On the side of my house I have brought in lots (1-3' deep, 15' wide) of dirt (very rocky and not so rocky) i plan putting gravel down on top of it for a drive way/RV parking. What prep work do i need to do before I lay the gravel down on it ?

  • 4
    compacting and making it leveld would be good, do not forget some drains
    – Traveler
    Aug 5, 2023 at 5:52
  • 1
    Rock would have been better. Loose dirt will settle, maybe not level. You usually undisturbed dirt for a base, then rock to build it up with gravel on top.
    – crip659
    Aug 5, 2023 at 10:18
  • @crip659 maybe the area wasn't level so needed some fill to build it up.
    – Huesmann
    Aug 5, 2023 at 14:42
  • I'd say none. You get some gravel and then drive on it for a year. Then you do it again. I've brought in dirt - I would've skipped that. Now you have to drive on that for a year, to get back to undisturbed soil. Also, parking on a porous surface would violate my city ordnance.... just saying.
    – Mazura
    Aug 5, 2023 at 18:17
  • It's not a Q of surface prep so much as it is how long will it take to stop shifting. Which is whenever you've dove on it enough to equate to ~3 hours of steam rolling. So ~5y and two or three times doing extra gravel IME and then it's as hard as a rock
    – Mazura
    Aug 5, 2023 at 18:23

1 Answer 1


1-3 feet deep? Just dumped? Spread it out and wait for spring, unless you want to move most of it off to the side and put it in right.

If you need to build a driveway up by that much, you need to spread 4-6", compact it, and spread 4-6" and compact it, or, having not done that, you need to let the freeze/thaw cycles of Winter take care of that for you. If you don't have winter freezes, then time and driving over it may eventually get there, but it will still sink at random if not well-compacted when placed.

If you attempt to compact it while it's 1-3 feet deep, it will appear to have some effect, perhaps you'll move stuff around to make it seem level, and by spring you'll have an extremely bumpy mess as the base settles over winter. You can only effectively compact a thin crust (4-6") over a pile that deep. The base will be unsettled under that crust.

If you spread gravel/stone before you get the base resolved, you'll need a lot more gravel/stone in spring to fix the holes.

  • Compact it like a professional, or you're at this for the next five years, +1. But I'd just call the truck, have it dumped, spread it, drive on it, and repeat. Compacting is like... work.
    – Mazura
    Aug 5, 2023 at 18:28

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