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Driveway Installation & Repair

Driveways are often overlooked when planning to build a new home or adding a new project to an existing property. Before a gravel driveway, concrete driveway or asphalt driveway can be installed, proper grading and drainage need to be considered and performed by a driveway contractor.

This is where Drain + Tree comes in. We have the knowledge and materials needed to help your driveway installation project run smoothly from the start.

Whether your site is large or small, our professional crews will clear vegetation or brush, grade the path, consider drainage, install drain pipes and flatten or level for final driveway installation.

We know that one of the biggest problems with and old driveway in the south is erosion. We are often called to evaluate driveways that need a more effective solution to prevent this from occurring. Our Drain + Tree crew will do their absolute best to find reliable and efficient solutions to help create a safer and better functioning driveway for you and your family, no matter where you live.

Gravel Driveway Installation

Most people are shocked at the time it takes to construct non concrete driveways properly. Specialized tools and implements are a must for proper installation and construction. Often, drainage and run off are not adequately considered. The amount of time that it would take to do the job without a skid steer, scarifier, vibratory compactor and other implements is immense. Professional driveway construction can save money and time over the years to come.

A gravel driveway is really a small road, and road construction takes time. A long-lasting gravel driveway needs to have all of the same design characteristics of a well-constructed roadway.

Gravel Driveway Installation

Driveway Installation Process

Drain + Tree driveway contractors
  • 1

    Planning & Preparation

    Knowing the best placement for the best drainage is paramount to the success of a new driveway project.
  • 2

    Drains & Ditches

    A culvert drain, basin drain, trench drain, ditch or swell can dramatically increase the use and lifespan of a gravel driveway. We think the best solution is a culvert drain.
  • 3

    Base Layer

    Getting proper depth and compaction is key.
  • 4

    Top Finish Layer

    Crusher run, recycled asphalt or granite fines make an excellent finish and a smooth ride.
Gravel Driveway Installation

Planning and Preparation

Your driveway may have to traverse obstacles through your property such as large trees, ponds, wells and steep hills. Knowing the correct pathway and planning width and drainage is very important before you begin installation.

The minimum width of a gravel driveway is 14 feet. We have seen drives as narrow as 10 feet, but we only advise that width in points of the drive where there are no other options.  A narrow drive causes many problems later, like vegetation washouts. Even if you do not think that you will meet another vehicle on your road, you should consider this “what if” scenario.  Often the steepness of the shoulder grade will play a factor when two cars compete for gravel drive space.

Turnarounds can influence the width as well. Curves should be gradual where possible and accommodating longer trucks and trailers should be considered.

Culvert Drains & Ditches

Proper drainage and water management is often overlooked when installing and maintaining driveways. A culvert is a structure that allows water to flow under the driveway. Most common culverts are black corrugated pipes. The culvert pipe comes in many different sizes ranging from six inches and beyond.

Culverts are critical to proper water management and drainage. Culverts are commonly used both as cross-drains to relieve water from ditches at the roadside, and to pass water under a road at natural drainage and stream crossings.

We install culvert drainage systems and cut swells, and we divert standing water with proper ditching.

Base Gravel Layer

The first step after planning is removing the top layer containing vegetation and topsoil. Topsoil and roots do not pack well and hold water. We need to cut down to the clay. The topsoil can be relocated and piled for future use on the shoulders to help grow vegetation for erosion control.

With the top layer removed, we then want to pack in the clay. In Georgia, we have a bounty of beautiful red clay that packs well. It must be elevated higher than the surrounding ground or properly ditched. We properly construct the clay layer and pack it in.

Packing the base layer can be performed in many different ways. The basic premise is to remove all water, air pockets and large cracks, as we are aiming for maximum compaction. Heavy equipment such as a track loader or dozer is often sufficient for packing, but a pad foot roller provides the best results.

Always remember that water is the enemy of permeable driveways and roads. Surface water erodes gravel and turns the subsoil soft. A possible choice to prevent this issue is the use of geotextile fabric. Geotextile fabric is a manufactured cloth that goes onto the top layer of soil. We achieve proper compaction, roll the fabric and pin it into place. Next, we spread gravel over the fabric material. Fabric is great for keeping a separation from the rock and clay, which prevents mud. It also provides additional structural support.

At this point, we can haul in the heavy loads of gravel. We will add a minimum of four inches per square foot of the base layer of gravel that consists of larger rocks. Numbering systems for rock sizes fill the industry jargon. Heavy construction sites use a number 3 stone, which is a large diameter rock. Most driveways begin with a base of “34 stone” This is sometimes a blend of size 3 and size 4 aggregate. 

Number 4 stone is easier to find at a local quarry. This size granite is large enough to be a base. You can save nearly $100 per truckload if you can source #4 size recycled concrete. It is not as aesthetically pleasing, but it works on a base layer, especially if you plan to top it with a smaller aggregate.

Top or Finish Layer

With the base layer established, you can now top the base layer with a finish or top layer consisting of smaller gravel and mixtures. “57 stone” is sometimes considered, but is a bit more expensive. We recommend crusher run, also called “GAB” (Graded Aggregate Base). GAB is a mixture of 57 stone and M10 Manufactured Sand, a gray, coarse sand commonly used in construction. Crusher run is easy to pack and smooth. It also looks good and requires relatively little maintenance.

It is not necessary, but running a smooth drum vibratory roller over the top layer adds an extra smoothness to the finish. The vibration from the machine also sends the granite fines into all the nooks and crannies for superior performance and compaction.

driveway repair

Driveway Repair

Are you tired of bouncing around inside your vehicle while driving up your driveway? Does it feel like you’re trying to avoid landmines?

Our Drain + Tree team specializes in driveway repairs. We will fill potholes, deep holes, depressions and water washouts. Any improper pitch or storm water runoff problems will be addressed before a new rock top layer is installed.

Driveway Removal

Driveway Removal

Are you looking to remove an older driveway?

Our Drain + Tree team can accommodate your project by removing the top layer of material down to the earth. Next, we would assess any erosion control issues and perform regrading as needed. Finally, we could help ready the area in preparation of your desired landscape plan.

Other Types of Driveways

At this time, our specialty is gravel driveways. For asphalt driveways, permeable pavers or concrete driveways, we advise contacting another contractor.

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We offer free estimates and a fair price for your job well done.

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