DIY Stone Measurements Tips and Tricks

Stones sit in a puddle, found in one of Ottawa's local stone quarries.

A Guide to Measuring Quantities of Crushed Stone for Various Home Projects

Summer is here and home landscaping projects are in full swing. If you’re planning a DIY project with crushed stone this summer, local stone quarries can help you get the products you need to get the job done.

Crushed stone is an excellent material to use for a variety of home projects. From garden pathways to driveways, crushed stone offers a natural look all on its own, and is often used as a base layer for patios and driveways made of poured concrete or patio pavers.

Furthermore, stone also works well as a surface material for roadways, driveways, dog runs, dry creek beds, and other landscaping projects.

It provides a sturdy base for concrete slabs and pavers, and friction for vehicles when used on its own. Stone also allows for proper drainage, making this a versatile and durable material to many home project needs.

Once you’ve decided where to get your quarried stone, you’ve got to figure out how much you actually need for your project.

How Do I Calculate
How Much Stone I Need for My Project?

Crushed stone is generally measured in cubic yards. To calculate the cubic yards of your project area, measure the surface area of your project in feet.

For rectangular or square spaces, multiply the length (L) by the width (W) to get the area in square feet.

Circular locations are a bit more involved, but in general, measure the diameter and divide it by 4. Then multiply this number by 3.14 (or pi) to get the area of the circle in square feet.

(Note: For curved, winding, and other irregularly-shaped surface areas, contact quarried stone suppliers for help with measurements.)

Take the area in square feet and multiply by the depth (D) of the location in feet. Then divide this value by 27 to get the total cubic yardage needed.

The formula used for square and rectangular areas is:

(L x W x D) / 27 = cubic yards of crushed stone needed

The formula used for a circular area is:

(Diameter / 4 x 3.14) x D / 27 = cubic yards of crushed stone needed

As an Example

Say you want to order crushed stone as a base for a new concrete patio. The length of the patio is 20 feet, the width is 10 feet, and the depth is 6 inches (0.5 feet).

Use the formula to calculate the cubic yards for a rectangular area:

20’ x 10’ x 0.5’ / 27 = 3.7 cubic yards

Always round up the number so you have a bit extra to work with. So instead of ordering 3.7 cubic yards of stone, you will order 4 cubic yards of crushed stone.

To accurately measure the area for your project, first spray lawn-marking paint to create an outline of a path, patio, or other spaces designated for crushed stone.

Walkways, Patios, Driveways – Know the Difference

For projects such as walkways and patios, use a 3- to 4-inch depth of crushed stone beneath a 3- to 4-inch depth of surfacing material.

You will need to dig a depth of 6 to 8 inches in total. The total depth of crushed stone needed depends on whether you use it only for a base layer or for both a base layer and a surfacing material.

Since 4 inches is less than a foot, convert this value to a decimal. Divide 4 by 12 (the total number of inches in a foot) to get 0.33 feet.

For larger projects that will support more weight, such as driveways, use at least an 8-inch depth of crushed stone. For the formula, convert 8 inches to feet by dividing 8 by 12 to get 0.67 feet.

Crushed stones bases should provide a level surface, stability, and sufficient drainage

How Deep Should A Gravel Drive Be?

Gravel driveways should have three to four layers. These include:

  • The optional sub-grade—compacted soil at the bottom of the excavated area for the driveway.
  • The sub-base—the bottom layer of crushed stone that sits on top of the sub-grade and consists of larger crushed stone aggregate.
  • The base—a layer of slightly smaller crushed stone that sits on top of the sub-base and may also include stone dust or fines.
  • The surfacing material—the surface layer of gravel that is poured on top of the base layer and completes your crushed stone driveway.

Each layer of your driveway should be about 4 to 6 inches in depth. This means the total crushed stone portion of your driveway should be 12 to 18 inches deep.

How Much Does One Cubic Yard
of Crushed Stone Weigh?

In addition to measuring the amount of crushed stone you’ll need in cubic yards, you may also need to measure the amount you’ll need in tons.

The standard weight contractors use for crushed stone is 2700 pounds per cubic yard. So to calculate the amount in tons, multiply the number of cubic yards you need by 2700, then divide by 2000.

Always Order A Bit More

Remember to always round up the amount of crushed stone you’ll need so you don’t risk running out of material before completing your project.

Ordering a bit extra will account for compaction and ensure you have enough. A general rule of thumb is to add 10 percent of the amount you need to your order.

So, using the formula and dimensions from earlier, say your calculations show that you need 3.7 cubic yards.

Ten percent of 3.7 is 0.37 (3.7 x 0.10), so add this to your total, giving you 4.07. Depending on the quarry you source your gravel from, you may need to round up or down for your order.

If you want to order crushed stone by the ton:

(5 x 2700) / 2000 = 6.75 tons

You could then round up to a total weight of 7 tons.

If you’re don’t like math, try an online calculator. Simply input your measurements and the crushed stone calculator will do the rest of the work for you.

You can also contact your local gravel suppliers for help choosing the right amount and type of crushed stone from stone quarries to suit your project needs.


Concrete Ready Mix Truck

Over the past 30 years in the Ready Mix Concrete business TRP Ready Mix has completed several commercial and residential projects, both large and small. Some of the more notable projects completed include;

  • Completion of several bridge pours on 417 highway
  • Water Tower in Russell
  • Large Agricultural barns

Contact Information

AL Blair Construction
7 Labrosse, P.O Box 220
Moose Creek, ON K0C 1W0, Canada

Phone: 613-538-2271
E-mail: [javascript protected email address]