on Thursday, June 08, 2017
Repairing a gravel drive the easy way
Do you live on a gravel road or driveway? Does the gravel drive have potholes, washboards, or gravel erosion? Over time these problems will get worse and become a problem that must be dealt with to minimize damage to vehicles and provide greater comfort while driving.
The first step to repairing your gravel drive is using a tool such as a box blade with scarifiers or a land plane with scarifiers to break up the overall surface to a universal depth and create a smooth level surface. If you have potholes, you will need to churn the drive down to just below the surface of the pothole, but not into the drive’s foundation.
To start this process, you must set the scarifiers to a desired depth, typically this is only a couple inches deep. Avoid digging into the drive’s foundation. Perform a small test run to determine if you have the proper depth. Typically the foundation will be built with sand or materials that are half the size of your fist or larger. If you reach the foundation, you have gone to deep and should raise your scarifiers. If you have the proper depth set, you can now use the box blade or land plane to work and level the entire drive surface.
Once you have leveled the drive, it is time to determine which size and type of gravel you want to apply. If your drive is soft and gets muddy at times, you may want to put down a layer of 1.5” to 2.5” crushed gravel as a base. This will produce a stable layer that provides extremely good drainage and helps to prevent erosion in many circumstances. Once you have a solid layer developed, adding 0.75” and smaller gravel or class 5 will create a well packed smooth surface once compacted.
Now that you have chosen your gravel type, you will need to hook up your rear blade to the 3pt on your John Deere utility tractor and smooth out the drive. If you need to fill in certain spots with more gravel, a John Deere loader also does a great job lifting the heavy materials. To smooth out the drive, you will set up your rear blade perpendicular to your tractor and in its reversed position. Let the blade of the rear blade float on the ground which will smooth out the loose 0.75” and smaller gravel to give you a surface that will compact smoothly.
You can also use a land plane instead of a rear blade to do the same job. When ready with your land plane, make sure your 3pt is set to the “float” position so that no down pressure is used on the ground. This will help to create the smooth surface that you are looking for in your drive. To start working with the land plane, start in the center of your drive and move the land plane over the surface. Gravel and other materials will begin to accumulate in the interior of the land plane. Once the land plane is filled with aggregate materials, the gravel will begin to spread evenly over the surface to fill in low spots and remove high spots. It is important to make several passes to ensure a smooth even surface.
Repairing your gravel drive can take time, but it is worth every minute spent on your John Deere tractor. Once repaired, it is important to keep your drive maintained. Watch for our next blog post on Maintaining your gravel drive.