Driveway on a steep slope??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by kentuckysteader, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. kentuckysteader

    kentuckysteader Active Member

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    The entrance to our land is pretty steep (12%-20%) it winds downhill for about 250' and is quite narrow (about 20').

    We are thinking of trying to truck in top soil and/or fill dirt to build up and even out the slope a bit and try to get it down to something a bit more manageable (12%-14%) ...

    I'm really unsure about this though and would like to hear what other folks thoughts are ... I figure we will need to dig ditches on either side of the new drive to help manage water erosion ...

    Questions:

    Has anybody done this?

    Do we want to use a heavy top soil underneath and then fill dirt and rock/gravel on top?


    Thanks and God Bless!!!
     
  2. Old Vet

    Old Vet In Remembrance

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    I also have a steep driveway I would try just a load of fill dirt then see what it is like after a hard rain. I can't build mine up without it washing away because it is straight up hill and even though I have a ditch along side it will wash out every time I fill it up. Good luck.
     

  3. littlejoe

    littlejoe Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you are running straight up a grade without any sidehill slope, you need to install some water stops. Simply a hump in the road high enough, to detour the water off of the road.

    If you are on a sidehill and cut a ditch on the top side, you either need the water stops to keep erosion minimal, or place culverts underneath your road to let the water escape to the downhill side. Your rainfall/topography/soil will determine the size and placement.

    20% is pretty darn steep, even in good weather! Any hill can be bad when the weather is?
     
  4. EDDIE BUCK

    EDDIE BUCK Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My driveway is pretty steep also. I tried rock about dime size, but it would wash away. Then I put down a layer of softball size rock and topped that with the dime size.The small rock settled down in the large rock and its been there ten years with out any washing away. Eddie
     
  5. pheasantplucker

    pheasantplucker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    any chance of making your drive cut back and forth a time or two (zig zag) so as to make the incline less severe?
     
  6. Yvonne's hubby

    Yvonne's hubby Murphy was an optimist ;) Staff Member

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    Your best bet is to use the fill dirt, top soil is too soft and spongy to build with, and have it properly graded with good drainages set up, but the most important is be sure to crown it properly so the water runs off the sides instead of down the middle. A layer of #3s need to be packed in tite, followed by a good coating of "dense grade" which will pack nicely and give you a good road.
     
  7. CindyOR

    CindyOR Well-Known Member

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    Our property is 330' across and our driveway is at a 16% slope. We did manage to zig zag from one side to the other, adding in 3 corners on our way up to break up the steepness. Our neighbor did not put any corners in and water rushes off his driveway and washes everything down - gravel, mud etc. The neighbor across from his driveway had to put in a drain grid across the end of his driveway to direct the water in to the ditch, as it just kept coming down and in to his garage.

    Even with the corners, our gravel, in 12 years, has taken a beating and it is time to resurface the top. What I would do differently is add some humps to direct water off from the top slope. We have ditches and for the most part the water sheds off at the first corner, but in hard rains it does tend to get going and put gouges in the lanes. So I would definitely put in the humps. And I would put more gravel on one side than the other to 'tilt' the bed so the water runs off in to the ditch.

    It's kind of a pain to deal with a steep driveway, but oh, the view once you get to the top:)

    CindyOR
     
  8. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    as other have said: make cuts to get the water off the road, also make cuts to get shed of the water in ditches. fill dirt is the improper soil, use fill soil as others have said. its the amount of water and the velocity that cuts the road.
     
  9. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    In this day and age Why not forget the ditches and just put in drain tile?
    Is fill soil much cheaper than the lowest grade of rock when ya figger in the trucking?
    Have you figered the amount of fill you will need? It sounds like you would need 100's of tons to make much difference. Usually its much cheaper to move dirt from another part of the property.
     
  10. How Do I

    How Do I Once I was seven years old

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    That's what worked for us when nothing else would. Those rocks also come in handy for throwing at stray dogs and stray neighbors. :lookout:
     
  11. kentuckysteader

    kentuckysteader Active Member

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    What are #3's and what is dense grade???
     
  12. NorthCountryWd

    NorthCountryWd Well-Known Member

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    Not sure what the solution would be without seeing it, but wanted to add one thing:

    HUD has restrictions on how steep a grade is too steep for access which varies from place to place. It's called functional obsolescence and can be very subjective. Considering FHA is backing most of the loans nowadays, if you ever go to sell it buyers may have problems getting one approved.

    Don't know if you ever plan on selling, but may want to take that into consideration.
     
  13. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................As someone has already mentioned , you need to put some curves into your road if possible to try and reduce the slope . Rain runoff , if not controlled , will cause tremendous soil erosion and ultimately reduce the market value of your property . You can accomplish this by removing the energy from the runoff , or by Slowing it down or disrupting it's continuity of flow . This is accomplished by literally building angular speed bumps across the road that divert the flow , OFF to one side or the other . You should really consult with a knowledgeable road builder so you don't make any mistakes . , good luck , fordy
     
  14. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    Unless you have a way of compacting the fill dirt, and have rock lined ditches, I wouldn't contemplate using dirt or fill dirt... it's just going to wash away. Go with clay, cover with geo fabric, and gravel.

    I've got sloping roads, and the only thing that works for me is big rocks, with little rocks filling the voids, and gravel on top. And, good ditches. Without ditches, the road sinks below the surrounding area.

    No matter what, you're looking at a money pit.
     
  15. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    As a longtime trucker Ive always been a fan of good ditches making good roads . But the key isnt the ditch its the drainage and lately Ive seen some great things happen with drainage tile. You can really get that tile down there and that makes a soild road where you wouldnt want to put deep ditches or dont have the space for them.

    The key to not being a victum of the last sentence quoted is to spend a bit more up front and do things right he first time.
     
  16. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    I had a similar situation with 2 steep parts to my drive. I consulted with my state soil conservation office. He came out and gave me suggestions and booklets outlining road building and drainage. I spent quite a bit of money and an incredible amount of time as it was a constant maintenance issue. Problem was eventually solved with the transfer of deed and the purchase of a property with better access.
     
  17. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    We have a lot of roads on our land, several miles (8? 10?) worth, for logging and farming.

    Cutting back and forth across a steep slope is important.

    Using stone to build up a base, then gravel and then sand - not top soil - is important. The stone forms a base. Boulders are great to start with.

    Water bars, ditches, crown, tilt, culverts, raising the road up and anything else you can do to make water stay off the road are key. Water on the road is bad.

    The more free fill you can get and material from your own land the better.

    If you're going to have a long driveway, consider owning the necessary equipment to build and maintain it.

    Like someone else mentioned, the state government often has guidance on this topic. If nothing else, observe how they build roads, what works and what doesn't.

    For us it is an ongoing process. Here's a recent post from my blog on the topic:

    http://sugarmtnfarm.com/blog/2008/11/stone-delivery.html

    Cheers

    -Walter
    Sugar Mountain Farm
    in the mountains of Vermont
    http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
    http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
    http://NoNAIS.org