How Much Does a Yard of Gravel Weigh

How Much Does a Yard of Gravel Weigh? 

Gravel has a variety of uses in landscaping around your home. Like other garden and building materials, however, it tends to be heavy. So, today I’ll reveal the answer to your question: how much does a yard of gravel weigh? 

How much a yard of gravel weighs will depend on what kind of gravel you get. Overall, however, the average weight of a yard of gravel is approximately 2,200 pounds. But with some types of stone you could be looking at closer to 3,000 pounds per yard, so there is some pretty significant variation to be aware of.

I’ll explain some of the nuances, and break down how much each common type of gravel weighs per yard in today’s article.

Trust and Accuracy Information

This article was last updated on by Lawn Chick Owner Sarah Jameson
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What is Gravel? (and why the type of gravel you have matters)

The answer to the question “what is gravel?” is more complicated than you think. 

There is a difference between real gravel (the kind you order for bulk delivery) and gravel-like materials.

What is Gravel

But despite this technical distinction, most people use the term “gravel” to refer not only to real gravel but also gravel-like materials.

So, today I’ll talk about both true gravel and other materials we homeowners (and industry professionals) call gravel.

Technically, real gravel is different from crushed stone and other kinds of materials that are sold as gravel.

Real gravel develops in nature without human intervention. By contrast, we get crushed stone when a manufacturer produces it. 

Gravel is formed from materials that flow in bodies of water. Spending so much time being buffeted around the water makes the gravel pieces round and smooth.

Other materials we call gravel include pea stone, river rock, and decomposed granite.

Why Do We Use Gravel? 

There are many ways that homeowners use gravel on their properties. I’ll reveal some of the more popular uses below. 

Why Do We Use Gravel

For Driveways

If you don’t want a asphalt or concrete driveway, you can go with gravel instead. It’s much more affordable, and depending upon the size of your project it could be a DIY project.

One of great things about a gravel driveway is how it’s porous. So, if there is a lot of rain, you’re much less likely to end up with flooding or pooling since it’s permeable.

Gravel for Driveways

To Create Walkways

As I’ve learned from experience, walking directly on your grass can make for scraggly grass and compacted soil.

So, it makes sense that one of the most popular ways to use gravel is to create paths and walkways in your yard.

Gravel Used to Create Walkways

No need to go to the significant expense of installing flagstone, pavers, or concrete. You can just use gravel instead.

Putting in gravel walkways is a great way to stop damage to your lawn. People will walk on the gravel instead of your grass. 

As Mulch and Ground Cover

You can use gravel as a mulch to put on your garden beds.

It’s great for preserving the moisture in your soil and helping to prevent soil erosion.

It can also help to stop soil compaction from developing, and compared to traditional bark mulch, it’s not something that will decompose so you won’t have to replace or refresh it as frequently.

Gravel Used as Mulch and Ground Cover

Also, as it’s permeable, it will help ensure that you don’t end up with pooling water.

Water can penetrate a layer of gravel because of the spaces between the pieces of material. But you should be aware that gravel in the sun will attract and hold heat, which could be a negative or positive for the plants you use depending upon their growing preferences.

To Create Patios

Some homeowners use pea stone gravel to create a patio. It’s a simple and easy (and relatively affordable) way of creating a patio space in your yard where you can put a table and seating.

Unlike a traditional patio that you have to build, a gravel patio is easy to install. You won’t need as many tools. 

I’ve personally used pea gravel around raised beds in a garden to dress up the area and have clean, inorganic walking surface that doesn’t get muddy, and drains well.

Underneath and In Between Pavers

If you’re putting down pavers (for example, as stepping stones), you should use gravel and sand underneath and in between them. 

Gravel Used Underneath and in Between Pavers

The gravel underneath is essential because it eases the tension that occurs when you step on them.

If you don’t put down gravel and sand, the pavers will probably end up moving around. They might even sink.

Decorative Hardscaping 

“Hardscaping” is when you use hard and inorganic material that won’t break down as a landscaping element on your property.

Gravel Used as Decorative Hardscaping

It’s most often used as a replacement for a traditional grass lawn areas, to make welcoming seating areas, patios and walkways, and to craft outdoor “rooms” where your guests, friends, and family are invited to enjoy your outdoor space.

If you’re busy and don’t want to have to spend a lot of time watering and maintaining a lawn, think about putting in some decorative hardscaping.

What Are The Different Types of Gravel? 

There are many kinds of materials that we refer to as “gravel” and use in our outdoor spaces. The kind that you choose will depend on why you’re using it, as well as your aesthetic preferences. 

What are The Different Types of Gravel

Pea Stone (Pea Stone Gravel or Pea Gravel) 

Lots of homeowners think that pea stone must be a type of crushed stone, but it isn’t.

Pea stone gravel is actually small, intact tiny stones (they’re larger than peas, but pretty small). They have a rounded shape that is the result of natural processes. 

Pea stone gravel is appropriately named, as the tiny pebbles are small and rounded. Typically, each pebble is about ⅜ of an inch. 

Pea Stone Gravel Uses

There are many ways you can use pea stone gravel on your property. You can utilize it to create pathways and patios.

It’s commonly used on playgrounds and for plumbing pipe beds, too. 

Pea stone gravel is known for its durability. It’s also aesthetically pleasing, adding to its popularity. 

You can even use it for mulching, helping to prevent weed growth. You also don’t have to do much maintenance work with it. 

Pea Stone Walkway as part of a Vegetable Garden
This vegetable garden pops thanks to the pea stone walkways between beds

If you want a gravel that is as beautiful as it is resilient, think about getting pea stone.

How Much Does a Yard of Pea Stone Weigh? 

A cubic yard of pea stone gravel usually weighs about 2,600 pounds. This is equal to 1.3 tons. 

River Rock

River rock gravel features intact stones, but they’re a lot bigger than pea stones. They have a smooth texture. 

River Rocks

River rock gravel is great for creating decorative features. They’re great for hardscaping, like creating a rock garden instead of a grass lawn

It’s also great for edging your garden beds, as well as mulching them. You can also use river rock for helping to stop erosion. 

How Much Does a Yard of River Rock Weigh? 

A cubic yard of river rock will weigh between 2,400 and 2,700 pounds. This may vary by the rock size. 

3/4” Gravel

3/4” gravel has a rough texture, and the pieces are medium size. It often has a gray, salt-and-pepper like color, but some retailers sell it in other color variations as well. 

Decomposed Granite

How Much Does a Yard of ¾” Gravel Weigh? 

A cubic yard of 3/4” gravel weighs around 2,800 pounds. This is equivalent to 1.4 tons.  

Decomposed Granite (or DG)

Another kind of gravel is decomposed granite. It’s exactly what it sounds like. 

That means that it is granite rock that natural conditions and erosion have broken into tiny (almost dust-like) pieces.

It’s popular for pathways, walkways, and patios because when it’s compressed it offers a firm, tough surface that is still permeable.

How Much Does a Yard of Decomposed Granite Weigh? 

You’ll also hear people refer to decomposed granite as crushed granite. A cubic yard of this material will usually weigh around 3,000 pounds. This is equal to 1 ½ tons. 

Paver Base 

We use certain kinds of granite and stone as a base for putting down pavers.

It’s important to use the right kind of paver base in order to keep your pavers in place and prevent cracking. It’s also essential for preventing trip hazards. 

The most well-established type of gravel we use for paver base is dense graded base (sand-set). We also refer to this as sand-set paver base. Alternatively, you could use an open-graded base. 

Weight Comparison Chart: Different Kinds of Gravel

For your ease of reference, I’ve put together this handy chart comparing the weights of regular gravel, pea stone, river rock, 3/4″ gravel, and decomposed granite.

Type of GravelWeight per Cubic Yard (average)
Regular Gravel2,200 pounds
Pea Stone2,600 pounds
River Rock2,400-2,700 pounds
3/4″ Gravel2,800 pounds
Decomposed Granite3,000 pounds

While this is a general guide, for a precise measurement of the weight of your bulk gravel delivery, you’ll want to contact the retailer directly.

I wouldn’t recommend relying on these measurements if you’re picking up bulk gravel on a trailer or in the back of your pickup and are concerned about overloading your vehicle or trailer.

My Tips for A Seamless Bulk Gravel Delivery

In my experience, if you’re ordering bulk materials, paying for delivery is often the way to go and worth the extra money.

Lay out a heavy-duty tarp, and try to get the material delivered on a driveway or other hard surface to avoid lawn damage.

Garden centers get busy, so plan ahead and schedule your delivery in advance so you can avoid delays in your project.

Related Frequently Asked Questions 

Thanks for still being here! Don’t leave before reading my answers to some of the most frequently asked questions I get about gravel and bulk gravel deliveries.

Will a yard of gravel fit in a pickup truck? 

Yes, if you have a full-size pickup truck, you should be able to fit one cubic yard of gravel in it, but the weight rating of your truck is an important consideration before getting gravel dumped inside its bed.

Make sure you have a wheelbarrow on your property for when you haul your gravel home. If you have a large wheelbarrow, you may find that your yard of gravel is equal to between 9 and 14 loads. 

I also recommend purchasing a large, heavy-duty tarp and having that in the bed of your pickup to “catch” the gravel. That extra layer of protection can help to prevent damage to your vehicle, and makes collecting those last pieces of gravel easier.

How much does a yard of gravel cover at 3 inches? 

If you cover a space with a 3-inch layer of gravel, you can expect a yard of gravel to cover approximately 100 to 108 square feet. 

How Much Does a Yard of Gravel Cover at 3 Inches

How much gravel you need depends on your project. Figure out how many square feet you need and then plan accordingly. 

My lawn size measuring tool allows you to quickly measure the square footage of your project area using satellite imagery. Try it out so you order the perfect amount of material for your project. Here’s a quick demo of how it works:

Demonstration of Measuring a Lawn Using's Lawn Size Calculator

So, How Much Does a Yard of Gravel Weigh?

As I’ve discussed here, the weight of a yard of gravel can vary depending upon the specific stone material you’re working with, but on average, the weight ranges from 2,200 to 3,000 pounds.

Decomposed Granite (DG) tends to be the heaviest type of gravel, and standard fill gravel tends to weigh less than other types of stone. This makes sense when you consider the particle size of the gravel and how dense a cubic yard is.

Knowing how much your materials will weigh is a big part of the planning process when it comes to lawn and yard projects.

If you need gravel for a future project, make sure you know how much weight you’ll have to deal with, and if you have questions, leave a comment below. 

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Sarah Jameson’s blog, Lawn Chick, is read by over 2 million homeowners each year and she is regularly cited as an expert source of lawn care knowledge by major publications. Her goal is to meet you where you are, and help you achieve a yard you’ll be proud of. Ready to take the next step toward improving your lawn? Grab her free lawn care cheat-sheet: What to Do When - Take the Guesswork Out of Lawn Care, or upgrade your garage by browsing her favorite DIY lawn care products.

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