• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

DIY Dirt Road maintenance and improvement  RSS feed

 
Posts: 34
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
my driveway and parking area was built on silty sand.  There was some remnants of gravel, but not much, and one spring, we sunk the car to the axles.

So, fall 2016, I got a load of (was supposed to be a load of crushed rock, and one load of road gravel) stones that turned out to be 3/4-1" round stuff....  that WILL NOT PACK!

I have thrown a LOT of it with the snowblower!  I hate the stuff.

this spring, I was thinking I need to tie in together with smaller stuff, like jackpine sand, or my sandy silt, then get something on top of that.

I have an issue with the lay of the yard, and haven't figured out where the best drainage would be.

But I could just build it all up, but as this is the only place we can park our cars, I need it to be usable very quickly no matter what I do.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1594
171
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brad Hengen wrote:my driveway and parking area was built on silty sand.  There was some remnants of gravel, but not much, and one spring, we sunk the car to the axles.

So, fall 2016, I got a load of (was supposed to be a load of crushed rock, and one load of road gravel) stones that turned out to be 3/4-1" round stuff....  that WILL NOT PACK!

I have thrown a LOT of it with the snowblower!  I hate the stuff.

this spring, I was thinking I need to tie in together with smaller stuff, like jackpine sand, or my sandy silt, then get something on top of that.

I have an issue with the lay of the yard, and haven't figured out where the best drainage would be.

But I could just build it all up, but as this is the only place we can park our cars, I need it to be usable very quickly no matter what I do.


Building a proper driveway means drainage and building in layers, get any of those two wrong and there is a mess.

In your case it does not sound like the base is very good, which should be bigger rocks, for really deep holes and fills, 6 inch rock or bigger, but within a foot of the surface grade 4 inch rock and gravel. Surface gravel should always have a mixture of fines and rock, but not 1 inch. All layers, no matter how deep, should be put in at 8 inch "lifts" and compacted.

It also is best to have a bulldozer. do that. That is because the lags of a bulldozer are 3 inches high or so, and spaced further apart. That is what does the work, not the blade. That merely levels out the soil, it is the constant steering that allows the tracks of a bulldozer to "lock" those rocks in place and compact the soil. An excavator will not do that because they have 3 grousers per track shoes spaced very close together; great for driving on pavement, but not so good for compacting gravel.

Then of course the road has to be shaped to get the water off the surface, as well as out of the base layers and into ditches so that the road stays dry. No water, no frost, and less heaving and mud.

Erosion is another thread unto its own, but just controlling, then slowing the water down does that, whether it be rock or brush check dams, or man made materials. As my soil engineer says, "I work in a world of gray". There are many ways to do that, bu it is not hard or expensive. But again that is another thread unto its own.
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1594
171
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jami McBride wrote:Okay - so my rock road that's been fine up to this fall, but now is turning into a mud bog with this years heavy PNW rains.

I've been talking with people about how one can deal with: sinking rock - rising mud, one guy said there is fabric you can put down to keep your rock from sinking.  I imagine there must be other solutions too, so does anyone here at Permies have dirt road maintenance experience?

I can keep throwing rock down on my driveway, but my road community did that last year on the main road and now it's falling apart too this winter - so rocking isn't the perfect solution.


(Edit to add - I've learning that not all rock is equal : )


Rock is PART of the solution, but really a good road is about drainage and shaping. Your situation really is not that hard to remedy if you have a few things, a tractor with a front loading bucket, a farming type land plow, and rock. If you can borrow the tractor and plow, that counts too. The point is you do NOT need a lot of equipment. But lacking owning or borrowing, then you can rent, but that kind of deserves its own post. I am more than willing to share on that, just let me know as its an exhaustive reply. I am hoping you have a tractor or can borrow one.

I took the liberty of taking your circles and arrows out of your drawings so I could explain some stuff. Just keep in mind, in explaining it, it sounds super-complicated, but really it is not that hard to do, nor expensive if you have some rocks you can work with. Any rocks will do, but the bigger the better (well within reason, liftable by hand in other words). I did not think you would mind as I am just trying to help you with your issue, all of which is maintenance stuff, not neglect or a poorly built road by the looks.

....

Okay in the first photo, in section one by the trees of the ditch I would put a rock check dam. This is just a rock wall that spans the ditch. This is just a loosely laid stone wall so that it retains any silt that might go down the ditch. In the second picture, which is from my farm, I show what I envision there. Nothing super hard to do, but looks good and works even better. A tractor just helps move the rocks, but is not really needed here.



Winter-Road-lowArea-Numbers.jpg
[Thumbnail for Winter-Road-lowArea-Numbers.jpg]
Rock-Check-Dam-Arrow.jpg
[Thumbnail for Rock-Check-Dam-Arrow.jpg]
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1594
171
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Again in  the photo of your place, on the road I labeled with a 2, the work here is not that difficult to do. I really just needs regrading. A grader blade works best obviously, but just some loosening with the plow, and some digging and back dragging with the bucket of a tractor will work.

Here you have some issues, but anyone with a road does. The first is that green grass in the center of the wheel tracks. If you look at the second picture you posted, you will see that you wrote "Good Road" where there is no green grass, but where the grass starts, you have problems. That is because the water (rain), is running down the wheel tracks and not making it to the ditches.

In some ways the fence COULD be moved back, but I do not think it is needed. Because it is there, the road just needs to be "outsloped" or tilted a bit to the right. In some places it is, but that mud puddle exists because the water is not making it to the ditch. A little berm of dirt has built up there stopping the water from going down into the ditch. Again this is SUPER common, and something all dirt roads get and why they are graded. This is a maintenance thing, not neglect or improper construction.

So with some loosening and reshaping, the road can slope a bit more to the right as you look down your photo.

Winter-Road-lowArea-Numbers.jpg
[Thumbnail for Winter-Road-lowArea-Numbers.jpg]
Winter-Road-Hay-Shack.JPG
[Thumbnail for Winter-Road-Hay-Shack.JPG]
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1594
171
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Now the most work is going to be in the section I numbered 3: the ditch work.

This needs some serious digging out. Again that is normal as all ditches fill with dirt over time. It just needs to be dug down about a foot at the center of the ditch, from the rock check dam built by the trees, to the french drain. This will give the slope going up to the right edge of the driveway more pitch and nothing in the way so that water coming off the newly shaped driveway some place to go. Don't dig out by the road, start there and dig down to the center of the ditch so it it has a sort of shallow and long check mark.

This will take some serious digging and the overburden (soil) will have to go somewhere, but I am sure you have a place for topsoil. Just regrade the area smooth, replant grass as soon as you can to prevent erosion. The biggest thing is to make everything transition smoothly.

I would put a rock check dam (but smaller in size) by that power pole or so. It is hard to see the actual grade, but they are great at reducing erosion and controlling water well.

Winter-Road-lowArea-Numbers.jpg
[Thumbnail for Winter-Road-lowArea-Numbers.jpg]
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1594
171
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In the third photo you posted, you have a muddy cow crossing area. I had the same issue in one of my fields as I rotational graze my sheep. I had an additional problem of having to get access to my field with equipment, and yet I have a substantial swale there. What to do?

I used a rock ford, which is just big rock spread out on the ground. In my case water can run over the rock, but it provides secure footing for my equipment and livestock. I used a low rock check dam to prevent water from running over the rock, then hitting the soil and eroding it, but that is optional, I am just explaining what I did. the two stakes indicate where the ford is so I can drive to it in the field, and avoid it when I bush hog in the summer and the grass is high.

It works really well, and should really help your cows stay clean.

Winter-Road-Muck.JPG
[Thumbnail for Winter-Road-Muck.JPG]
Rock-Ford.jpg
[Thumbnail for Rock-Ford.jpg]
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1594
171
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Naturally all my suggestions you can feel free to kick to the curb. they are just what I would do, and would think they would help. Still I am 5000 miles away.

But if you got a tractor and some equipment, it would be a fun project and turn out well in the end. What a showpiece on your farm. As people drive up you got Permies Earthworks front and center. You even got the before pictures too!

Best of luck to you whatever you choose.
 
Brad Hengen
Posts: 34
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Some valuable information here Travis, Thanks for that.

my driveway is far less complicated than these others. 
 
And tomorrow is the circus! We can go to the circus! I love the circus! We can take this tiny ad:
The $50 and Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler - digital download
https://permies.com/wiki/23442/digital-market/digital-market/Underground-House-Book-Mike-Oehler
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!