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DIY Driveway Ideas

Posts: 165
Location: St. Andrews West, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
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Hi everyone!

Hope you all had a good Christmas. No complaints here. Got to spend some much-needed time with family and friends. Kids and wife are happy so I am too! :)

After searching Google and the forums here, I didn't really find much related to driveways so I figured I'd just take a chance and start a thread. So far the permies community has not let me down and I'm sure you guys have lots of valuable information and experiences to share on this topic.

As a homesteader and environmentalist, what should I be thinking about and looking for with with my "permaculture glasses" on? Is there a type of preferred DIY driveway that's eco-friendly? Is it possible to stack functions with a driveway and if so where/how?

Stuff to know:

1. I have access to a small gravel pit and pretty much an endless supply of stones. I'd love to do a cobblestone type thing but my driveway is very long and I'm not sure how to flatten them out so it's not just a bunch of jagged rocks sticking up everywhere.

2. I don't have much of a budget so I want to try and do this all myself over time, in the spirit of true homesteading life.

3. Presently, the driveway is compacted dirt covered in a thin layer of gravel. My grandparents owned this place before I did and ordered a load of gravel a couple times a year. But I'll be damned if that's what I'm going to do! It's such a waste of money and terrible for our plants that are in close proximity to the driveway. Plus during the winter, I end up plowing most of the gravel in to the lawn with my four-wheeler.

What do you guys do? What are my options? What would be the most cost-effective, durable solution that does the least harm to the soil? Or better yet, is there a driveway solution that actually offers uses besides just driving on and visitor parking? I'd love it if my kids could bike and rollerblade on it too but that's not as important as it fitting in with our property's existing permaculture design.

Any and all guidance in this matter is most appreciated! Thank you in advance for your advice! Cheers.
Posts: 1233
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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Hi Matt

IIRC, there are a few threads on roads in the earthworks section here that might give you some ideas. Roads are all about water, how to let the road survive w/out causing more problems elsewhere. Snow plowing on semi-hard surfaces is a special consideration I don't know much about, but others might comment.

Lastly, be sure to check out your neighbors. Local practice is pretty much pure Darwinian economics and, while you may feel you can do better, anything you plan must be rated against the bench mark of local practice. Believe it or not, that is often a very  high bar if one considers all factors. Road building seems pretty straight forward until you begin to try to consider all the requirements. Then it becomes high craft, even art.

It's a worthy endeavor. But be careful or your grand dad will be having a good laugh at you wherever he may be!

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