If you are planning to lay a landscape gravel path or just improve the looks of your yard with pea gravel elements, this gravel calculator (gravel estimator or aggregate calculator) might prove itself useful. It will help you estimate the amount of material required to finish all earthworks. We will also talk about different types of gravel to help you make your purchase. Keep reading on 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.
If you are in the middle of building your very own house, you have to check out our concrete slab calculator that will tell you how many bags of cement you really need!
How much gravel do I need?
The first step 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:
- Determine the length and width of a cuboidal excavation. For example, we can assume an excavation of length
l = 6 ydand width
b = 3 yd.
- Calculate the area of the excavation, multiplying the length by width. 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 an excavation of some more sophisticated shape. We've got calculators for areas of many geometric figures like triangle or pentagon. For even more examples, visit the
2d geometrysection of math calculators.
- Determine the depth of the excavation. Let's say it's
d = 2 yd.
- Multiply the area and depth of the excavation to obtain its volume:
18 * 2 = 36 yd³.
- The volume of gravel required is equal to the volume of excavation. Our gravel calculator will display this value for you.
How much is a yard of gravel?
To calculate the weight of the material, you simply have to multiply the volume by density. You don't have to remember the density of gravel, though - by default, our calculator sets this value for you. Of course, if you decide to use some unusual aggregate, change the density as you need. Change of density is available in
Once you determined the weight of aggregate, you can use our gravel calculator to find out its cost. Simply enter the price per tonne or per 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.
Types of gravel
We can differentiate various types of gravel on the basis of:
- Size – there are many sizes of gravel. We can find some with rock fragments with 4 inches (about 10 cm) in diameter and other with a size of one particle comparable to 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. At the basis, we can lay machine-crushed gravel of bigger 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. Higher, we would like to have gravel of smaller size that will fit the holes between stones of the foundation layer.
- Shape – we will talk about shape in terms of the most superficial layer of our gravel path. We can go for pea gravel that consists of rounded, smooth, naturally-weathered stones. It will not be only pleasant to the feet of your children (because of its smoothness) but also attractive to the eyes of yours and your neighbors. However, pea gravel has also its downsides. It can shift under weight creating footprints or trails behind your car. The owner of the 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 so comfortable to walk on (if someone falls he might even get hurt!), it holds together more effectively. It is thanks to particular rocks locking between each other. Examples of angular types of gravel are decomposed granite, lava rock, and quartzite.
- Color – it is a significant attribute of landscape gravel as it needs to fit your personal taste and the setting – the style in which your house and yard are designed. Darker colors will retain more heat and rise 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 can do the work. They will sparkle in 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 the roof made of warm red roof tiles. Our roofing and roof pitch calculators 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 home depot.
Now, let’s get to the yard. You want to surround your house with a grass yard and pavement made of tiles. To calculate the number of tiles you need to buy before getting to work we recommend you to visit our tile calculator. In the middle of grass yard, you want to dig up your pool and surround it with a path made of landscape gravel to dry your feet after a bath. We want to calculate the required quantity and cost of pea gravel. As you can see, we cannot just type into our gravel estimator the width and length of our path as there is the pool in the middle of it. How to deal with this problem?
- First, we need to divide the pea gravel path into four rectangles: 1, 2, 3, and 4.
- Now, we have to measure the width and length of each sector:
- Sector 1 has the width of 0.5 yd and the length of 10 yd;
- Sector 2 has the width of 4 yd and the length of 0.5 yd;
- Sector 3 has the width of 4 yd and the length of 2.5 yd;
- Sector 4 has the width of 0.6 yd and the length of 10 yd;
- Let’s calculate the area of each rectangle:
- Sector 1: the area is equal to 0.5 yd multiplied by 10 yd, which gives 5 yd².
- Sector 2: the area is equal to 4 yd multiplied by 0.5 yd, which gives 2 yd².
- Sector 3: the area is equal to 4 yd multiplied by 2.5 yd, which gives 10 yd².
- Sector 4: the area is equal to 0.6 yd multiplied by 10 yd, which gives 6 yd².
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
From now on you can use our gravel calculator (see the instructions in How much gravel do I need? paragraph).
It is time to choose the desired thickness (depth) of the gravel level. Let’s make it 0.1 yd. We need to assure that the gravel path will be thick enough so that earth underneath it will not be visible. Furthermore, the thicker gravel layer will be, the longer it will last and will be more resilient to wind, heavy raining or your children and pets 😉. Keep in mind that it could be a good idea to lay multiple layers of different types of gravel, as we have mentioned in the previous paragraph.
You can calculate the required volume of gravel by multiplying the gravel path area by the desired thickness of pea gravel level.
23 yd² * 0.1 yd = 2.3 yd³
The last things to assess are the estimated weight of 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.
And now, 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 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 paragraph How much is a yard of gravel? for more instructions.
Oh, and if you were wondering whether we can also help you with fulfilling your pool with water, yes, you’re right – we’ve got a calculator for it! There is nothing left to do apart from relaxing in chill water and inviting your friends for a barbecue!