A worn-down asphalt parking lot, or a lot with no pavement or concrete at all is an eyesore to look at, and even worse to use. If you’re looking to install a new lot, a gravel parking lot may be a good option. They are budget-friendly, aesthetically appealing, and come with less maintenance than other lot materials. However, before diving headlong into the installation process, there are 5 key considerations to make.
1. How Affordable Is Parking Lot Gravel?
When it comes to parking lot options for commercial properties, gravel parking lots are some of the most affordable. They are cheaper to install, and offer long-term savings due to their low-cost, minimal maintenance requirements. Gravel parking lots are constructed using a cellular grid system, which is a series of panels that clip together to form a solid platform, the installation is swift and easy. This makes them great for covering large areas like parking lots, without becoming wildly inexpensive.
2. Looking At Maintenance and Durability.
Gravel parking possesses a commendable level of strength and durability, capable of withstanding the high capacity load-bearing that’s needed for vehicles. Plus, as long as the parking lot gravel is installed properly, it can handle most weather conditions, but will need regular maintenance to maintain the stability of the gravel surface. Maintenance can look like:
- Removing debris like sticks, and leaves as soon as possible. You don’t want to leave these in place, and then find out later that they are near impossible to remove.
- Over time, the existing gravel may become compacted, worn down, or displaced due to heavy traffic and weather conditions. By adding fresh gravel every 1-2 years, you can replenish the surface, restore its levelness, and enhance its ability to withstand traffic and drainage.
3. During Installation: Parking Lot Edging and Weed Management.
Gravel Parking Lot Edging
When installing a gravel parking lot, you’ll need to determine whether to use edging. The practice of edging a lot serves as a barrier to help contain the gravel within a designated area, preventing it from spreading and creating a messy appearance. It helps prevent the gravel from shifting, defending it against expansion or cracking that can be caused by heavy traffic or extreme weather conditions. When choosing an edging material, opt for concrete, metal or plastic, which can withstand the weight of vehicles and the elements.
Using A Weed Management Method: Membranes
Another consideration is what to do about weed management, as weeds can quickly invade the gravel surface, compromising its appearance and integrity. To prevent weed growth, it’s advisable to use a weed membrane (geo-textile fabric) during installation. This membrane acts as a barrier that inhibits the growth of weeds by blocking out sunlight, and preventing seeds from reaching the soil underneath. This helps keep the parking lot clean and weed-free, reducing the need for frequent maintenance and weed control efforts, saving you time and money.
4. Parking Lot Gravel’s Impact on the Environment & Safety of Pedestrians
How Environmentally-Friendly Is Parking Lot Gravel?
Gravel surfaces have excellent permeability, allowing rainwater to seep through their gaps. This natural drainage process reduces the accumulation of water on the lot’s surface, preventing standing water from forming. Gravel parking lots minimize the risk of flooding by effectively managing storm-water runoff, which is crucial in urban areas where largely paved surfaces place a strain on local drainage systems.
How Safe Are Pedestrians & Vehicles?
The texture and composition of parking lot gravel provides excellent traction, reducing the risk of slipping and skidding during wet or icy conditions. The uneven surface of gravel creates friction between a driver’s tires and the ground, giving them better control. This is critical in parking lots, as it minimizes the potential for accidents and promotes safer navigation.
5. Gravel Parking Lot Design: Aggregate Choice
When designing a gravel parking lot, it’s crucial to consider the aggregate you choose and its impact on aesthetics. Crushed stone made from natural rock creates a natural and rustic look with its angular shape and rough texture, while pea gravel creates a polished and softer appearance with its smooth and rounded edges. The choice of aggregate can significantly impact the visual outcome of the parking lot, and as such, the landscape and intended use should be considered. Rural or industrial settings pair well with crushed stone, while pea gravel is ideal for a refined look in commercial or residential settings. Carefully selecting the right type of gravel can enhance the parking lot’s visual appeal and ensure an inviting space for visitors.
If you’re looking to install a gravel parking lot, but have questions about whether it’s right for your commercial property, don’t hesitate to contact us here at DCPLM. We can walk you through the choices between gravel, asphalt, and concrete, so you can find out which one is right for your parking lot needs.