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Posted by Mary in PA on 8/2/2010

Simultaneously with the farm terrace fix, we were putting in the rest of the driveway and the turnaround circle. We used the same construction method as the first half of the driveway completed last fall – with one exception. While several excavators bid a spec of removing six inches of topsoil for the driveway, we noticed that in the first half of the driveway work we had more like ten to twelve inches of topsoil, not six. We discussed this with a family member who builds roads for a living and he encouraged us to get all (or as much as possible) of the topsoil up before putting in the driveway. He admitted that for a gravel drive, and with our use of geotextile underneath, it was not as critical as a paved roadway… but to try to get as much up as we can. So I discussed this with the excavator and even included it in the agreement I wrote up. Basically, we agreed to pay for more stone if we needed to go deeper than six inches and we would decide based on site conditions. That way, he was covered on cost and we could control quality based on how much we wanted to spend and what the soil conditions really were – rather than just saying “take six inches off the top”.


We came prepared with our geotextile and plenty of stakes, having learned from our previous experience of laying this stuff down in heavy crosswinds. But on this day, our problem was no so much a crosswind and more a lack of any air movement whatsoever, as temps climbed to 95 degrees with 90% humidity. It was hot and heavy work lugging that geotextile roll about. And we had to work at a pace that kept ahead of the stone trucks. Also, laying the geo around our circle was harder than we had anticipated. The circle is sixty feet on the inner diameter and the gravel drive is twelve feet wide. Lots of walking back and forth, bending, cutting and staking the fabric. We started at about 9:00 a.m. to give the excavator time to clear topsoil and compact subsoil, and then we worked hard until 4:30 p.m. when the crew finished. They went home, we took a break and then worked for another few hours putting up silt fences, packing up the truck and general clean up. A long tiring day – and a finished driveway and turnaround.


Strip topsoil
Quality-control Check
Ready for geotextile
Start geotextile.
Large stones, compact, small stones & compact again.
Overview: looking SE to road
Overview: looking SW

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