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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
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    Dec 2001
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    Grundy County, IL
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    JD 755

    Default Driveway Culvert in lawn area

    I am going to cut a swale or shallow ditch alongside the higher side of my gravel driveway, and I need to run two culverts under the drive to let water move to the low side. There is finished grass lawn on each side of the driveway. Any suggestions as how how to finish the ends of the culverts so I can easily mow over/around them, or not have to mow there, and so they look nice for a finished yard?

    I won't be using big culverts. There is not a lot of elevation change and there is not "running water" that you would notice. I'm just fixing two spots next to the drive where water gravitates to, causing soft spots, causing potholes. I don't know how small culverts come, but I'm thinking 6 or 8 inches will be plenty big for this.

    How should I finish them inside the ditch/swale?

    We have some rock landscaping so I probably could do something like that around the downhill exits.

    Thoughts, suggestions?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Elite Member
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    Jul 2007
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    Default Re: Driveway Culvert in lawn area

    I'm going to two different possible methods of doing what you want. Either use a shallow cross pipe or a french drain mattress. Then you won't have any headwalls to deal with or mow around.


    http://www.dirtandgravel.psu.edu/res...spipes_web.pdf


    http://www.dirtandgravel.psu.edu/res...h_mattress.pdf

  3. #3
    Super Star Member
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    JD 4300, JD X485 JD 4x2 Gator, JD 425, JD455

    Default Re: Driveway Culvert in lawn area

    Where are you located? That will possibly enter into a recommendation.

  4. #4
    Bronze Member
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    JD 755

    Default Re: Driveway Culvert in lawn area

    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Where are you located? That will possibly enter into a recommendation.
    I am in Illinois. So we get freezing and frost, if that's what you are considering.

  5. #5
    Bronze Member
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    Default Re: Driveway Culvert in lawn area

    Quote Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
    I'm going to two different possible methods of doing what you want. Either use a shallow cross pipe or a french drain mattress. Then you won't have any headwalls to deal with or mow around.


    http://www.dirtandgravel.psu.edu/res...spipes_web.pdf


    http://www.dirtandgravel.psu.edu/res...h_mattress.pdf
    Those are good articles. Thanks! Unfortunately I think my situation won't fit those cures, because my driveway is virtually the same grade as the lawn, at least on the higher side of the drive. I'd have to build the driveway up considerably to use either of them. On the downhill side of the drive, at the two low points, there is enough drop off to have a small culvert or french mattress open onto the lawn.

    My elevation changes are minimal. Any casual observer would call it "flat". I shot grade at 20' intervals along the high side edge of the drive for 400', and from highest to lowest was only a difference of 7.5 inches. And there are no big changes as you move into the yard, away from the drive. But the overall pitch of the land, however slight, is across the driveway. So the two lowest spots along the driveway are always badly potholed.

    It was a little funny actually, when I plotted the elevations on a scale drawing and marked the various places with potholes (in addition to the two big pothole areas). I had one 60' section of driveway that had elevations of +7, +6, +6, and +7 inches (compared to my benchmark). And there are two potholes in the +6 middle section. So only an inch low is enough to collect water, or to put it another way, an inch high is enough to shed water.

    Our yard is not a McMansion yard. It is more like a nice-ish farm yard. I'm begining to think I'd be better off digging two little ponds, or french drains or something. Just give the water a place to soak in that is not at the edge of the driveway.

    Either that or go ahead and cut a swale, and culverts or the french mattress. If I don't gather the water somewhere away from the driveway, I think a swale is needed, just to eliminate all of the little low spots along the drive.

    Here's another thought. Could I use a french mattress that is below grade but extended out into the lawn? I'd have an drain area of exposed large stones at grade level, which would be feed into the french mattress below the driveway, then drain out on the exposed downhill side.

  6. #6
    Elite Member Gittyup's Avatar
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    Mid Atlantic
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    Kioti CK25 Shuttle Shift, loaded tires, JD X739

    Default Re: Driveway Culvert in lawn area

    I would put in the culvert pipe. At the downhill side, I'd dig a deep false drain and cap the end of the culvert pipe with a bottomless box specifically made to fit the end of the culvert pipe. The top of the box has a grate cover that is set at ground level. When (if) the false drain can't drain fast enough the rest will spill out the top of the crate. This would let you mow right over top and will look good too. Every few years, you might have to pulll the crate and empty out sediment.

    If you don't need a big pipe, maybe you can get by with the 4" corrugated stuff sold at hardware stores. They sell end-caps as described above too. Some you may have to cut the bottom out if you want a false drain underneath. If you don't want the false drain, just let it percolate out the top of the crate, or they have a pop-up version that's pretty nice too but they might require pressure. Also, a sump well can be used if you want something bigger. You can find bigger ones wherever they sell road culvert and supplies.

    I put on of the these on the end of a long buried gutter drain and it works great. Same for a garage floor drain.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member flyingcow's Avatar
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    aroostook county maine

    Default Re: Driveway Culvert in lawn area

    I had the same problem/concern as you. I had to run a 40x80ft turnaround 90 degrees from my driveway. I drive truck and needed a bigger turnaround for my garage. Elevations were such that i did not want to raise 700ft of driveway or ditch said driveway and make it hard to mow. I did not realize it was called a french drain, but thats what i did. It's in a major runoff area from a side hill, especially during spring thaw. Very little water runs across the top, just a few days when the snows really melting. Lawn is dry on either side of it, driveway doesn't punch up in spring(100,000lb loads). I am very satisfied with it. The water is running in the 40ft direction.
    TN75D, w/cab, FEL, BH
    7 1/2 ft Lucknow Blower

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