From various different types of gravel to stone and much, much more, our aim is to guide you on the right path so you can well and truly bring your driveway to life.
We’ve explored all the different kinds of aggregates available on the British market and put them into a handy list for you to make your decision. We not only feature top layers for driveways, but also base and middle layers so you have every base covered with plenty of options to choose from.
We’ve also dropped in a few installation tips for good measure.
So, let’s kick start the list with one of the most popular and affordable form of aggregates on the UK market – crushed stone.
This is a very popular choice of aggregate for British landscapers up and down the country and it is made up of around 5cm pieces of crushed stone and coarse sand, the materials used are generally different kinds of machine-crushed rock, granite, or limestone. These materials are crushed together to form a new entity called crushed stone, and it is one that is perfect for driveways.
Drainage is a key reason for this variation of aggregates popularity as it allows for the construction of French drains. The size and shape of each the pieces within crushed stone prevent not only unwanted water into your garden or living space, but it also prevents the gravel from locking together to form a solid surface.
Great for the purse strings as well as drainage, this is a popular option with landscape designers as it is often one of the cheapest available, and the unique shapes of the stone give an interesting and bespoke look for driveways from an aesthetic point of view.
One of the more attractive gravel aggregates on the market, marble chips are generally used as a top layer for driveways due to the appealing number of strong colour schemes that are available.
Generally coming in solid whites or whites with greys and blacks encompassed into the material, they are a unique look that really makes a driveway stand out from the crowd.
Offering a more modern and contemporary vibe when compared to crushed stone, marble chips also often glimmer in the sun and are much stronger and more durable than slate chips, for example, which can become damaged more easily with the repeated driving of car tyres over them.
Also acting as an agent to prevent your property getting too hot, not to mention the more impressive aesthetics when using a marble chip aggregate, these are a brilliant, if not slightly more expensive option for a driveway.
Please note however, that it is also worth mentioning that this style of aggregate does require driveway edging to hold them in place and prevent them washing away into the garden or the street, so some form of boundary is required when using this as a top layer for your driveway.
Comprising of mostly small, smooth stones, pea gravel is brilliant for the top layer of a driveway as not only does it come in a wide array of colours for an aggregate, but each stone also boasts a beautiful texture and aesthetic appeal that is pretty much unrivalled in the aggregate game.
You can achieve both a modern and classic look with pea gravel due to the sheer number of colours you can choose, with lots of reds, browns, and whites available with this material. It’s not only great to look at but also great to walk on too which is an added bonus, as the rounded edges provide a smooth surface to navigate by foot should you decide to do so.
Much like marble chips, pea gravel also requires driveway boundary edging as they pieces are so small, they are more difficult to be locked in their place, especially when used on British driveways where they see a lot of foot, or car tyre traffic.
Quarry Process Stone
Comprising of a blend of crushed stone and stone dust, quarry process stone is also known as crusher run or dirty stone and is a great choice for driveway aggregates, whether it’s a middle or a top layer.
Unlike pea gravel or marble chips, quarry process stone binds together well to form compacted gravel that is much easier to walk on and drive on due to the combination of various different stones within the gravel material being mushed together.
This compact nature within the composition of the gravel makes it one of the sturdiest and most durable form of aggregate available, so it makes a brilliant option for driveways as the enhanced durability can handle any vehicle passing over them day after day.
Again, as with some of the others mentioned in this list, drainage can become an issue with this kind of aggregate if it is not installed correctly. It’s therefore worth making a note and ensuring that your landscape designer understands that with the installation of quarry process stone, the middle needs to be higher than the sides to promote proper drainage on your driveway.
This gravel is more used as a base layer rather than top layer for a driveway, but still has its benefits and is worthy of inclusion in our top driveway aggregates list.
A very compact aggregate, the materials within item #4 is made up of sand, dirt, and crushed stone, and can come in a variety of different compositions to choose from. Unlike the majority of others in this list, individual stones are barely visible with item #4 thanks to the composition of the dirt and sand in amongst the crushed stone giving it an almost concrete-like appearance.
There are lots of different materials to choose from with item #4, such as recycled concrete, blacktop, brick rock, crushed limestone, and bluestone. The mix is generally a grey colour when it ends up on your driveway, but please do remember that it won’t be suitable for a top layer of aggregate.
Jersey Shore Gravel
Jersey Shore Gravel is known for its vibrant, yellow, gold, tan and brown colour schemes and is popular up and down the UK as a top layer of driveway and garden area because of its unique colourways.
With a peaceful quality emanating from Jersey Shore Gravel due to its nuanced colour scheme and smooth, rounded nature, this is definitely a top layer aggregate and looks fantastic on any driveway. It is a highly popular one because of these reasons and stands out as one of the best on the market when it comes to visual appeal and variation of colour within aggregates.
Similar to pea gravel in terms of shape, size, and smoothness, it also needs a driveway edge or border to prevent any of the gravel rolling away or being disturbed after driving a vehicle over them one too many times.
River rock is a product comprised of round, semi-polished pieces of rock that have been dug up and removed from riverbeds, hence the name. The fact that this form of aggregate came directly from rivers provides a very natural quality and peaceful atmosphere within your driveway, and is a very popular form of aggregate, mainly for decorative purposes, across the UK.
With a foundation gravel layer required for this one due to the size and composition of the aggregate, river rock is used more widely as a decorative piece to edge off current driveways rather than to cover the full driveway area.
River Rock helps hold other types of gravel in place as an edge material, without having to withstand the weight and pressure applied by vehicles. This is because it may not be able to handle the pressures of repeated vehicle usage over the top of it if was to be used as the primary top layer for a full driveway.
Similar to crushed stone when it comes to texture and feel of the gravel, washed stone is a great option for middle or top layers for a gravel thanks to its compact nature that allows for proper drainage and for water to not enter your property or seep through the aggregate.
As you might have guessed given the name, the characteristic that distinguishes washed stoned from crushed stone is the fact that it is washed, and therefore more visually appealing and a brilliant aesthetic for a full driveway area.
It can also handle the heavy weights and demands of driving your car tyres over it every day and features a more attractive look in general than its crushed stone counterpart, as the name might suggest.
So, there you have it, a comprehensive overview of the best aggregates and different types of gravel that will make your driveway look the best it can, whatever your taste or requirements might be, with a few driveway aggregate installation tips thrown in for good measure.
Here at Tyne Tees Crushing, we provide all of the above styles of aggregates and gravel as well as many more and are keen to help you with expert advice on your aggregate requirements.