Average plastic grid driveway costs

Gravel £350-400
Plastic grids £400 or £12.50 per metre square on average
Site excavation £400
Sub-base for driveway £450
Geo textile for weeds £40
Labour £400

Factors which influence plastic gravel driveway costs

  • The area of the driveway
  • The type of stone
  • Type and quality of the plastic so its inherent strength plus the colour
  • Number of plastic grids required
  • Whether you choose a recycled product
  • How much work is required to lay the base
  • Is there an old driveway which needs to be removed
  • Skip hire costs – the bigger the drive the more skips you will need and so the higher the plastic gravel driveway costs.
  • Access to the site – difficult access invariably slows down the work and impacts labour cost
  • Where you live – London and the Southeast are always more expensive

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How does a plastic grid driveway work?

Plastic grid or gravel grid driveways use cellular grids laid in a honeycomb pattern to keep the gravel immobile on the driveway.

Plastic grids combat the most common drawback of a gravel driveway which is the movement of the stones. This can make it slippery for both cars and pedestrians and make heavy weather pushing a pushchair or wheelchair over this type of surface. The gravel is prevented from piling up into lumps or banks by the interlocking plastic grids. A much more even and safer surface is presented for those with mobility issues and elderly family members.

How to find the right installer for a plastic grid driveway

Plastic grid driveways are not particularly specialist and so many driveway companies will provide this type of surface.

Ask around for a personal recommendation, you may have a friend, family member or work colleague who has recently installed a new driveway.

Posting on social media is a very popular way to get some names and numbers but bear in mind that the people that comment may not be people you actually know. Check out whether the company they recommend has actually installed a driveway for them or are they just shamelessly promoting a friend or neighbour.

Trader platforms are increasing in prominence when it comes to a quick and easy way to source a local tradesperson. Just key in a few details like the size of the driveway – if you don’t know then describe it in car numbers – whether there is an existing driveway to be removed and your contact details. Then its just a question of waiting for the quotes to land in your inbox. Some of these sites have genuine customer reviews but others are little more than a paid advertising directory so do your homework.

Questions to ask an installer for your plastic grid driveway project

It can be useful to have a list of standard questions that you ask each contractor. Narrow the shortlist down to around three companies and then invite them out for a site visit. Never accept a quote without a site inspection as it will not be accurate. A reputable driveway company will never agree to do the work without first visiting your home. Here is a list of useful questions to ask.

  • Is my home and front garden suitable for a plastic grid driveway?
  • Is the site access okay?
  • Do you foresee any problems installing a plastic grid driveway?
  • Can you source grids which are made of recycled plastic?
  • How long will it take you to excavate, lay the sub-base and then the stones and plastic grids on top?
  • Can I use the driveway immediately?
  • Are there different colours of plastic to choose from?
  • What weight will these plastic grids support?
  • How long have you been in business for?
  • Do you offer any guarantees and warranties for both the workmanship and the materials?
  • Do you have any customer testimonials for this type of driveway installation?
  • Are you correctly licensed and insured?
  • What happens to the waste excavated from the front of my house?

Plastic grid driveways have lots of advantages

  • The gravel looks natural, and the plastic grids are not really visible
  • Plastic grid driveways work for a wide range of houses including older style, period homes but also new build and contemporary
  • The plastic grids keep the gravel in one place and prevent potholes and erosion
  • Maintenance is reduced compared to a regular gravel driveway without the grids which needs levelling and raking fairly often plus more frequent top ups
  • The plastic will stand up to the weight of regular car movements and won’t buckle or split
  • Installation is quick and easy which means lower labour costs
  • The plastic grids improve accessibility particularly for pushchairs, bikes and wheelchairs
  • The gravel is kept even and level by the girds so it is easy for pedestrian traffic particularly those who may have a disability or more limited walking or mobility issues such as an elderly family member
  • The plastic grids are resistant to rot and have a long lifespan which means less driveway movement, and this reduces the number of times you need to top up with more stones
  • Gravel is permeable so there is no requirement for planning permission unless your driveway is bigger than five square metres
  • Plastic grid driveways are pretty low maintenance especially if you have also installed a weed membrane in the sub-base. There may be a requirement to pull the odd bit of grass or weeds that pokes through but generally, plastic grid driveways are pretty easy to look after

What are the drawbacks of a plastic grid driveway?

Some people dislike the noise of the gravel and prefer a smooth and silent surface.

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How to lower plastic gravel driveway costs

The quote for a plastic grid driveway will be amongst the more competitive when compared to other options for your new driveway. However, there is always the potential to save even more money.

  • Remove the existing driveway yourself, this saves labour costs, but you will still need to factor in tool hire possibly and also a skip to dispose of waste
  • Change the type of gravel and use a cheaper variety. If you are really sold on a particular type of stone mix which is over budget, then keep it just for edging or a small decorative feature
  • Choose a cheaper plastic grid. Eco-friendly grids which are made out of recycled plastic are more expensive. Cheaper grids may not support the weight of your vehicles, or the amount of traffic so discuss this with your installer. You could use cheaper grids around the edges or in areas where the cars are not parked

Types of gravel

Your contractor can advise you on which gravel is best for the sub-base and which for the top layer. Certain gravels lend themselves more to one usage than the other.

Gravel varies hugely in terms of size, texture, colour and price. The average price for a 850KG bag of gravel is around £70 although this can almost double for some of the most desirable types of stone. When you choose a gravel, make sure it is driveway suitable as some of the brightly coloured stones are really only designed for garden use.

  • Pea shingle or pea gravel is one of the smallest stones you can buy. Each stone measures 20mm and has a smooth surface
  • Quarry stone is also called a dirty stone or blinding or MOT type 1. Quarry stone is a mixture of 40mm stones, smaller 10-20mm stones, sand and dust. Quarry stone is great as a sub-base material but is not considered quality enough to usually be used as the top covering
  • Crushed stone is a mix of small stones and coarse sand and is a dual-purpose mix that can be used for either the sub-base or the top layer
  • Washed stone or clean stone is washed so it is shiny which is usually reflected in the price tag as well as its appearance. Use the smaller stones for the sub-base and the larger stones for the top
  • Slate chippings are very on trend in stylish blue/grey colour and are pretty unique in their finish and usually double the price of most other alternatives
  • Polished pebbles come in a wide choice of colours and have literally been polished by water. They can be slippery and are expensive. Some people keep them for decorative edges or borders

Checkout this time lapse video of a gravel grid driveway installation:

If you have room in your budget after researching plastic grid driveway costs, why not try a different driveway material. Learn more about stamped asphalt driveways for increased durability, shingle driveways for a more traditional look, or cobblestone driveways for a more expensive but long lasting classic design.

Plastic grid driveways are not particularly specialist and so many driveway companies will provide this type of surface.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are plastic grids installed?

After excavation of the driveway area, a sub-base is laid and a geotextile to inhibit weed growth if required. The plastic grids are then put onto this surface to form a pattern which interlocks together. The grids are then filled with the gravel to the top, so the gravel is level with the highest point of each plastic grid. If you have heavy vehicles, then you will need a sub-base but if your usage is quite light then the grids can go directly onto a soil bed.

How can I stop weeds and grass growth?

Install a geotextile which blocks out most unwanted plant growth onto the sub-base before you fit the grids and add the gravel. Weed proof membranes are not a total block but they will get rid of most weeds and grass. The rest can be treated with a spot spray or just hand pulled as they appear.

What weight can plastic grids support?

Driveway grids can support a car but can struggle with heavier vehicles like LGVs or work vans which carry stock. There are reinforced versions and also uniquely formulated plastic grids which can support up to 250 tonnes per square metre. You may also benefit from a deeper sub-base and or a deeper layer of top gravel if your vehicles are heavier than standard, but your installer should be able to advise you.

What does SUDS mean?

SUDS means Sustainable Urban Drainage System. SUDS compliant grids will ensure you are obeying planning regulations when it comes to drainage as driveways should be permeable in order to protect the wider environment and the public drainage system from flooding in severe weather.

Planning permission

If you use gravel which is permeable and SUDS plastic grids, then there won’t be a need to obtain planning permission unless your driveway is more than five square metres. Don’t rely on this clarification from your driveway installer, always double check yourself as it is you who will have to apply retrospectively for consent if there is some aspect of your new driveway design which is in breach of planning regulations.

If your new driveway requires a dropped kerb, then this will need planning permission from the council. This is independent of whether the driveway needs planning permission and will require a separate application to the council.

Listed buildings are subject to a whole host of separate regulations and these apply not just to the house but to the land and any buildings around it. If you live in a conservation area, then there are separate requirements which may affect the design of your driveway and its appearance. Happily, gravel works well with older style and period properties and is one of the less controversial choices for a new driveway material in sensitive areas.

Paul Robinson
Hi I'm Paul. After years in the mathematical field, I went on to help rescue a flooring and driveways company and spent 10 years building the company. I’m a property expert with extensive driveway and home improvement industry knowledge.
Mike Alexander

I’m Mike – writer and part-time home improvement expert at Refurbb. Since owning and refurbishing my own property in 2018, I’ve since been developing rental properties, writing about my home improvement endeavours, sharing what I’ve learned and connecting readers to reputable tradespeople in the UK. I’m also head of marketing and technical at Raindancer Ltd

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