Building a Roadway or Driveway to a Dream Home
Building a roadway for your new home that has a few trees, and likely has a lot of topsoil is the easiest kind to build. When culvert installation is completed and you are able to get on your lot you can begin removing the top soil. Pile the top soil in a place that is out of the way so you can use it later. Topsoil is very expensive so save as much as you can.
Do not disturb any more ground than you have to. The more you disturb the more you will have to clean up later. Use an excavator to load the dump truck with topsoil and haul it to another part of your lot. I found it easy to follow the driveway by making a track with the excavator.
I normally dig down about a foot so I can put gravel back in. How much you dig out depends on the material in the ground. If it is good material you won’t have to take as much out. Maybe all you will need to do is take the topsoil off and level it up. The important thing is that the base of your roadway is solid. Don’t worry about mixing a little mud in with the topsoil it will all work together.
Grading the driveway will be one of the last new home projects to do. Once all of the heavy equipment is finished and out you can start bringing in the screened or crushed gravel for the top. The finished height of the driveway should be slightly higher than the lawn, 3-4 inches if possible. If you plan on finishing your roadway with asphalt or any other surfaces bring the gravel back up to the original ground. The water won't run across a roadway that is higher than the lawn. The snow will blow across better too.
For now get the roadway passable, so you can get to work on the new home basement. After I get the topsoil off I put a good layer of gravel on just in case it rains. The gravel keeps the mud down! It depends on your finances what kind of material you use for the roadway. If you are feeling rich you may want to buy screened or crushed gravel for the full depth. The crushed gravel lies together nicer and makes a better base. The crushed gravel is also more expensive.
If you are trying to save money, bring the pit run up about 6” and leave the rest for the screened or crushed gravel. This material will make a great base for whatever you put on top, such as asphalt, brick or concrete. Important! I do not recommend that you put rocky gravel under asphalt or brick driveways! Once the material is in place you need to compact it thoroughly so it will never settle later.
Don’t compact the material if it is too dry, you need to water it down a little so it will stick together. You can over compact too, if you over compact it will start to crack so be careful. Once you are compacted you can spend some time and check it for grade.
Make sure the base of your roadway is a foot wider than your finished product. If your asphalt or concrete top is going to be 10 feet wide, make your base 11 feet wide. Doing this makes sure you have lots of room for the top. Making it wide is extra important if you are laying brick. You need the sides as good as the center so the outside brick doesn’t settle. Keep your base a consistent width, and follow the path exactly.
Important! Never use material that won't pack down if you are leaving the top gravel. Screened clear rock will not pack because it is usually round, and continually rolls. The best material to pack is crushed gravel. The sharp edges hold the fine material in place Fine screened sand will not pack either! If your top doesn't pack down well, the snow plow will push it all over the place. That's pretty well it! Not as complicated as you thought, right!