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I have inherited a 270 feet long driveway along a steep hill. It is part gravel/stone, and part concrete.

It is in very bad condition. Every winter, rain threatens to wash away parts of it. Driving up and down is very bad for the car, and deepens the damage depending on the skill of the driver.

The previous owner has applied some concrete, but only in a few select spots.

I guess the final fix for it is to have a professional pour concrete on it. That is not in the cards at the moment, though.

Is there a DIY way to make the road more driveable, at least temporarily? I have some gravel about an inch in size, but I fear that the car wheels will simply dig it out again due to the inclination if I put it in with nothing to glue it to the ground. Might mixing concrete with gravel work?

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6 inches of gravel after grading. You want something that will impede fast water flow while providing drainage. – Fiasco Labs Jun 10 '14 at 15:15
up vote 6 down vote accepted

You don't need to concrete the whole thing.

You do need to shape it correctly. Even in arid areas (seems likely from the picture), water is the major thing that destroys poorly built roads - when it does rain, the water flows down the road and moves material - unless the road is shaped to divert water off to the side in a short distance, so that there is never so much water collectively running on the road that it moves the gravel. In a first step this might consist of adding water bars every once in a while to divert water to the side, but a complete solution consists of putting crown on the road, so that rather than having two wheel ruts (which become water channels, and then become deeper ruts) you have a slightly mounded profile and all water runs off to the sides (and, if need be, you have adequate ditches to handle the water once it is off the side of the road.)

Depending on finances and inclination, you can do this piecemeal over time for little cash with shovels and rakes and implements of destruction, or you can hire a contractor with a road grader. If the contractor also has a rubber-tired vibratory roller and knows how to use it, so much the better. You may want to remove (or break into smaller chunks) the random chunks of concrete, unless you are adding sufficient material to bury them. You will occasionally need to re-rake as your tires move material, but it should not be frequent or major if you drive calmly and are not spinning your tires. If you allow tire ruts to remain, and it rains, you'll have worse ruts after it rains. An old bedspring or section of chainlink fence can also be used as a maintenance drag (vehicle-pulled rake-equivalent) to help keep things where they should be.

If your gravel is 1" down to fines, it should work. If it's 1" stones with no fines, it won't pack well - good for drainage, not so good as a road surface. A gravel/stone supplier should be able to get you a few loads of "road base" which will have enough fines to pack.

If you work on it piecemeal, work from the top down, so each section you complete will stay put.

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+1 for the Arlo Guthrie reference – James Van Huis Jun 10 '14 at 20:48
This is great, thank you. I'll experiment with a section and see what I can get done piecemeal. – Pekka 웃 Jun 11 '14 at 17:55

I have always used bricks. A flat brick placed in cement form 25" X" will take you 18 bricks laid flat. 58 times of this will equal 60 feet each road side, so 60 x 2 x 2.25 thickness gives the following materials:

  • 20 bags of pure Portland cement 30kg
  • 40 bags or equivalent of 1/4 inch crush stone for the mix
  • 42 bags of sand

Ratio: Mix 1 bag Portal, 2 bags of stone, and 2 bags of sand.

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Hi Richard, thanks and welcome to this site! I ended up putting concrete on the part of the driveway that needed most urgent repairs for a number of reasons, but this is valid advice nevertheless. Could you edit the answer to remove the caps lock for future generations? – Pekka 웃 May 13 at 13:31

For a lower cost solution, talk to your local conservation district; instructions on how logging roads are built is available.

I'm also looking into EcoGrid, Hoofgrid, Stabiligrid sorts of products. Seem to run $3..$6 per square foot, 20+ year life. For 100' x 12' = 1200 sq ft, $3600..$7200 plus grading and gravel though. Geotextile might be required underneath. So I may reserve this for trouble spots.

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