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How to Spread Gravel Without a Tractor: 3 Ideas

In the Midwest, gravel is often used for driveways and roads. It can be expensive to hire a company to bring in the gravel because of the cost of the machine to do so, not to mention the cost of labor.

Therefore, it is much better to invest in a wheelbarrow and transport the gravel by hand. This is known as self-propelled spreading. Uneven areas can be leveled with a shovel, landscaping rake, or a horse-pulled sled leveler.

Lawns and driveways can be transformed with gravel. Without a tractor, motorists must transport the gravel themselves by using a wheelbarrow. Paving stones are also an option.

In this blog post, we will be looking at how to flatten out gravel in the absence of a tractor, the ideal gravel size for a driveway, and whether it is possible to lay new gravel on top of old.

Approximate area a ton of gravel covers

Rocks and gravel are sometimes added to soil to prevent erosion, boost water drainage in wet areas, or serve as a road base.

Crushed stone is a form of rock that is processed from larger rocks, such as sandstone, trap rock, or limestone, using a crushing machine. It’s inconsistent in shape and size and finds use in a variety of applications as a construction aggregate for roads, drainage systems, and cement.

On the other hand, gravel is an angular rock that has a smooth surface.

It is used to fill low spots, walkways, garden beds, flower pots, pond bottom, and patios.

Gravel comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and grades.

If you know how many tons gravel spread covers, you can determine how much it would cost to buy gravel, how many square feet it will cover, and how deep you would have to fill in the area with it.

Oftentimes, landscapers and landowners choose gravel by the cubic yard.

A cubic yard of gravel weighs about one ton. Tons of gravel are also known as a load or a truckload.

One ton of gravel covers about 100 square feet to a depth of 2 inches.

Elevator pitch:

When it comes to finding out how much the cost will be, the question is best answered with another question. How big is your driveway?

A gravel calculator will show you how much gravel is needed to fill your driveway and estimate how much it will cost.

Landscapers can also help you choose the appropriate amount of gravel for your needs and the best type of gravel to use.

For instance, pea gravel is a good choice for landscaping, swimming pool decks, and driveways, whereas river stone is better for the decoration of rock gardens and water features.

How to spread gravel without a tractor

1. Shovels and asphalt lute

Oftentimes, you can rent gravel spreaders.

However, if you’re filling in a small area it might be more cost-efficient to purchase the equipment rather than renting it over and over again.

For smaller areas or lighter jobs, shovels and landscaping rakes are the best tools to use.

First, use shovels to spread the gravel over the surface of the required area. Then, use a blacktop lute or asphalt lute to level and smooth it out.

2. Drag a heavy pallet

Pushing a heavy pallet or a loaded one across the area is also a good way to spread the gravel.

This can be done by rolling the pallet back and forth a few times to flatten the area.

3. Pull a gravel sled leveler with a horse

Larger areas can be filled using equipment, such as a horse-pulled gravel sled leveler.

To do this, pour the gravel onto the space using a spade to flatten it out.

Once the area is flat, use the sled leveler tied to a horse to roll over the area to the desired thickness.

Best gravel size gravel for a driveway

When it comes to gravel for a driveway, size counts.

I’m sure you’ve heard that bigger is better, but when it comes to gravel size, you want to be as specific as possible.

While it may seem easier to use large chunks of gravel, the surface they create is more likely to have a few big bumps or depressions.

Less expensive large stones are also more likely to have bigger pieces of crushed stone or dirt mixed in.

The best size gravel for a driveway is graded gravel with a 1-inch diameter for the base layer and a mixture of fine rock dust and small gravel for the top layer.

For an impregnable, well-drained foundation that will last you longer, choose the #3 gravel.

You can also introduce the #57 substrate in the middle if you want to add more texture and drain more water.

Your gravel driveway will look like it has a smooth finish, even if you drive on it often, and the surface is less likely to wash away or suffer from erosion.

Cover old layer with fresh gravel

Cement has the tendency to absorb oil, grease, salt, and other chemicals when they come into contact.

Chucked or pushed down gravel that’s now mixed with these types of substances isn’t ideal for driving or walking on.

If you want the surface of your driveway to last as long as possible, it’s best to lay new gravel over old gravel that has already soaked up these materials.

Landscapers recommend pouring gravel that matches the existing gravel on the driveway.

New gravel will act as a buffer and prevent the old gravel from being pushed around by traffic.