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  1. #1
    Member
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    Mar 2004
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    36
    Location
    West Virginia
    Tractor
    JD 990

    Default How do you build a gravel driveway?

    What is the proper way to build a gravel driveway:

    1. How much topsoil should be removed?
    2. Do I need a weed blocker? What kind?
    3. What size stone should be used as a base?
    4. What size stone should be used on top of the base?
    5. When calculating how much stone you need, how do you convert cubic yards into tons?
    6. Do you build the crown before you lay down the stone or after?
    7. What is the best tractor implement to maintain a driveway?

    Many thanks,

    Steve

  2. #2
    Super Star Member
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    Aug 2001
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    13,738
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    Upper Midwest USA
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    JD_4x2_Gator, JD_4300, JD_X485, JD_425, JD_455, JD_110

    Default Re: How do you build a gravel driveway?

    Without knowing the soil type, the topography, the gravel available, or a few other things, I've no way to begin with suggestions to answer your question.

    I do know:
    Get a firm base with the desired slope, drainage, ditching, and crown before adding the base rock, and then layer in the gravel on top. To me, having the good drainage is important, which includes the crown and the side ditches and any culverts to get the water across the drive. Also important is to have a top layer (2-6 inches) of gravel mixed with fines that can be compacted to have a firm drive.
    The equipment to maintain is something that will grade the ruts or washboard out, and re-mix the fines in with the 'marbles' so a new compacted drive surface can be obtained. A gravel rake will not do that, IMO. But others have their methods that they like too. Hope this helps. Have a great 2005.


  3. #3
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: How do you build a gravel driveway?

    Follow Beenthere's advice. Only thing I'd change is to use all well graded crushed gravel.

    A yard of gravel is about +/- 3500 pounds. Depends on the type of material and how wet it is. Buy by the yard if possible.

    From what I recall a standard Tandem Dump truck will hold 10 to 12 yards depending on the box and local weight policies.

    For maintenance look at the type of equipment the county uses and try for the equivalent for your size tractor.

    Egon [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    955
    Location
    Jasper, Texas
    Tractor
    Kubota B7510HSD

    Default Re: How do you build a gravel driveway?

    See How To Build A Camp Road

    Bill Tolle

  5. #5
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    148
    Location
    Nebraska
    Tractor
    Iseki TA 210

    Default Re: How do you build a gravel driveway?

    Sros,

    Agree with all above comments... and ofcourse as noted, with no pictures or description of the site, any advice needs to be adjusted to terrain. Will add below:


    1. How much topsoil should be removed?

    Really none, unless you need to use it somewhere else, because you will need to replace whatever you remove...alot of extra work... you want the road to be at a higher elevation than surrounding ground to assist drainage. If you remove a strip of topsoil, say the length and width of the driveway, you basically just created a trench... Trench's hold water. In theory, the ground you are going to build on, unless it is plowed farm ground is compacted... leave it that way and build from there. Contour the ditches and make the crown using the compacted earth as the top of the drive way. Never under estimate the power of gravity and use it to your advantage... Water always seeks the lowest point and the path of least resistance.....

    2. Do I need a weed blocker? What kind?

    No, because on a gravel or rock driveway, there is none, except after the fact, liquid herbicides (weed killers or Roundup). The weeds grow on the top, not from down below the road. But if you are willing to spend the extra money, probably significant dollars depending on the length of driveway, you could put down ground fabric over the base material, under the top coats. This does not prevent weed's however, it keeps dirt and mud from seeping into the top layers of the road material.

    Weeds grow, even in rock roads because the seeds lay on the top, and work themselves into the rock crevices and sprout on the top layer of either dirt that has blown in or dust. They require very little material to grow. No su-layer will stop this, the only way is to either use chemicals or scrap the road and by basically pulling them out. It never ceases to amaze me how weeds can withstand the heat, and little water yet flourish. The person that can get a weed to look like just like grass will became very rich....

    3. What size stone should be used as a base?

    As large as possible and economically feasible. Also, dependent upon your use. Just cars, not trucks? Preferably at least 2-3 inch hard rock base. Avoid if possible limestone. While it is the cheapest material, it basically degrades and breaks down over time. You want to find some type of angular stone, rather than round, especially for the top coats as this will cause the material to "lock" in place and become stable. I have a couple of neighbors that went with pea gravel. Looks nice, but is always moving around and when it rains, it becomes like ice as the stone slides past each other......

    4. What size stone should be used on top of the base?

    Working from above, going to 1 inch, and then down to 1/2 - 3/4 inch.... you can always top of with fines, but realize when you plow, these will generally come off.....also, they can create some muck, especially if you use limestone....

    5. When calculating how much stone you need, how do you convert cubic yards into tons? As noted by others. See previous post....

    6. Do you build the crown before you lay down the stone or after?

    As noted by others, always build the structure first, then lay the stone down.

    7. What is the best tractor implement to maintain a driveway?

    Probably the most common is a box blade... rear straight blade also works, but not as exacting... Another feature that would assist is a 3-point "top & tilt" device on the boxblade to maintain the contour.... An FEL pointed down in reverse mode could also work but again is fairly inefficient compared to above....

    Sound like a fun project...... [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Platinum Member sneaky_pete's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
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    676
    Location
    Parker County, Texas and Santa Fe County, New Mexico
    Tractor
    Kubota B7400HSD, G1800

    Default Re: How do you build a gravel driveway?

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( The person that can get a weed to look like just like grass will became very rich....)</font>

    Already been done! Bermuda Grass. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  7. #7

    Default Re: How do you build a gravel driveway?

    1000 feet is closing in on a quarter mile..If you are heading directly up or down a hill you are ok.If the land drains across the path of your drive (no matter how little),you are building a dam and have to install some type of pipe in the low spots to let water across.Multiple low areas can be ditched down the high side of the drive to the lowest point and then put in the proper size pipe to carry water under your drive.You must check out the lay of the land and not just your property.Even though it is reasonably level there could be hundreds of acres draining across your place.Standing water equals dead ground.

    a cut and paste from another thread on the same topic.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    9
    Location
    PA
    Tractor
    NH 2120, Ford 1720 (sold)

    Default Re: How do you build a gravel driveway?

    Steve,
    I can relay my experiences from the past 13 years. I built a house at that time and put in a 1300 ft driveway. Fairly level in an open hay field. I stripped all or most of the topsoil to get to more solid ground. Whatever you do, spend the extra money and put a geotextile (barrier cloth) down before any gravel. It keeps the mud from coming up in the gravel. I put around 5" of #3 limestone down first planning to choke in with 2b. Originally, a triax would cover an area of about 10'x100' so it took 13 triax loads. Finally choked in the #3 after 12 years and put 3 triax loads of 2b on the original #3. I agree with all of the posts on drainage, alot depends on your slope. I use my front loader and rear blade to maintain the driveway. I don't have a problem with ruts, just the center hump building up from gravel movement. Hope that helps. Good luck.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    445
    Location
    NE Indiana
    Tractor
    JD 855

    Default Re: How do you build a gravel driveway?

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( 1. How much topsoil should be removed? )</font>

    All of it. Your road is only as good as the subgrade. How much topsoil do you have?

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( 2. Do I need a weed blocker? What kind? )</font>

    Do you mean a herbicide or a geofabric barrier? If you're below the topsoil, and don't wait around for weeds to establish themselves, then you should be OK without a barrier. The geofabric can help you out if you have a weak subgrade, however.

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( 3. What size stone should be used as a base? )</font>

    I would follow local practice and tune it to local conditions. If you have a good, solid subgrade, something that doesn't move when you back a loaded dump truck over it, then you can get away with a single 6-8" course of State DOT road stone. The designation varies from place to place, so you may want to call your County Engineer and discuss it with a couple of gravel yards.

    If your subgrade is mushy, you may want to undercut it by a foot or two, put down geotextile, and build up a base course with three inch stone, or whatever the locals use for that task.

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( 4. What size stone should be used on top of the base?)</font>

    Whatever your state DOT uses for road base. Generally this is a 3/4 to 1-1/2" max, well graded, crushed stone material with enough fines to tie it together.

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( 5. When calculating how much stone you need, how do you convert cubic yards into tons? )</font>

    Depends on a lot of factors, including how dry the stuff is. Figure on 100 - 135 lbs / cu ft. There's 27 cu ft in a cu yd.

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( 6. Do you build the crown before you lay down the stone or after? )</font>

    I'd do that last, after all the other work is done. A rear blade is generally the tractor implement of choice.

    The key issues in making a gravel road, any road really, are drainage and compaction. You want to keep water off the road. The crown helps. So do ditches that carry the water somewhere else. If the road is on a hillside or otherwise catches a lot of water, you may need to construct diversion ditches or berms, and maybe a culvert to get the water across, under the road.

    You want to kep your road course and your subgrade dryish.

    Compaction. You'll probably want to rent a roller or vibrator plate. Everything from your subgrade on up should be compacted enough to pass a proof roll test. When you drive a loaded dump truck over the material, it should not move under the tires. I've seen people try to build driveways on stuff that wouldn't pass a proof-walk.

    Bring up your material in lifts of about 8 inches, and compact each lift.


  10. #10
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    63
    Location
    Southern middle Tennessee
    Tractor
    MF 135 soon to be Kubota

    Default Re: How do you build a gravel driveway?

    I don't want to steal this thread but I hated to post another question about driveways so I hope it is okay to share. My son has a driveway that is very steep, maybe 30% grade or worse for about 100 feet and was wondering what would be the best thing to hold this hill. It has been a driveway for some time now but does wash pretty bad. Would it benefit any to come back and put larger rock on an already established base although not too good a base obviously. I understand the necessity of keeping water off of it. I had thought of concrete but on a winter day it might be more of an adventure than gravel.

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