My home is at lower elevation from the street. Water runs down the asphalt driveway and there is a french drain in front of the garage. On one side of the driveway there is a gravel patch that is not graded away from the house. The water catches between the asphalt driveway and this gravel area and flows for the corner of the drain. Water pools at the blue circle while it enters the corner of the drain (indicated in red). See picture below.

enter image description here

I was wondering if I was crazy to want to try to regrade the gravel area myself. The section probably measures 10ft wide by 30ft long and there is a naturally lower elevation location right next to this gravel (forgive the debris in pic, just after a storm):

enter image description here

It seems like with some perseverance this would be a relatively easy task to accomplish? I am thinking I can pick and shovel the area to the appropriate grade, get some new gravel delivered and spread evenly.

  • What else am I missing?
  • I was reading online and lots of people were recommending some professional machines. But this area seems small enough to be manageable by hand?
  • I was also reading online that I might need specific soil or gravel mixtures?
  • What other advice would you give me?

Thank you!

  • It is really hard to tell what kind of slant different parts of your driveway have in relation to your house. We would need to know this before giving advice on what to do. Can you take some pictures from further out?
    – DMoore
    Mar 3, 2015 at 20:02
  • OP it's been awhile did you end up doing anything with this?
    – elrobis
    Jun 13, 2017 at 13:33

2 Answers 2


Given the willingness to devote time and energy to the project, sure you can regrade it, but looking at the photographs it may not solve the root problem.

It appears that water will sheet flow down the driveway and directly into the building...that's why the drain is there. The presence of the french drain suggests that the problem predates the gravel extension.

Diverting the sheet flow well uphill from the building will reduce the amount of water hitting the building. This means regrading a portion of the driveway (perhaps prior to the asphalt to concrete driveway transition would be easier).

  • 1
    Thanks Ben! Yes, the driveway does try to divert water to the side, but then the elevated gravel traps and guides it straight for the corner of the house. I think the slopes might be hard to see from the pics. What do you think of the feasibility of the project with shovel/pickaxe? Nov 4, 2014 at 4:03

Possible? Yes. But I wouldn't be out here doing it as I like my back too much. A walk behind blade or skid steer would be the fast option. If you're committed to doing it by hand, find some nearby teens and pay them to help.

There is always a surprising amount of dirt with a project like this - be sure you have a plan for what to do with it all.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.