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Gravel can be a great way to make your garden more functional and maintenance free. Light coloured gravels can make your garden feel warmer and lend themselves to a Mediterranean theme.
Not only is gravel easier to install than paved surfaces it is also much cheaper. Loose gravels also allow rainwater to soak back into the ground reducing surface run off.
But the question is if I want to gravel a section of my garden how much will it cost? This will depend on a few variables which we will explore in this article.
Standard gravels which are the most common and affordable come in the form of 10mm or 20mm shingle gravel. These are readily available and have a mottled, buff colour and texture. For the sake of this article we will allow an average of £50 a tonne. (1 tonne = 0.850 jumbo bags)
Decorative gravels come in a much wider variety of materials, textures and grades. These generally come in at around £120 a tonne depending on the quantity you need. For the sake of this article we will price decorative gravels at £120 a tonne. (1 tonne = 0.850 jumbo bags)
A 100 square metre case study
In this article we will work out a costing case study based on a hypothetical 10 metre by 10 metre area. In order to estimate the cost of gravelling your garden we must explore your current garden surface condition. We must also explore what your gravel garden will be used for and how much footfall it can expect.
What is the existing state of your garden?
How much it will cost to gravel your garden will depend on its existing state. The worst case scenario is a very overgrown garden with large shrubs and perennial weeds.
In this case you will need garden clearance services, tree surgery and stump grinding. This will need to be followed by an excavator machine to clear the site and claw out perennial roots.
To clear an overgrown 100 sqm garden, ground preparation, membrane and standard gravel will cost around £2,400.00 (£24 per square metre)
To clear an overgrown 100 sqm garden, ground preparation, membrane and decorative gravel will cost around £2,960.00 (£30 per square metre)
If you’re existing garden is dominated by paving then this is an easier starting point. However if you wish to add planting into your gravel garden you will need to add planting pits.
This will require breaking out sections of hard standing and refilling them with topsoil. If your garden level allows, you can spread gravel on top of old paving. However it is recommended to remove old paving and break drainage holes into the base first.
To break out the top layer of paving and dispose of, apply membrane and lay standard gravel to 100 sqm will cost around £1,500.00 (£15 per square metre)
To break out the top layer of paving and dispose of, apply membrane and lay decorative gravel to 100 sqm will cost around £1,960.00 (£19.50 per square metre)
Concrete areas also provide the opportunity to spread gravel straight over the top. However you levels may not allow this and it may be best to break out the concrete first. This is especially so if you wish to plant through the gravel.
To break out top layer of concrete and dispose of, apply membrane and lay standard gravel to 100 sqm will cost around £3,100 (£31.00 per square metre)
To break out top layer of concrete and dispose of, apply membrane and lay decorative gravel to 100 sqm will cost around £3,660 (£36.50 per square metre)
Lawn is a much easier starting point for gravelling over a garden. You will need to scrape off the existing top layer of lawn first and dispose of it.
For the easiest solution a robust weed membrane can then be applied and the gravel spread to a depth of 50mm.
Strip off existing lawn and dispose of, apply membrane and lay standard gravel to 100 sqm will cost around £1,700 (£17.00 per square metre)
Strip off existing lawn and dispose of, apply membrane and lay decorative gravel to 100 sqm will cost around £2,260 (£22.50 per square metre)
Like lawns flower borders are reasonably easy to gravel especially if you are to keep them as planting areas. Gravel areas with high human traffic however may need extra base work underneath.
Remove existing plants and dig out any perennial weeds or bulbs, apply membrane and lay standard gravel to 100 sqm will cost around £1,200 (£12 per square metre)
Remove existing plants and dig out any perennial weeds or bulbs, apply membrane and lay decorative gravel to 100 sqm will cost around £1,760 (£17.50 per square metre)
It is important to remember that every garden landscaping project is different. Landscaping costs will depend on the existing labour market, risk, access and scale.
The cost of gravelling your garden will depend on your sites existing state, and quality of gravel you go for. There are also variables not included in this article which may raise the cost.
For instance basing up gravel areas with more compactable hardcore for seating areas. Also digging down deeper and breaking previous areas of hard standing where new planting is proposed.
These areas will require extra excavation and quantities of topsoil added. Such variables can add substantial increases to the cost of gravelling your garden.
Taking an average of the price ranges described here, the average cost of gravelling a garden is about £25.00 a square metre.
Thank you for reading our article on how much it costs to gravel your garden!
We found other articles on the internet only provided the cost per 'cubic metres of buying the gravel delivered!' Not bought, delivered and spread at a thickness of 50mm which overstates the price by a large amount.
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Paul Nicolaides has over 30 years of recreational gardening and 20 years of professional landscaping experience. He has worked for landscape contractors including design and build practices across London and the South East. In 2006 he qualified with a BA Hons degree and post graduate diploma in Landscape Architecture. In 2009 he founded Ecospaces an ecological landscaping practice which aims to improve social cohesion and reduce climate change through landscaping. In 2016 he founded Buckinghamshire Landscape Gardeners which designs and builds gardens across Buckinghamshire and the South East. This blog aims to provide easy problem solving information to its audience and encourage others to take up the joy of landscaping and gardening.