Steep stone driveway.
Hey, looking for a bit of direction. I am designing a sloped dry piece of land that does receive seasonal rains. I am unsure of its grade but it raises at 20° and is clay and rocks. This will eventually be a small homestead site, so I will be considering more than just access in the long run.
What I am having trouble finding out is information on sloped driveways, construction to accommodate trucks and machinery, technic and permaculture points of view. The examples I have seen have been good but also too light weight for this site and its needs. It will be of stone as that is what the site has.
Links, ideas, advice or a chat all welcome.
How many acres are you talking about Jesse ? How wide of an area? I am asking to see if you have enough space to cut across the grade and make a "zigzag " road of sorts rather than straight up the slope.
Be aware that stone driveways if stone is fist sized or larger, will beat the heck out of any vehicle that isn't a truck. Part of our driveway was stone and it banged up the bottom of our car. We had to get the drive resurfaced with smaller material just so we could sell a couple of rather low old sportscars.
Hey, thanks for your replys.
This site is one acre. I plan to escavate a house site and some terraces.
So The size of The rocks plays a pretty big role does it? Would a gravel base improve apon using smaller rocks?
There shouldnt be much troubles gathering The right sized rocks.
Structure of The road is something i have yet figured out.
Although it is a small property a zig zag or an 's' curve has crossed my mind. Perhaps lowering The angle and carefuly intergrating it into The site climax design.
Is there some reason why you need to have a driveway that goes to the top of the property?
Any sort of switchback road, on a property that size, will hog too much of your land. If the buildings were closer to the bottom of the slope, perhaps a golf cart or powered wheelbarrow could be used on the steeper areas. A switchback trail large enough to accommodate those vehicles, would not become the dominant feature of your property.
The most suitable house site is at the top of the property, as will be water storage,shed e.t.c access will need to be made in order for the escalator to reach all areas being landscaped.
My concerns with a straight driveway are run off, traction and capacity I.e for a light car up to a water tanker.
Next step more observation I suppose, of the angles, materials and so on involved.
I will also compare and contrast other possible house sites again, better now than later.
jesse dylan wrote:Being under resourced as I am, a weight, protractor and string have become my angle getting tools.
There other simple and more accurate ways of recording slope?
A longish board, 1x4 is enough, about 10 to 20 feet long, your typical fencing board. through any long timber would do, even a longish straight branch or pole.
A carpenters level, bubble level, etc, anything that shows when it is level.
Set one end of the board on the ground, put the level on the top, at the far end of the board measure the distance from the board end when held level down to the ground.
you know the length of the board, the height of one end, and can either measure the hypotenuse or use Pythagoras's theorem.
Hey, cheers Rhys. I was thinking something similar using string and a vertical member (with string level). I reckon this will help with spacing of contour marking (for mapping) and also an acumulitive high over length. Heading out to the site tody, to ive it a go.
If the road with a switchback were designed carefully, it could double as water catchment (diversion swale). Is there a way you can post a satellite view of the land?
As someone who has had to have a driveway built four times because it gets washed out, I advise you to spend a whole lot of time studying the design of your driveway. It is horribly expensive and/or inconvenient to lose a driveway.
Also, think very hard about putting your house at the top of the property. The best site for houses in a permaculture design is usually mid-slope or lower because you can provide pressurized water via gravity. Also, fertility moves downhill, so mid-slope or lower is good for accumulating fertility around the house where most of the food should be grown.
A couple videos that might help (you need to register to see the free videos):
I am curious about this topic myself. I need a nice short level peice if driveway, but I do want it to be done right.
I have been told limestone road base compacts into a great drive way, tough yet permeable.
Limestone #2 Roadbase is pretty durable except to rushing water (which has taken out our limestone driveway a few times). Unless your drive will face floodwaters, I think it can be very durable if well-constructed with good drainage around it (ditches, swales, culverts) and crowned in the center to shed water. Not much of an issue if you're building it yourself, you can take all the care you need to make it right, but hiring someone to do this kind of good job would be very expensive.
I can't remember in which of the Geoff Lawton videos he talks a lot about his farm road and how it is built.
Hey again. I spent last night on the site, tried to get more accurate measurements.
Would be on a whole 10°,15° in parts. I reckon a straight drive should be fine. With careful planning and design of course.
The property is sloped, with the house site close to the top of it.
It is however 3/4 or 2/3 the way down a small mountain. The water shed of the area is substantial. Flowing over hard clay and rock it appears to pick up pace, with erosion gullies here and there ( a small or manageable gully does enter and exit the property).
Property water will be harvested and gravity fed. A small pressuriser maybe be called for in the future but shouldn't be a drama of it is.
I had a go marking contours with what I had at hand ( small A frame, plank of wood, level and rope) and got enough information to know a few new things.
1) make/use better tools
2) shouldn't have more than a few decent terraces to make a big difference.
A zig zag driveway could be beneficial, however with restraints and a good design I think I will be able to create property with a straight driveway and have it absorbe any inefficiencies with superior system overall.
The time between earth works and house construction will be significant.
I hope to have a stone sealed drive way before june-ish which will be the rains. So making a structurally sound alright driveway in the dry or a wet season is my goal now. Cheers to everyone for you ideas and help. Even though I am young enough to know better, I don't, so any tips about this site or posting will be helpful.
The gully may be dammed and used and a season dam or water systems. Which may be a down the track situation.
I am working on significant water systems for this site. I have established multedia aquaponics systems in the same climate zone and intended on integrating the aquaculture and other water systems into the site as a whole. Good feed back after the first few years should balance out any doubts or whims.
I have seen a few of Layton's vids maybe worth checking out again. I am some what familiar with well known north american peraculturalists, subject authors so if there are some lesser known folks anyone knows of I would love to check em out.
Cheers, I will re read my water harvesting books through out the designing with Lancaster's work as some what's of a corner stone.
I will definitely look into Darren Doherty. Can't place the name.
The way you've drawn those ditches looks like French drains - I think that's an idea worth trying, even though I'm still not much in favor of a straight up drive. Just be sure to make your drains off-contour so water doesn't collect under the roadway.
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