeline, and make sure you have all the necessary tools and equipment before starting.
  • Hire a professional surveyor to help you mark the boundaries of your excavation site.
  • Mark any trees, shrubs, or other features that should not be disturbed during excavation.
  • Mark any underground utilities before excavating.
  • Call a professional utility locator to avoid any accidents.
  • To ensure a stable and durable gravel driveway, excavate from 12-18 inches.
  • Take into account the thickness of the gravel base and surface layers when determining the depth of excavation.
  • To excavate for a gravel driveway, you will need a shovel, a wheelbarrow, and a tamper.
  • The sub-base is a layer of gravel used to provide stability and support for the driveway.

When excavating for a gravel driveway in Roseville, you need to consider numerous factors. It’s imperative to plan and take your time so that the job goes smoothly. This post will discuss excavating a gravel driveway and advise how to avoid common mistakes homeowners make during this process.

1) Plan Ahead

When excavating for a gravel driveway, the first step is to plan. It means having a clear understanding of the size and scope of the project. You should also consider the type of soil and terrain you will work with. Having a realistic timeline for the job is important. Also, ensure you have all the necessary tools and equipment. We recommend contacting a professional excavator or your local building department for guidance.

2) Properly Mark the Boundaries

One of the most common mistakes when excavating for a gravel driveway is failing to clearly and properly mark the boundaries of the work area. Proper markings ensure you do not accidentally excavate too much or too little land. It’s also crucial for avoiding any disputes with your neighbors. When in doubt, hiring a professional surveyor is always best to help you mark the boundaries. Once the boundaries are marked, you’ll need to stake them for visibility. This will help you and your excavating crew stay within the bounds of your property. We recommend using heavy-duty zip ties or rebar to ensure the stakes are firmly in place. Be sure to mark any trees, shrubs, or other features that should not be disturbed.

3) Exercise Caution When Digging Around Underground Utilities

When excavating for a gravel driveway, be careful of any underground utilities. This includes water, sewer, and gas lines. Knowing any power lines or cable TV lines buried in your yard is also important. The last thing you want is to accidentally damage one of these lines, which can lead to expensive repair work. Ask your local utility company for a map if you’re unsure where these utilities are located. Or, you can have a professional utility locator come out to your property and mark the underground lines. Once you know where they are, mark them with flags or paint so you can avoid them when excavating.

4) Acquire the Proper Permits

Acquire proper permits before starting any excavation work. Depending on where you live, strict regulations about excavating your property may exist. In some cases, you may need a city or county permit to do excavation work.

5) Choose Your Gravel

There are many different gravels to choose from, so it’s important to select the right one for your needs. You can make gravel from various materials, including crushed stone, river rock, or pea gravel. Each type of gravel has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

  • Crushed stone is the most common type of gravel. It’s made from pulverized rock exposed to intense heat and pressure. Crushed stone is strong and durable, making it an excellent choice for driveways and other high-traffic areas.
  • River rock is popular for gravel driveways because it has a natural, rustic look. River rock is also very durable and long-lasting. However, it can be tough to locate river rock in some areas.
  • Pea gravel is a small, rounded type of gravel. Pea gravel is often used in landscaping projects because it has a gentle, natural look. It is also relatively economical and easy to find. However, pea gravel can be difficult to shovel and get stuck in tires.

No matter what gravel you choose, ensure that it is the correct size for your needs. Smaller gravel is best for walkways and light traffic areas. Larger gravel is better for driveways and other high-traffic areas.

6) Excavation Depth

One critical aspect of excavating a gravel driveway is the excavation depth. The depth of the excavation will determine how stable and durable your gravel driveway will be. For a gravel driveway, you should excavate between 12-18 inches. This will ensure that your driveway is stable and durable. If you excavate less than 12 inches, your driveway will likely shift and move. If you excavate any more than 18 inches, you will have to use more gravel to fill the excavation, which can be expensive.

Simply put, to determine the depth of the excavation, you will need to consider the thickness of the gravel base and the thickness of the surface gravel layers. You will need to add these two thicknesses to determine how deep you should excavate.

7) Use the Right Tools

When excavating for a gravel driveway, always use the right tools. You will need to use a shovel, a wheelbarrow, and a tamper.

  • A shovel is the most important tool you will need because it is used to excavate the soil.
  • A wheelbarrow is also an important tool because you will use it to transport the soil that you excavate.
  • A tamper is also important because it is used to compact the soil.

8) Laying the Sub-Base

Once you have excavated to the proper depth, you will need to lay a sub-base. The sub-base is a layer of gravel that provides stability and support for the driveway. Without a sub-base, your gravel driveway would likely shift over time. There are two different types of sub-base that you can use for your gravel driveway – crushed stone and recycled concrete. Crushed stone is the more common of the two.

8) Laying the Sub-Base

9) Laying the Gravel

After the sub-base has been laid, it is time to lay the gravel. The type of gravel you use will depend on your desired look. For a more natural look, river rock or pea gravel might be the best option. Crushed stone is the way to go if you are looking for a more traditional look. Spread the gravel in a layer that is about two inches thick. Once the gravel has been laid, you should tamp it down, so it is level and even.


Excavating a gravel driveway is not as difficult as it may seem. With these tips, you can have a beautiful and functional driveway. Take your time and do the job right, and your driveway should last you many years!

Check out our blog post on important site grading advice.

Action Asphalt is an excavation company that has been serving the Roseville, CA, area for over 20 years. We are licensed and insured and offer numerous paving services to our customers. We offer excavating services for both residential and commercial properties. We offer free estimates and will work with you to create a custom paving plan that fits your budget.