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We decided to go with crushed granite for our driveway, rather than concrete. What is a reasonable installed cost $/ft2 for crushed granite, when it's done right?

One GC told us they pretty much cost the same, and I don't believe him.

its is pretty much the same

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Ditto the cost being the same from what I have been told. I believe all the work is in the preparation of the ground, which is just as labor-intensive for gravel as for concrete. The only difference is at the end you lay down and compact the gravel instead of pour concrete. Without the proper base, you will end up with ruts.

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Another important difference is that gravel driveways are much friendlier to the environment: 1) The explosion of concrete in modern cities like Houston is making flooding worse because there's nowhere for the water to soak in and that increases runoff. There are also issues with denying tree roots water, but that may not apply in your case. 2) A big slab of concrete adds to the urban heat engine because it absorbs so much heat during the day. 3) It's actually better for the oil and fluids that inevitably drip from cars to fall on the ground. If the fluids fall on a concrete driveway then they are washed into our waterways at the very next rain, but if the fluids fall on the ground then they have a chance to biodegrade insitu.

I'm still looking for an installer for a grass driveway at my house (grass grown over a weight-supporting gravel/sand base and polymer mesh that eliminates rutting). It absorbs water, does not absorb heat and personally I think it looks better. Admitted downsides are that it's only possible behind the gate (Don't feel like explaining to City Hall that it's not "lawn parking") and women in heels can't walk on it.

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I'm still looking for an installer for a grass driveway at my house (grass grown over a weight-supporting gravel/sand base and polymer mesh that eliminates rutting). It absorbs water, does not absorb heat and personally I think it looks better. Admitted downsides are that it's only possible behind the gate (Don't feel like explaining to City Hall that it's not "lawn parking") and women in heels can't walk on it.

I like this idea a lot--I will eventaully need to tear up and replace my current drive/parking pad (it' very short, on the side of a corner lot). We're trying to avoid pouring more concrete.

Have also thought about an in-between solution-- just paving strips that you would drive on and leaving the rest open-- used to see this with older homes where they replaced old oyster shell drives with concrete. My BF has even thought of building the parking pad out of sand and pavers. That's a lot of pavers, though. Is it a bad idea?

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I like this idea a lot--I will eventaully need to tear up and replace my current drive/parking pad (it' very short, on the side of a corner lot). We're trying to avoid pouring more concrete.

Have also thought about an in-between solution-- just paving strips that you would drive on and leaving the rest open-- used to see this with older homes where they replaced old oyster shell drives with concrete. My BF has even thought of building the parking pad out of sand and pavers. That's a lot of pavers, though. Is it a bad idea?

I love the idea of a "Hollywood driveway" (why is it called that?), and assume it meets current code because I have seen some high-priced townhomes with it (usually with river rock running down the middle). A parking pad of sand and pavers would be ok as well, perhaps with grass growing between the pavers? I would think you would need very large pavers as the smaller ones might crack under the weight of a tire. Also, if you are on any kind of a slope, then the dynamics might change and increase stress on the pavers, causing more problems.

The rear part of my driveway is part gravel and part concrete. It wasn't by design as the prior homeowner had the sewer line replaced and left a big chunk of the driveway missing. We dumped gravel in the area to temporarily relieve the pressure to replave the entire driveway. Turns out we actually love the gravel, but aren't sure that we want a driveway full of it as it catches leaves and debris and is a pain to "keep clean." Still, it does help drainage and allow more water to the nearby tree.

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I went to one of the home shows recently and picked up a brochure for Belgard Hardscapes (pavers). I have no idea what the cost is (no doubt pricier than concrete or gravel). But, they have a line of pavers that are permeable with different ways of designing the base layers to either allow simple through-drainage or even drain pipes to be placed beneath or subterrainean drainage to a retention basin. In a few years we hope to put in a new driveway and I was considering the turfstone to be in a center strip down the middle of the driveway.

http://www.belgard.biz/environmental-pavers.htm

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I went to one of the home shows recently and picked up a brochure for Belgard Hardscapes (pavers). I have no idea what the cost is (no doubt pricier than concrete or gravel). But, they have a line of pavers that are permeable with different ways of designing the base layers to either allow simple through-drainage or even drain pipes to be placed beneath or subterrainean drainage to a retention basin.

http://www.belgard.biz/environmental-pavers.htm

Thx for the link. I often wondered how much useful stuff there was at the home shows. This looks interesting.

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Thanks for all the replies. I looked into "grass-crete" as well, but none of the contractors I talked to were familiar with it, and I think it may end up being even more expensive than concrete. So we decided on the gravel/crushed granite option for many of the environmental reasons already stated - drainage, saving nearby trees, etc.

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Anything other than a well-built concrete driveway (you can stain it, stamp it, edge it with bricks/pavers, curve it, - make it "pretty", etc), is going to be a maintenance nightmare. I don't care how well you prepare the ground... eventually, you're going to have ruts, it will catch debris, your weedeater will launch pieces of gravel at lethal speeds when you edge it, etc. You will not hurt the environment having a traditional driveway on your 50x100 or even 500x500 foot lot. If you had a 100 acres, you would want to put down some white rock, or gravel, for the road up to your house (much cheaper than concrete)... but near your house, rebar is your friend. Good luck.

Edited by BryanS
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Anything other than a well-built concrete driveway (you can stain it, stamp it, edge it with bricks/pavers, curve it, - make it "pretty", etc), is going to be a maintenance nightmare. I don't care how well you prepare the ground... eventually, you're going to have ruts, it will catch debris, your weedeater will launch pieces of gravel at lethal speeds when you edge it, etc. You will not hurt the environment having a traditional driveway on your 50x100 or even 500x500 foot lot. If you had a 100 acres, you would want to put down some white rock, or gravel, for the road up to your house (much cheaper than concrete)... but near your house, rebar is your friend. Good luck.

Ah, to be blissfully ignorant. :rolleyes:

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