How to Prepare Uneven Ground for a Track or Driveway
If you want to make an impressive driveway at the approach to your home or need to improve access to part of your land with a suitable track for motorised vehicles, you do not necessarily need it to be completely flat. Both agricultural paths and drives can go up and down inclines or even slope sideways to an extent so that water runs off at one side but not the other. In short, both tracks and driveways don’t need constructing to the same sort of standard you’d expect of the public road with a cross slope or camber. However, what you do want to avoid is uneven ground.
The uneven ground makes the construction of a hard surface you can drive over much trickier. Generally speaking, the surface will not last if you have not done the essential groundwork before you start laying slabs, pouring concrete or throwing down gravel. What’s more, the driver of any vehicle that goes over an uneven section will immediately notice how uncomfortable the ride is. As time goes on, stresses in the upper area will lead to potholes and further disintegration requiring patch repairs. To overcome this, focus on evening out the ground before you do anything else. What is involved?
To begin with, mark out the area your track or driveway will go. Do this even if there is already an old one in place that you will break up. Pegs and string is still the best method. Place a spirit level on the string to help you establish when you have got the string perfectly horizontal. Next, work your way along the string with a tape measure to identify all the places where the ground is closest to the string. It is in these locations that you will need to remove soil to level it out.
If you are constructing a small hardstanding area, then digging out the high points by hand is sometimes feasible. However, for a truly professional job, you will want to hire the right machinery and the know-how that goes with it. At BTAC, we have diggers and excavators for drives, farm tracks, and even complete road construction, so turn to us with confidence for this stage.
When digging down into the earth to prepare the ground, you should excavate about three inches further than you will need for the surface of your drive. This is, so you have enough room for the substrate. Type 1 sub-base is the most common material to use for substrates. It settles relatively quickly and is porous so that rainwater will flow through it. However, the substrate itself will not be perfectly level no matter how carefully you have dug it down. To ensure it has no uneven areas, you’ll need to compact it, ideally with a compactor built for the job. Again, this is something BTAC can help you with.
Once the substrate is thoroughly compacted, it is time to construct the surface of your track or drive with whichever materials you choose. Thanks to the preparation work you have invested in, your tarmac, shingle or concrete will last for much longer and cost you less in ongoing maintenance, too.
Until next time folks!