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Gravel Calculator

Created by Kacper Pawlik, MD and Bogna Szyk
Reviewed by Dominik Czernia, PhD and Jack Bowater
Last updated: Jan 30, 2024


If you are planning to lay a landscape gravel path or are just looking to improve the look of your yard with pea gravel elements, this gravel calculator (also a gravel estimator or aggregate calculator) might prove itself useful. It will help you estimate the amount of material required to finish all of your desired earthworks. We will also talk about the different types of gravel to help you make the right purchase.

Keep reading to understand how to use our calculator to answer the question, "how much gravel do I need?" After all, you don't want to overspend and end up with tonnes of material you will never use.

How to use this gravel calculator

The instructions below will showcase how to apply our gravel calculator to solve your problems:

  1. Enter the length and width of the excavation area. To enter a dimension in a different unit than its default, click on the unit and pick one that fits your needs.

  2. Alternatively, you can input the excavation area directly if you know it or if the area is not rectangular.

  3. Enter the depth of the excavation that will be filled with gravel.

  4. Instantly, the gravel calculator will show you the volume and weight of the gravel needed. To convert the results into a different unit, click on the unit and select your desired unit.

🙋 The gravel calculator assumes a default gravel density of 1680 kg/m³ or 105 lbs/ft³. You can change this value based on your requirement — Click on the advanced mode button at the bottom left. This will show a density parameter you can manipulate like every other variable!

The How much will the gravel cost you? section of the calculator will help you assess whether the finances of your project:

  1. Enter the gravel price per unit mass or volume. To enter a value in a different unit, click on the unit and change it to the one you like.

  2. The calculator will immediately fetch the total cost of the gravel required.

For example, say you are paving a path 5 m long and 1 m across for 15 cm deep. Enter the path's length and width as 5 m and 1 m, respectively. The calculator shows your excavation area is 5 m². Next, input the depth of the excavation as 15 cm. Instantly, the calculator tells you that you require 0.75 m³ of gravel, which weighs 1.26 tonnes.

You can use the calculator in reverse, too! Say you can only acquire 1 tonne in the previous example. Enter 1 tonne in the weight needed field and 5 m² in the area field. The calculator immediately tells you the depth you can fill with gravel is 11.90476 cm (approximately 12 cm).

The following article will teach you how to estimate the amount of gravel you need, the types of gravel you can choose from, and much more. Reading it will give you a solid knowledge base to start your project!

How much gravel do I need?

Step one is establishing the volume of gravel needed. It is equal to the volume of an excavation, and you can do it in the following way:

  1. Determine the length and width of a cuboidal excavation. In our example, the excavation length is l = 6 yd, and the width is b = 3 yd.

  2. Calculate the area of the excavation, multiplying the length and width together. In our case, A = 6 × 3 = 18 yd². You can also type the area of the excavation directly into the gravel estimator if you choose to excavate a more sophisticated shape. We've got calculators to help you find the areas of many geometric figures like triangles or pentagons: search for the shape plus "area".

  3. Determine the depth of the excavation. Let's say it's d = 2 yd.

  4. Multiply the area and depth of the excavation to obtain its volume in cubic yards: 18 × 2 = 36 yd³.

  5. The volume of gravel required is equal to the volume of excavation. Our gravel calculator will display this value for you.

If you are going to use sand instead of gravel, try our paver sand calculator.

Crushed stone is another alternative that you can use.

How much is a yard of gravel?

To calculate the weight of the material, you simply have to multiply the volume by the density. Fortunately, you don't have to remember the density of gravel – our calculator sets this value for you by default. Of course, if you decide to use some unusual aggregate, change the density as you need; this function is available in the Advanced mode.

Once you've determined the weight of aggregate, you can use our gravel calculator to find out its cost. Simply enter the price per tonne or cubic meter and let the gravel estimator calculate this value for you. Remember to buy some extra material to allow for small modifications of the project or to account for any loss.

For finishing the interior of your house, we have prepared the drywall calculator and paint calculator to help you to cut some costs there!

Types of gravel

We can differentiate various types of gravel on the basis of the following:

  • Size – there are many sizes of gravel. We can find some with rock fragments 4 inches (about 10 cm) in diameter and others with a particle the size of your fingernail. Of course, different sizes serve different purposes. Normally, we would like our gravel path to consist of 2 or 3 different layers of gravel. First, we can lay machine-crushed gravel of a larger size that will serve as a solid foundation for more aesthetic higher layers. We can add sand or dirt to this basal layer of gravel. At higher levels, we would like to have gravel of a smaller size that will fit into the holes between the stones of the foundation layer.

  • Shape – we will talk about shape in terms of the topmost layer of our gravel path. We can go for pea gravel that consists of smooth, round, naturally-weathered stones. It will be not only pleasant for the feet of your children (because of its smoothness) but also attractive to the eyes of you and your neighbors.

    However, pea gravel also has its downsides. It can shift under pressure, creating footprints or trails behind your car. The owner of a pea gravel path has to get used to raking and refilling gravel from time to time. The other option is to choose an angular type of gravel. Although not as comfortable to walk on (if someone falls, they might even get hurt!), it holds together more effectively. This is thanks to particular rocks locking into one another. Examples of angular types of gravel are decomposed granite, lava rock, and quartzite.

  • Color – this is an important attribute of landscape gravel, as it needs to fit your personal taste and the environment – the style in which your house and yard are designed. Darker colors will retain more heat and raise the temperature of gravel, so it will dry more easily. But watch out! It also might burn your feet on a sunny day! If you want your path to look natural, you should go for gray or light brown gravel. An interesting choice might be Jersey Shore gravel with its yellowish, golden-like color. And, if you want to stun your neighborhood – marble chips will do the trick. They will sparkle in the sunlight, making sure that your yard will stand out from its surroundings!

Gravel estimator – how to calculate landscape gravel quantity?

Let's deal with a real-life situation. Imagine that you have just built your beautiful house. You want to cover it with a roof of warm red tiles. Our roofing calculator and roof pitch calculator will help you with that. It would be a shame to buy too much, or, even worse - not enough materials and have to go back to the home improvement store.

Now, back to the yard. You want to surround your home with a grass yard and pavement made of tiles. In the middle of the grass yard, you want to dig a pool and surround it with a path made of landscape gravel to dry your feet with after a bath. We want to calculate the total quantity and cost of pea gravel required. As you can see, we cannot just type the width and length of our path into our gravel estimator, as the pool is in the middle of it. How to deal with this problem?

plan of typical yard
  1. First, we need to divide the pea gravel path into four rectangles: 1, 2, 3, and 4.

  2. Now, we have to measure the length and width of each sector:

    • Sector 1 has the length of 10 yd10\ \mathrm{yd} and the width of 0.5 yd0.5\ \mathrm{yd};

    • Sector 2 has the length of 4 yd4\ \mathrm{yd} and the width of 0.5 yd0.5\ \mathrm{yd};

    • Sector 3 has the length of 4 yd4\ \mathrm{yd} and the width of 2.5 yd2.5\ \mathrm{yd}; and

    • Sector 4 has the length of 10 yd10\ \mathrm{yd} and the width of 0.6 yd0.6\ \mathrm{yd}.

  3. Let’s calculate the area of each rectangle:

    • Sector 1: the area is equal to 10 yd10\ \mathrm{yd} multiplied by 0.5 yd0.5\ \mathrm{yd}, which gives 5 yd25\ \mathrm{yd^2}.

    • Sector 2: the area is equal to 4 yd4\ \mathrm{yd} multiplied by 0.5 yd0.5\ \mathrm{yd}, which gives 2 yd22\ \mathrm{yd^2}.

    • Sector 3: the area is equal to 4 yd4\ \mathrm{yd} multiplied by 2.5 yd2.5\ \mathrm{yd}, which gives 10 yd210\ \mathrm{yd^2}.

    • Sector 4: the area is equal to 10 yd10\ \mathrm{yd} multiplied by 0.6 yd0.6\ \mathrm{yd}, which gives 6 yd26\ \mathrm{yd^2}.

  4. We have to sum up these four different areas to get the area of the whole yard.

5 yd2+2 yd2+10 yd2+6 yd2=23 yd2\scriptsize \qquad \begin{split} 5\ \mathrm{yd^2}&+2\ \mathrm{yd^2}+10\ \mathrm{yd^2}\\&+ 6\ \mathrm{yd^2}=23\ \mathrm{yd^2} \end{split}

From now on, you can use our gravel calculator (see the instructions in How much gravel do I need? paragraph).

  1. It is time to choose the desired thickness (depth) of the gravel level. Let's make it 0.1 yd0.1\ \mathrm{yd}. We need to make sure that the gravel path will be thick enough to cover the earth beneath it. Furthermore, the thicker the gravel layer will be, the longer it will last and the more resilient to wind, heavy rain, or your children and pets 😉 it will be. Keep in mind that it may be a good idea to lay multiple layers of different types of gravel, as we have mentioned in the previous paragraph.

  2. You can calculate the required volume of gravel by multiplying the gravel path area by the desired thickness:

23 yd20.1 yd=2.3 yd3\qquad \scriptsize 23\ \mathrm{yd^2}\cdot0.1\ \mathrm{yd} = 2.3\ \mathrm{yd^3}
  1. The last things to assess are the estimated weight of the required gravel and its cost. Knowledge about the weight of the cargo may come in handy when it comes to transportation. It would be nice to know that your truck or trailer will endure the burden of your purchase. As we have already mentioned, we have set a default density of gravel for you but feel free to change it according to your needs. Change of density is available in Advanced mode. You just need to multiply it by the volume of your gravel layer.

  2. And last but not least – money. Can you afford such an expense? Maybe you could save some money by reducing the thickness? To know that, you need to calculate the total cost. With our gravel calculator, you can do it by multiplying the volume of purchased gravel or its weight by the price of one cubic yard or the price of one ton (other units of weight or volume are also available). You can use our gravel estimator to deal with these calculations. Go back to the How much is a yard of gravel? paragraph for more instructions.

Oh, and if you were wondering whether we can help you with filling your pool with water, yes, we can – our pool volume calculator is the tool for you! There is nothing left to do apart from relaxing in cool water and inviting your friends over for a barbecue!

Making of the gravel calculator

Kacper and Bogna are experts at creating scientific tools that solve daily problems. Kacper devised the idea for this calculator when he outsourced the construction of a driveway leading to his garage. Our in-house civil engineer, Bogna, lent him a hand, resulting in this user-friendly tool that everyone can use to ensure they're getting their money's worth in their construction projects!

We put extra care into the quality of our content so that they are as accurate and reliable as possible. Each tool is peer-reviewed by a trained expert and then proofread by a native speaker. Our Editorial Policies page has more information on our standards.

FAQ

How many yards are in a ton of gravel?

1 ton of gravel is equal to 0.714 cubic yards. To convert tons of gravel into yards, simply multiply tons by 0.714. For example, 2 tons of gravel is 2 × 0.714 = 1.428 cubic yards, 3 tons is equal to 3 × 0.714 = 2.142, and so on.

How much does a yard of gravel weigh?

A cubic yard of gravel can weigh between 2,400 lbs (1,089 kg) to 2,900 lbs (1,315 kg). Or you can approximate it up to one and a half tons. The weight of a yard of gravel depends on its shape and size. The smaller and smoother the aggregate, the more stones and the heavier the yard.

How much gravel do I need to cover for 100 ft² driveway?

Assuming you have a 10 ft long by 10 ft wide by 2" high driveway, the amount of gravel will be 0.617 cubic yards or 0.794 tons.

  1. Convert 2" to feet: 2/12 = 0.166 ft.
  2. Calculate gravel volume: 10 ft × 10 ft × 0.166 ft = 16.667 cubic feet.
  3. Convert to cubic yards: 16.667/27 = 0.617 cubic yards.
  4. Multiply by gravel density in lb/cu yd: 0.617 × 2831.73 = 1750 lb = 0.794 tons.

What area will 1 ton of gravel cover?

One ton of gravel can cover an area of approximately 100 square feet, 2 inches deep. However, note that the final area will depend on the size of the stone, the thickness of the layer, and how to level the surface to be covered.

Kacper Pawlik, MD and Bogna Szyk
Related calculators
How much gravel do you need?
Length
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Width
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Depth
in
Area
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Volume needed
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Weight needed
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How much will the gravel cost you?
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Price per one unit of volume
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