Pebble Rock Driveway Guide

A pebble rock driveway gives your landscaping a more natural look than the regular standard concrete, and it can be quite the talk of the town if you play your cards right. To do this project on your own however, you will need a lot of materials and tools as well as a lot of patience. If you combine the needed tools and patience, you should come out with a finished project you can be proud of for years to come. 

Materials Needed

  • Plywood for each 280 inches of driveway
  • Plywood large enough to stand on when applying pebbles
  • Skill saw
  • More pebbles/river rock than actually is need (you need to multiply the width by the length to know the area that the pebbles need to cover plus a few extra)
  • One 2 x 4
  • 1x2’s (you need to have them be one foot for every 24 inches of driveway)
  • Box of 1-½  inch roofing nails
  • Slow cure concrete
  • Concrete mixing tub
  • Concrete shovel
  • Re-bar (you need to have enough to make a two foot per square grid)
  • Wire coat hanger
  • 80 pounds of concrete (one bag per square foot of driveway)
  • Wet rag and water
  • Rental of a concrete saw
  • Concrete sealer with a paint brush
  • Sledge hammer
  • Hack saw
  • Safety gear 

Step 1 - Pick Out Your Rocks

Find the perfect rocks. Those would be most often the smooth river rocks. They should be relative small. For example, just big enough to fit in your mouth with it closed.

Step 2 - Setup the Plywood

Next you will want to cut up 6 inch strips of plywood. You will measure these out as parallel lines on plywood. You will begin by starting at the top corner and measure down 6 inches on either side of the plywood. Use a 2x4 to measure between marks. The lines must be 6 inches from the edge on all the locations.

Step 3 - Cut the Plywood

The next thing you will do is to cut all of these pieces of wood with your skill saw. You will need enough of these wood strips to be able to go around the entire perimeter of your driveway. This will be a guide for the concrete.

Step 4 - Dig a Trench

Now you need to dig a 6 inch trench all around the perimeter of the driveway. You will need the sledge hammer to pound down all of the ground that is part of the driveway. You will need to dig out an extra 2 inches for the areas that will have stakes placed in them.

Step 5 - Setup Stakes

Take your 1x2 boards and cut them into 12 inch pieces. Make sure that one end of each piece of wood is cut at a very sharp angle. Spacing the stakes no farther apart than 2 feet, pound the stakes into the ground to help support the wooden form of the driveway. Nail the form to the stakes.

Step 6 - Direct Water Away

If the driveway is against concrete that is already there like a sidewalk, place the wood right against the concrete that is already there. Make sure that the concrete is curved from the center of the driveway and then the curve lessens as you start going towards the edges of the driveway. This is to direct water away from the center of the driveway.

Step 7 - Reinforce the Concrete

To reinforce the concrete form you will need to use your re-bar. What you will need to do is to put the re-bar in a grid like pattern on the concrete form. Make sure to cut the re-bar to size with a hack saw. Make sure the re-bar fits the length and width of the form. Now take the wire coat hanger and tie the re-bar form together so that it does not come apart. You will now need to make sure the re-bar is suspended just slightly above the ground. You do this by pounding in a little bit of the vertical bar into the ground and tying with coat hanger.

Step 8 - Mix the Concrete

Now begin mixing the concrete. You will need the shovel and concrete tub to do this. You should spray the water into the mix and not dump it in all at once. Make sure to follow the directions on the bag adding water as needed while mixing the concrete. You will need to move fast on the step, even though the mix may be slow curing you still need to make sure that it is done mixing before it starts to set. You need for it to be easy to spread and able to insert the pebbles before it is beginning to harden.

Step 9 - Smooth the Concrete

Once the concrete is poured get someone to help you take the single piece of plywood and take a hold of each end and run the plywood across the surface of the wet concrete to smooth and make even.

Put a piece of plywood on the wet concrete as a work area and begin laying pebbles from one end, moving the board as you go, to the other end of the driveway.

Step 10 - Place the Pebbles

As you are placing the pebbles in the concrete, make sure to place them one at a time in the fashion that you want them to be placed. Make sure you still have someone helping you as the concrete will dry faster than one person laying the rocks.

When you are done with the rocks, you should take a wet rag and wipe off all the rocks so that the tops of them do not have any excess concrete on them.

Step 11 - Finish the Project

When you are finished with that, spray the driveway lightly and cover it with a tarp while the driveway is setting. The final thing you will need to do is after it is set is take concrete sealant and cover the entire driveway.