My problem is that we have a long area of gravel used for parking for myself and several neighbors. When it rains really hard, the gravel alongside the road washes away and becomes a real danger for tires and probably the road itself. After googling (ducking, actually) the best way to avoid gravel washing away, it seems a French drain is the best method to do this. Only part of the lengthy gravel area is affected.

I'm wondering if I can just install a partial French drain for the affected area and leave the unaffected as is or if the lower French drain would cause the upper area to become affected. I don't have to dig to install the French drain on the affected area because I can just fish the gravel out and lay the perforated pipe in so I could do this in a day. However, if I have to do the upper part it will take considerably more time and effort to call 811, dig through at least a foot of gravel and lay it throughout the graveled area.

Also, I have been just going to our local rock quarry and getting crusher run 47 by the 5 gallon bucket which typically only costs about $6 when I get 5, but I have to make multiple trips. This happens at least 3-5 times a year.

Thanks! Area Depiction

There is a low spot, probaby 8-10 inches right under the red car and about 5 feet behind the red car. The area by the back car that has the lip of the road is barely affected. I've only ever put gravel there once.

Area Picture

  • The gray area is gravel, too. Forgot the label. And the affected area has gotten to be as big as about 1ft 6in wide. Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 11:10
  • The diagram is great, but a picture would really help give context. Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 12:01
  • I think a French drain in gravel might collapse under the force of vehicles driving over it. I think periodic replenishing with crusher run is your best bet. Isn't crusher run designed to lock together and resist movement? Is there another grade which is even more resistant? Of course you don't want something which could damage car tires. Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 12:07
  • @DanielGriscom, added photo. Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 12:59
  • @JimStewart I honestly didn't know about crusher run being built for this application. I just went to the quarry and grabbed what looked closest and it has worked decently well. Just wasn't sure if maybe I could do something more long term without breaking the bank. Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 13:03

4 Answers 4


Crushed stone then compacted

Crushed stone #411 – A mixture of stone dust and #57 stone. For driveways, roads and as a base for retaining walls. It can also be used to patch holes in paved areas. The dust mixes with the larger stone and settles well. Crushed stone is a basic material used in various capacities. It is a widely used raw asset in the construction industry. The extraction of hard rock that is turned into various crushed stone grades is a great economic indicator. Crushed stone is and will continue to be a very integral part of things we build.

If you are working on a construction project and get help deciding what crushed stone grade you need.


  • I think this is the equivalent of crusher run. We don't have those grades at our quarry but after talking with the gentleman at the desk, crusher run is stone plus the dust. Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 15:15
  • Some clean stones with hard sharp edges compact well into brick/concrete like density , others do not. There is a solution with a vibratory compactor. But dust will wash away. Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 15:36
  • Quarter down crushed limestone will work if compacted with 50lb tamper or vibratory compactor Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 16:17
  • it's now been given time to truly settle after filling and hasn't moved despite massive rains after a long period of dry weather. Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 20:48

There are gravel driveway stabilizer products made to solve this kind of problem.

They typically take the form of a mesh/lattice of some sort - sometimes flexible/fabric
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while others are a ridgid plastic
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  • I see. That would be the ideal solution to redo the entire gravel section I think but I'm really only trying to fix the pits and valleys that form. I'm thinking maybe the fabric would work if I cut it, which I would think then wouldn't really have a big enough anchor and end up washing out too? Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 13:08

A guess: the affected area receives concentrated drainage from the road surface. I predict the water runs along the road and then escapes off into the gravel at one spot, which receives a torrent and washes away. The unaffected area receives no drainage because the entirety of the road drainage is going thru the affected area.

You could go out when it rains hard and see if this is the case.

Rather than mess with gravel, you could divert the water. Keep it on the road until it gets to the storm drain, or divert it off the road in smaller manageable amounts across a longer stretch of road. You could build up the edge of the road and make a hump to keep the water on the road. Or you could lay diagonals of concrete patch compound across the road to bring water across into the gravel in less concentrated amounts.

  • I'll try piling it up over the weekend higher than the edge of the road. Let you know the next time it downpours. Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 15:19
  • Also, there is another gravel area after ours that has an asphalt hump that diverts water that is city owned. Maybe this is something I can take up with the city. The storm drain in the depiction is higher up hill but there is another one after the second gravel area. Since the storm drain higher up gets overloaded, maybe the city can add an asphalt hump to divert it. Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 15:23

Perhaps machine compaction of the area would reduce the rate of erosion.

  • Would that have adverse effects on the road though? Road is city owned. Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 13:09

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