How to Repair Potholes in Dirt and Gravel Driveways

Dirt and gravel driveways tend to have less overall form than concrete, asphalt or brick driveways, but dips, bumps and potholes are just as great a nuisance. Because of their simple structure, it’s very easy to fill a pothole in dirt or gravel driveways and requires very little effort to smooth out. Remember: potholes won’t fix themselves and if they get big enough, they can damage your car. It’s best to attack the problem as soon as it is discovered, not just for your car, but for the appearance of your driveway.

Preparation
  • Most potholes in dirt or gravel driveways are caused by water trapped below the surface, so be sure to maintain or improve the quality of underground drainage to avoid potholes reappearing in your driveway. You can do this by creating a “crown” in the center of the driveway, spreading outward. Roughly one inch of height is necessary for the “crown” for every 3-4 feet of width of the driveway.
  • Before filling the pothole, make certain that the hole is cleared of any debris or loose stones that might prevent it from being level. You can use a rake, a shovel, or even a small garden tool if necessary.
  • If the sides of the pothole are not solid, dig down with a shovel to create firm edges. This will ensure that the filler material compacts easily.
Filling a Pothole in a Dirt or Gravel Driveway
  • Start by filling the pothole with coarse gravel up to about three inches below the surface of the driveway.
  • Next you should compact the coarse gravel using a steel tamper or a 4x4 wooden post.
  • For a dirt driveway, fill the hole with dirt up to three to four inches above the desired surface level.
  •  Water the soil and compact the area using the steel tamper or 4x4.
  • If necessary, repeat the process until the dirt is compacted to the desired level.
  • For a gravel driveway, fill the remaining three inches with gravel that matches your driveway, then add a small mound of gravel on top that can be used to smooth out the area.
  • Rake the area, blending the gravel into the surrounding areas of the driveway.

For either a dirt or gravel driveway, run a car over the affected area to ensure further compaction and to be certain that your repairs have had the desired effect. Otherwise, you may need to add more dirt or gravel and repeat the previous process.