Driveway Relocation and Wall (Fall 2008)

  I excavated the circular part of our driveway in 2001, about a year after the house sprung up. It was always pretty narrow around the circle. When the garage was being built, i needed to widen the area in front of the house to make room for parking the cars. Well, after the builder helped me with some fill and the garage was complete, I realized we still had too much slope for my liking. Therefore, using the Earthforce EF-3, I would reengineer the driveway.

  Original Look I originally fattened up the front of the driveway by digging out some width and putting down those railroad ties. The builder added the fill to the left, thinking that we could take care of the slope by adding gravel. He tailed off the fill with a slope using the fill. It seemed unnatural and its kind of close to the little tree. But its a pretty good shot of what the placed looked like pre-Garage. This shot is from January 2008.

  Here is the progress on the driveway. This is December 2008 (one year later). Its about done, except for a few accessories (such as boards along the top). Also need to fill the area to the left of the temporary timbers. That's all turning to grass. See a larger image by clicking on the picture. Further progress awaits dryer weather (you know, when you can use the dryer instead of the cloths line?). Details of the driveway lifecycle below.

  Here is the view looking down the driveway before we undertook the project (March 2008). The builder had already deposited the fill, but it still slanted pretty severely. Notice the pre-walkway to the left. Also the tree was moved. Notice how the cars are listing to the starboard pretty good.

  Fast-forward to October 2008. The sticks and the orange line mark where the new driveway will go. I've already moved a lot of the clay from the right to the piles on the left. I also moved a bunch of the gravel the builder placed up and to the left outside of the view of this picture. The wall will go where those little sticks are, turning all the dirt area to the right of the sticks back to grass.

  Now, in November 2008, the trench is dug and the gravel inserted. All the dirt to the right of the timbers has been moved up as fill to the left. The timbers are all just sitting on each other - not very secure. After I spike them in and to one another, I'll backfill the trench. Then all the gravel humped up to the left will be spread back over to the wall.

  Here, the timbers are laid out just sitting on one another. It was a challenge to get the slope of the first timber right so that when it continues down hill, I can have one flat row of timbers on the top.

  Looking from the other direction - Since this picture, I reshaped this curve, just barely - enough to take out the straight and suggest a curve.

  One week later, still November. Nailing the sticks into the ground and into each other. The big giant holes in the ends were made by the guard rail people - way to big for the rebar spikes I'm making. The logs on the top are nailed. The ones below (past the gap) are just stitting there.

  Little junior tools used for nailing. Just bought the 1/2 in drill (in green) - the little red one was too puny. The green one drills about 12 in, enough for singles. I use the little red puny one for drilling out the last four or five inches when spiking them together. Also have that great little sledge and the digging bar. The orange marking in the middle of the green digging bar tells me the center point to make it easier to pick up and carry without adjusting my grip.

  Saws in the foreground for cutting a few inches off the ends of the timbers when putting in the deadmen (timbers to hold the wall to the ground - see below). One is a little recip saw, but not enough power. The other is a standard circular saw, but not enough depth. That's where the orange chain saw comes in - good power, good depth, but poor accuracy. Life's a compromise.

  Here is a deadman. Hold on, let me Google it . . . Yeah, that's what its called. Some people call it a tie-back, but that sounds Canadian. The deadman is spiked with long spikes into the ground in two places. The shovel to the right is my favorite manual tool.

  As it stands on Nov 23. So far, two deadman of the four planned. Yeah, some say I need one every 10 feet. But this thing's 100ft long and its a lot of work. Oh, and the EF3 above needs a valve replaced so I'm not using it much. Oh, and the g-cart has new tires. Oh, and I don't have any more timbers. So, it'll have to be one every 25 feet instead..

  Using the EF3 to backfill gravel into the space between wall and fill. Note the deadmen, all laying dead to hold the wall in. My only issue at this stage is the excess fill dirt on the fill. I had planned to put that dirt in the cavity, but after reading some wall building instructions, i figured I should put some drainage stuff in. This excess fill became a major headache, as it was all gooyey clay.

  A closer view of the gravel fill. There's a little 4" black pipe at the base of the wall. Its perforated. to let the water in to drain it down to the low part, where there are holes to let it out. I first bought unperforated pipe and had it all installed before I realized it wasn't perforated. So I took it all out and had my wife suggest ways we could roll all 100' back into something the local Lowes may actually accept as a return.

  In the mud and global warming of December after a premature freeze, here is the clay mud and goo that I had after backfilling. Also note the gravel and backfill comes all the way to the top of the third row of timbers. I went ahead and moved gravel over this goo for it to sink into. Once smoothed out (using the gravel pile in the background and the hump of gravel behind the truck), I had a little driveway cliff, about 3' tall - perfect for repelling Barbies and G.I. Joes. Not so good for the UPS and Fedex guys or the friends and family that may not see it at night.

  So, here's the solution. Another row of timbers. But since we had no more of the special 8" x 6" rough sawn guard rail post timbers, I would be forced to wait or use $500 worth of smooth cut, Lowe's brand 6" x 6" timbers. But, once again, my wife located a source of more guard rail post timbers. Fantastic! That's them, in front of the g-cart. Only one problem - they were various lengths, with some having little holes cut into them horizontally (see below). But they weren't like the other ones I was using. After mulling over the options (Tow trucks, more mud, angry drivers over the cliff), I figured the holes would be fine

  I distilled the pegging process down to these two tools (and the 4" grinder I use to cut the rebar to 14" lengths). That's the 1/2" drill with a 14.001" long 1/2" diameter bit for drilling threw both pieces and a 4 lb hand sledge. Note the drilled hole. The spike is the golden spike - the last one to go in.

  No, you are not looking at the deck of a ship. Its the finished timber height after putting in the holey timbers. I figure these holes make the guard rail posts break easier. With the two holed timbers spaced every third timber, at least it looks consistent. The scuttles, just like on a ship, will help get rid of excess water that chooses not to sink down into the clay muck and have the driveway sink.