Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Maintaining the driveway

Have I ever mentioned how incredibly long our driveway is? We're about 1800 feet off the town road. And we love that - it's very private back here. It's scenic to drive through the trees, to meander through the twists and turns, and to finally come upon the house.

But is also quite a lot of work. It's work in the winter when Chris has to clear snow, it's work in the spring when we have to fill in ruts after mud season, and it's work throughout the year to make sure it doesn't end up a washboarded mess. We've been building up the driveway ever since we bought the land. It started as a skidder track that was a mud slick when it rained. We added culverts and brought in load after load of rubble to fill it in and make it (barely) passable as a 4-season road. Then we brought in smaller stone to smooth it out. Then we top dressed it with "fines" to give it a nice driving surface. That took years. And every year we had to keep adding to it.

So last year we decided to top one section with blue stone mixed with stone dust to see how it held up. The theory is that the stone dust acts like a binder to keep the stone in place. And it held up GREAT! Even through the intense snow removal we had last year.

So we bit the bullet and ordered materials. First we had to drop what I call dirt and what our materials guy calls screened stone to fill in ruts and form a solid base.
It begins.
The difference between dirt and screened stone is that screened stone has a very high mix of small rocks and sand and other stuff that hold it in place. It may look like dirt but it sure doesn't act like it - because when it rained really hard soon after having this dropped, it didn't slime up or move at all.
Doesn't that look like dirt???
Our materials guy is awesome. He tilts that truck and rolls forward and spreads the materials so evenly that it barely needs any tractor work. On the main part of the driveway anyway - up close to the house he had to dump it thick so that Chris could get it in all the nooks and crannies.
Spreading the load
It took five loads to coat the entire driveway all the way to the main road. Once it settles a bit we'll have him bring the mix of blue stone and stone dust to finish it off. Then, if all goes according to plan (hah!), we'll just have to grade it each spring to keep it in shape. And maybe top dress it a bit. You know, work at it.


  1. Sounds like the perfect solution to a very long driveway. I think that is the same kind of stuff we poured for our back patio. It's held up great over the years but is finally being replaced with concrete now.

  2. It'd be a dream to pave the whole thing but just not economically feasible for us. The stone mix seems to be doing the job - it's really locked together well.