If you are plan to lay a landscape gravel path or are just looking 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.
If you are in the middle of building your very own house, you have to check out our concrete slab calculator - it will tell you how many bags of cement you really need!
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:
- Determine the length and width of a cuboidal excavation. In our example the excavation length is
l = 6 ydand the width is
b = 3 yd.
- 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. For even more examples, visit the
2d geometrysection of our math calculators page.
- 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 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
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, or to account for any loss.
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 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 not only be 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 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 the home improvement store.
Now, back to the yard. You want to surround your home with a grass yard and a 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 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 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 width of each sector:
- Sector 1 has the length of 10 yd and the width of 0.5 yd;
- Sector 2 has the length of 4 yd and the width of 0.5 yd;
- Sector 3 has the length of 4 yd and the width of 2.5 yd;
- Sector 4 has the length of 10 yd and the width of 0.6 yd;
- Let’s calculate the area of each rectangle:
- Sector 1: the area is equal to 10 yd multiplied by 0.5 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 10 yd multiplied by 0.6 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 make sure that the gravel path will be thick enough to cover the earth beneath it. Furthermore, the thicker gravel layer will be, the longer it will last and the more resilient to wind, heavy raining 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.
You can calculate the required volume of gravel by multiplying the gravel path area by the desired thickness:
23 yd² * 0.1 yd = 2.3 yd³
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.
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 – we've got a calculator for that too! There is nothing left to do apart from to relax in cool water and to invite your friends over for a barbecue!