head diy Design Fanatic: Maintaining A Gravel Driveway - Mountain Cottage Upkeep

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Maintaining A Gravel Driveway - Mountain Cottage Upkeep

Owning a second home is all fun and decorating...

said no one ever.

There's mowing the lawn, painting, roof repair, fence repair, tree and shrub trimming, septic tank maintenance, and if you have a gravel driveway; driveway maintenance.
We looked into having asphalt installed, but it was $15,000 to $20,000 because our steep driveway is about 300 feet long with a big parking lot at the top. 


We haven't won the lottery yet, so we have to do  maintenance on our gravel driveway.

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I have to tell you that we've been remiss in doing regular maintenance on the driveway at the mountain cottage. It isn't as bad as it was when we first bought the house and Mr. DIY has a 4WD vehicle, so we just kept putting it off. In 2014, we had someone fix the grading, put in drainage and drop some gravel and it's held up pretty well, all things considered. You can find that post HERE
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With the last few hard rains, the ruts were getting bigger and we were losing more and more gravel.
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The parking lot (as it is called), was full of weeds. While the vinegar herbicide works well in spots, it needs to be applied regularly. The weeds were so bad, it's hard to tell where the lawn ends and the parking lot begins.
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Here's the view looking down the driveway.
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Mr. DIY rented a tractor with a bucket and box blade from A and J Rentals in Wilkesboro. They delivered it to us.  Mr. DIY drove it up the hill and got started on the parking lot.
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Here, he's scraped the weeds away as he made a pass with the box blade lowered.
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Here's the parking lot scraped. I went around and picked up big clumps of weeds.
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Not much work on the parking lot, other than scraping the weeds.

On the way down the hill,  Mr. DIY heard a pop and the tractor stopped. We were afraid we weren't going to get the job done because we didn't have a tractor. A and J Rentals came and picked up the tractor.

Mr. DIY heard our neighbor across the way and went over to ask him if he could borrow his tractor. It was a long shot as he hadn't even met him.
Mr. DIY came back with this:
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I tell ya, the neighbors here are the best. Our neighbor wouldn't even accept any money for letting us use his tractor.

Mr. DIY was able to smooth the ruts out of the lower part of the driveway and graded the very bottom part a little more so water would run off.


The next day, we had Mike Ashley Hauling dump 25 tons of #57 gravel on our driveway and parking lot. #57 gravel is a clean large gravel that is supposed to work well on slopes.The amount we paid was $720. After the driveway is compacted a bit, we may go back and add some small crusher run, which would pack in between the larger stones. We may do this on the parking lot...not sure if it would just wash away on the slope.
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I tell ya, gravel guys are pros and are able to spread the gravel nicely as they dump. He left some extra gravel in a little pile just in case we needed to add in some areas. Mr. DIY smoothed out the edges and a few bumps with the tractor's bucket. 
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Mr. DIY added a few diagonal "channels" to a trouble spot on the hill. You can't see them here, but they are like raised diagonal lines of gravel, so that water is more likely to run off along those lines, instead of creating ruts.
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Our neighbor also gave us a suggestion to further keep water from creating ruts, but we'll share that another time.

As for more regular maintenance, Mr. DIY plans to keep up with the weeds better using harrow a friend gave him for his lawn tractor. Dragging that up and down the driveway a couple of times, once every month or two will hopefully keep it a little more weed free.

Yes, when you have a second home (or even a first), you sometimes have to spend a couple of days out of your vacation to maintain your gravel driveway.


Hope you're having a good day!

Pam

5 comments:

  1. This all sounds familiar. Dan's parent's farm has always had a gravel driveway and in the spring it became quite difficult because mud would also occur. His Dad had truck come in and drop gravel- they'd smooth it off and it would be good for a while. It always looks so nice and neat after they lay it too. That's nice that your neighbors allowed you to use their equipment. It sure helps make life easier when you have nice people nearby!

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    1. Grading makes all the difference on a gravel driveway, especially one on a slope. It definitely needs maintenance. There are about 4 houses on our street with 2,000 acres and we've met 2 of the neighbors and both are great. We exchanged numbers and they keep an eye out in their coming and going. It really was nice of our neighbor to loan us his tractor.

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  2. WOW, what a difference! We bought a cottage in the Northwoods of WI (where we have previously vacationed) this summer, and we have begun attacking some of the jobs on our ever-growing list. We aren't able to spend more than Sat/Sun there and then have a 5 hr drive home. We are TIRED! We don't want to complain, because this has been my husband's lifelong dream, & we certainly consider it a privilege to own a second home. I am not as patient as my husband is to get jobs completed--he has to remind me that we have years to get it done, but like you, I look out at our 400 ft gravel driveway covered with weeds & I'm ready to give up. While I would love to be able to "easily" use a tractor, I will keep on methodically spraying away, as your wonderful new gravel driveway has given me a goal!!

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    1. Wow, 5 hours away is far! Our mountain house is a little over 2 hours away and that's about all I can handle. We looked at a house 4 hours away, but we felt it would take too much out of the weekend.

      It takes a long time to finish big projects. I came down with lyme disease in the Fall of 2014 and my husband has been doing almost all of the projects by himself. I go up with him, but many weekends I just didn't have the strength to do much of anything.
      I'm better now, but still not 100%.

      As for the driveway, we plan to keep up with it from now on. We have a harrow and my husband will drag it behind the lawn tractor. We also plan to spray the driveway with a vinegar solution when the weeds are very small. Once they're entrenched, it takes too much to get rid of them.

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  3. I think the driveway looks great, and I know that all that work was not easy. We have a little parking spot at the lake that can hold about 4 cars. The weeds were the hardest part, it looked horrible from the road. We did the vinegar and salt thing, but the area is just so large. In the end we just let the grass grow between the gravel. Ha. But I get you. Great work and applause on your strength and tenacity!

    Jane

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