Last updated on February 25th, 2023 at 10:03 am
If you’re planning to order gravel for your driveway, walkways, or to cover your yard, you know that gravel is often sold by the ton.
However, it can be confusing to try to figure out how many tons of gravel you’ll need for a given space.
Learning how many cubic yards a ton of gravel covers can help you calculate the exact amount of gravel that you’ll need.
How many yards are in 1 ton of gravel?
It’s hard to say exactly how many cubic yards 1 ton of gravel contains, as this can vary slightly depending on the type and size of each gravel piece.
Some rocks are heavier than others, so although they may weigh 1 ton, they might not spread as far.
In general, however, 1 ton of gravel usually contains 0.714 cubic yards, which is the number most contractors and landscapers use to estimate gravel needs.
It’s important to remember that when we talk about how many yards are in 1 ton of gravel, we’re talking about cubic yards.
This means that the gravel will cover a space that’s 3 feet wide, 3 feet long, and 3 feet deep, creating a 1-yard square.
If you want to know how many yards of gravel are in any given number of tons, you can simply multiply the number of tons by 0.714. For example, 5 tons contains about 3.57 cubic yards of gravel.
How thick should gravel be?
We now know how many cubic yards are in 1 ton of gravel, but this doesn’t necessarily tell us how many tons you’ll need to cover a space.
The next step toward figuring this out is to decide how thick the gravel will be. Where you plan to spread the gravel can help you choose.
If you plan to use the gravel in your driveway or under pavers, a depth of 4 to 6 inches is recommended.
A thicker layer of gravel ensures that the stones lock together better, which means they won’t spread out or scatter as you drive or walk across them.
For gravel paths, some people feel that an even thicker layer of 6 to 8 inches works better.
If you want to cover your yard in gravel, you can use a thinner layer, as you probably won’t be walking on it as much.
Most contractors and landscapers recommend a layer of gravel that’s between 1 and 4 inches thick. For larger areas, two or three layers of different types of gravel, each between 2 and 2.5 inches deep, are recommended.
Gravel of this depth will also help to inhibit weed growth.
How much gravel do I need for my driveway?
To find out how much gravel you’ll need for your driveway, you’ll next need to measure your driveway’s length and width.
Multiply the length by the width, and then multiply this number by the depth that you plan to lay your gravel. Remember to keep all of your measurements in the same units.
For example, if you measured the length and width in feet and plan to spread the gravel with a depth of 6 inches, use 0.5 feet for the depth instead.
These multiplications will give you your driveway’s size in cubic feet. An average driveway is a good example.
In the United States, most driveways are about 16 feet wide and 40 feet long, which gives us an area of 640 square feet.
Multiplying by 0.5, for a gravel depth of 6 inches, tells us that we’ll need 320 cubic feet of gravel to cover the driveway. Now we can convert 320 into cubic yards by dividing by 27.
The answer, which is about 11.85, shows us that we need 11.85 cubic yards of gravel.
We know that there are 0.714 cubic yards of gravel in 1 ton, so we can divide 11.85 by 0.714 to find that we would need about 16.6 tons of gravel to cover the space.
How much gravel do I need for my yard?
If you want to use gravel in your yard, you can use the same formula from above. Measure the length and width of the area or areas you want to add gravel to, and then multiply them.
Then, multiply by the desired depth of the gravel. A garden patio area makes a good example. An average patio in the U.S. is 16 by 18 feet.
If you want to use 2 inches of gravel, you would multiply 16 by 18 by 0.167, which tells you that you’ll need 48.096 cubic feet or about 1.78 cubic yards.
Dividing by 0.714, we find that this is equal to about 2.5 tons.