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Cheap and green options for improving a dirt driveway?

 
Posts: 80
Location: http://projectecogrid.com/
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We have some gravel, but it is mostly a dirt driveway. Are there any other options besides polluting our land with more gravel? Blacktop and Cement are out of the question, these are not very green. Just looking for other green/inexpensive ideas for a driveway! Also if there are any ideas to put over the bad areas(muddy) so the cars do not get stuck in the mud!

Thanks
 
pollinator
Posts: 2409
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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You could slowly over time, elevate the drive way so that water does not settle there but instead run off.
Where would this extra dirt come from. off your property, maybe build a pond/rain garden while your at it.
You could also use drainage ditch.

Maybe some plant with a fibrous root, that can take the abuse from the vehicle tire.
willow-archway maybe, some willow plants are only 4ft other 60ft at maturity.
There is most likely some other plant that will give the soil structure and also take the abuse.
If you find any let me know.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1523
Location: northern California
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When I lived on a remote homestead in Georgia there was a 3/4 mile long driveway with several very bad spots. The people before me even threw firewood into the mud to give vehicles some traction. Eventually I made it a point to bring my car back with as much rubble and gravel as I felt it could easily haul every time I went to town. Others staying on the site did this too. I kept an eye out for piles where extra gravel or broken up asphalt, concrete, or bricks had been dumped....often behind parking lots. Usually I would have a "mine" working and didn't spend much time looking. My strategy was to put large pieces of rubble, bricks, etc. in the large holes and then "lock" this in with gravel around and sometimes over top. The gravel is necessary because vehicle tires would often churn the rubble up on edge and make a worse mess. A couple of years of this treatment led to marked improvement, along with digging little ditches to drain the worst puddles. Another more or less desperate measure that I saw in use at another rural site was carpets!
In some areas you can actually purchase broken-up concrete; like gravel.....at comparable prices. The benefit is that it's a recycled, rather than mined, material.
 
Posts: 22
Location: Western Washington Zone 8a
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I am weighing the pros and cons of gravel (round river rock) versus recycled asphalt.

The gravel is mined, so that's not very sustainable. But it is the least dusty and relatively affordable. I like the look of it, and is the same used on our shared easement road.

I've heard that laying recycled asphalt on a hot day can make a really smooth road. My main concerns are if it leaches toxins, especially concerning in the low spots where surface water collects.
We can do a bit of terraforming to handle runoff wafter either way.

I'd love to hear more options and experiences with gravel and alternatives (recycled asphalt, or others)!

 
Posts: 947
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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Give up on having a driveway. Build a garage at the perimeter of your property and a walkway from the garage to your front door.
 
Liz Hammond
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Location: Western Washington Zone 8a
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Our driveway is 250 feet long, and it is not realistic to build a garage at the entrance. But maybe that would work for a different situation.
 
Kyrt Ryder
Posts: 947
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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My driveway is 600 feet long, and if my elderly grandmother didn't live here I would totally do it.

I might still do it, and set up some sort of cable-ferry style vehicle [though one with some power source, possibly a cheap gas motor extracted from an old riding lawnmower] to transport her to and from said garage.
 
steward
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:My driveway is 600 feet long, and if my elderly grandmother didn't live here I would totally do it.



Aging in place is an important reason why I study permaculture. Manageable transportation options in all weather for older people will keep them at home longer. As well as the temporarily injured, etc. When I had foot surgery, I wasn't climbing the four flights of stairs to my old apartment and was grateful for the elevator...and the day I could climb them again. As we set up our system here, I am always aware about how a wheelchair/walker/cane might change the liveability not only for the user but the caretaker. With one of us 15 years older than the other, this is a significant concern.
 
master pollinator
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Eliza Keeley wrote:I am weighing the pros and cons of gravel (round river rock) versus recycled asphalt.



Has the driveway been designed yet? If not, this is the most important point of decision - where it should go to avoid possible problems. We stupidly put a long stretch of our driveway in the flood channel of a seasonal creek, so when it floods, our driveway gets washed out. So far it has made more sense to repair it after each washout rather than reroute it, which would require cutting down trees and grading. But if you haven't already determined where the road will be, you can avoid this kind of nightmare.

Our road is "#2 Road Base" a coarse, rough limestone gravel. Smooth gravel tends to roll, whereas rough gravel will hold together a little better. I would personally avoid asphalt, as it smells bad in hot weather. It's just nasty.

I think this video has information about placing access routes, but I might be thinking of a different video! http://geofflawton.com/videos/property-purchase-checklist/
 
Posts: 299
Location: Oklahoma
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I have no driveway. Just park the car on the grass. When the ruts get too deep I fill them with wood chips. The grass comes back and so no permanent ruts. But a wet spring, they reappear. So it is a constant yearly maintenance and trying to park in slightly different spots too.
 
master pollinator
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Here in Maine anyway, we often cross wet or swampy areas a lot when logging; and back in the old days, as well as now, we often "Corduroy" the road. If you do a search on Youtube you will see what I mean. It would seem this was hardly permanent as cutting brush or trees to fill the wet area would not last, but it lasts a surprisingly amount of time. If you do cover the corduroy with gravel or dirt, it will be almost permanent as just a few feet down, oxygen does not get to the wood and thus does not rot.

It may be an option. Trees do grow back and so it is on the greenier side of road construction, but it also depends on how much trees you have to dispense into your road. For a few short, wet spots though, it works really well.
 
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