Using a laser level
Grading your driveway at your new home with a laser level will give you a quality job. You may have one or know someone who will lend you one. Lasers are very delicate so be careful with them. You can also rent them if you want to do it yourself. Go to a local rental place and ask them if you can rent a laser.
A transit level takes two people to operate, one to look through the level and the other to hold the measuring stick. The transit level works well, it is just a little slower. Transit levels are much cheaper to buy and rent. Set your transit level up in a spot where you can see your whole work site. But not in a place that needs to be graded. Check your transit often to make sure it is still level.
If I remember correctly I could see the measuring stick about 150 feet away. How far away you can see it, depends on the size of the numbers on the measuring stick. I also taped a measuring tape to a board for checking the grades. The numbers on the measuring stick that comes with a transit level are nice and big for seeing at a long distance.
A laser level can be used by one person. The laser level sits off by itself out of the way. It needs to sit where you can see your whole site. When you get it set up you don't want to have to move it again. All you need is a two inch board, there is a device that comes with the laser level that fastens to your board. You walk around with the stick checking the grade. There is an electronic eye that sends a signal to the device on the stick. When the bottom of the stick is on grade the device will beep.
Carry a can of orange paint with you so you can mark that spot as grade. You can even dig a few spots down to grade. Once you have a few spots to grade it is just a matter of working the area between your level spots. It will take a bit of work but it’s easy to do. A laser level will work for inclines as well. You can build a crown on your driveway to. Build and check your high points and then do the sides.
Once you are compacted and graded up nicely you are ready for the finished product. Spend a bit of extra time on the grading if you are putting brick down, because you will see every bump if you don’t. With asphalt and concrete you can come and go a little because you can adjust the thickness of the material you are installing. If you are within a 1/2 an inch of grade for asphalt or concrete you will be ok. If you are out a 1/2 of inch of grade with brick it will be very noticeable.
If you can’t get your hands on a laser level or a transit level, a string line will work just fine. Drive small wooden stakes every 16 feet along both sides of the driveway across from each other. Put a mark on the stake 4” higher than the height of the base grade. Put a loop in the string and hook it to the stake at the 4” mark, pull it tight so it won’t slide down the stake. Take the other end of the string to the next stake and hold it tight. Do not let the string sag in the middle.
Get a helper to hang a line level on the string. All you have to do is raise or lower one end of the string until the line is level. Now you can go along the string and measure to see if you have 4” everywhere from the string down to the base grade. This also works across the driveway. Check the grade across the driveway exactly the same as you did along the driveway.
If it were me and I was building a driveway for asphalt, concrete or brick, I would put the base down and drive on it for awhile. Driving on it will settle it as fast as anything. Don't drive in the same track all the time either. Make an effort to drive on all parts of the driveway. Your top will last longer and your wheel tracks won't show as bad.
Every new home I worked at I used my TD 8 dresser dozer for spreading the crush or screenings as these little machines can do a nice job. They have tilt and angle blade for putting material anywhere you want. I use the same machine to bring the driveway within a 1/2 an inch of grade.
If you can hire someone that has a laser level mounted on the blade of the bull dozer, it would be worth the price they charge. Once you are graded and compacted you are ready for whatever it is you want for a top. The driveway should look good for the new home. Do a really nice job on the grading and your top will go on smoothly.
There are rental shops everywhere. They would rent anything from a bull dozer to a laser level. Mini excavators work well too for grading a driveway. They have a little blade on them for moving material. The blade on a mini excavator will cut little bits at a time until you have your driveway to grade.