So we bought our home last July, we never noticed that right in front of the mailbox which is an area with a big patch of dirt and grass is where the mail truck swoops in and delivers the mail, we have tried to refill the hole from the tires with dirt, then with rocks, but each time the tires dig in so much that it's worse now, especially when it rains, two huge puddles. It's now two holes from the tire going in and then out. We are happy and appreciative that we get our mail in a timely fashion but how can we best get that hole to be a flat surface? maybe more dirt? like a hill? help!


2 Answers 2


Not dirt, ideally. But you can use dirt if you can't get better material.

Better material would be crushed rock, ideally the sort that has all the fine dust from crushing still in it. Rock without fines can also work, but is less ideal.

Biggest problem with "filling a hole" most people have is the fact that you will lose (as you have seen) if you just put stuff in the hole you have. It will be saturated by any standing water, and it will be looser than the hole, and will get shoved back out of the hole easily with traffic.

So, let's look at what you could do differently for the poorest but most available fill - the dirt you have right there. You want to dig out the area of the hole you have to (at least) the full depth of the deepest part of the hole over the whole area of the hole, and somewhat beyond. Then you fill the hole with dirt - but not all at once. Put in an inch or two of dirt, and compact it throughly - don't use a large tamper (ie the common 10x10 square you probably don't own and would be wasting money to buy) - use something like a sledgehammer held head-down, handle vertical, and lifted and dropped over the whole area until it's all compacted. A 2x4 stud (inexpensive) is also effective used the same way (lift and drop on the end.) Then add another inch or two and repeat. In theory a high-heel dance party in high heels you don't mind getting dirty could also work, but it's not one I've tried. Physics says it should work, though.

If you "upgrade" to crushed rock or gravel, you'll want to add a layer of (ideally, but difficult to get in small quantities) geotextile to keep the dirt below from "eating" your rock fill. Probably the closest thing to geotextile commonly available in small amounts is weed-block fabric or filter fabric. The idea is that water should drain through but your rock is not pushed down into the dirt below. Otherwise the tamping is similar.

In both cases you do want to build up slightly, because tamping is good, but not perfect, and also because removing standing water greatly reduces the progression of holes from wheels, while allowing even a small puddle to develop quickly grows as water and dirt splash out. Running your own car smoothly back and forth over the patch (without stopping as the mail-truck does) will also help to compact it. If you do see it starting to puddle, fill it back in sooner rather than waiting for it to get worse (it won't get better by itself.)

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    I would like to try this first rather than try to move the mailbox. That mailbox is in there good and we are both not that great with these types of projects, I think we will try the first suggestion, It's either this works or we get a P.O. box. I'll get my high heels out just in case the sledgehammer trick fails. Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 16:14
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    This is the correct way to repair the pothole on a dirt road, which is effectively what you have, even if the vehicle is traveling much slower. Two things cause a pot hole, softer ground and a hammering affect by tires hitting it that increases once the hole starts to form. Pot hole fixes don't last because they are filled in with soil that won't compact well enough and often they do not even compact the soil that was put into the hole. So use a good fill, like 'pit run' and compact it well.
    – Ack
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 17:29
  • #2 or #3 crusher rock, use smaller stone on the bottom (compact). Do not use pea-gravel. Before finishing, sprinkle cement in the hole as you fill it up.
    – J.Hirsch
    Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 14:42

There are only a few solutions here.

  1. Pave the area with asphalt or concrete. Gravel or other rabble will only work short-term.
  2. Move your mailbox closer to the road and reseed or replant the area.

Option #2 is the way I would go.

Apparently there is a need to clarify option #2 with more detail.

The USPS has guidelines concerning height as well as setback from the road on mailboxes. Before moving the mailbox you should contact USPS to make sure you are in compliance.
Based on your description, "area with a big patch of dirt and grass" and your request for how to repair I assume the problem area is on your property. My suggestion is to move the mailbox closer to the road so that the mail truck can safely use the shoulder of the city/county/state road in compliance with USPS and local traffic regulations.
The other option is the suggestion from Ecnerwal to run a horizontal extension to move the box closer to the shoulder. You'll still need to make sure you are in compliance with USPS regs.

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    I knew someone was going to say that. :), we are so clueless, ok, so I will likely be on here again asking how to move the mailbox in a few weeks. Its in there pretty good with a wooden post. Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 16:10
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    Depending on a number of factors that vary with locale, closer to the road may be a problem (due to snowplows, for instance.) If you want to move the box while leaving the post where it is, all that takes is a pole of some sort (my post is 10 feet back from the edge, with a 15 foot pole on it - 9 feet towards the road, 6 feet back to where it ties into the ground for support.) Proper mailbox height SHOULD permit a snowplow wing to slide under the box, and this way the post is way too far back for them to hit that. Paving makes no sense here, as the road isn't paved.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 16:17
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    You just dig it out. It takes some work - know any teenagers? If you pave you're going to have to lay in a good base to pave over - see Ecnerwal answer.
    – HoneyDo
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 16:18
  • You need to check the local regulations and with your USPS before you move the box. If it's acceptable, then it's a good idea.
    – Ack
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 17:23
  • True. There are always setback and height requirements but not usually a problem.
    – HoneyDo
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 17:47

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