Gravel driveways need maintenance. It’s simply a fact of life. And the better job you do of maintaining a gravel drive, the better it will serve you, season after season.
At Frontier, we often say “every season has its tasks, and every task has its tool.” When it comes to maintaining a gravel drive, we believe there are really just two seasons – getting ready for winter, and recovering from winter.
Getting ready for winter. Prepare your gravel drive for winter in the late fall. There are a couple ways to do this, with one option being to use a rear blade. Set the rear blade level with the ground and at a sharp angle relative to the tractor. Working along the edge of your drive, use the rear blade to pull gravel that has been pushed off the edges back toward the center of the drive. Then, adjust your rear blade to be perpendicular to the tractor and reversed so the cutting edge of the blade points backward. Use the rounded edge of the blade to spread the gravel evenly over the surface of the drive, which will also help fill in those tire tracks that were created over the course of the winter.
Another approach to maintaining a gravel drive is to use a land plane. When you’re on site and ready to work, with the land plane on the ground, set your 3-point in “float” position. Since the 3-point doesn’t exert any down pressure, your land plane will now float along the surface of the ground. Beginning in the center of your drive, run the land plane over the surface. Gravel and other material will begin to accumulate in the interior of the land plane. As it fills, the gravel will begin to spread out evenly over the surface of the drive. Make several passes until you’ve covered the entire drive from edge to edge and created a smooth, even surface.
Assuming your drive was in relatively good shape to start with, you should be ready for winter.
Recovering from winter. If you’ve scraped snow off your drive during the winter, then you may have pushed a good amount of gravel off the edges, as well. Spring is a good time to pull that gravel out of the ditches or grassy areas along your drive. A loader mount rotary broom with optional gauge wheels is a good tool to use for this. Then you’ll repeat one of the processes described above.
Depending on how well the gravel has fared over the winter, you may also need to add a top dressing of gravel to your drive at this time. You can order a load of gravel delivered to you, which you can draw from and spread yourself as the need arises. A 4-in-1 bucket and tractor loader will be indispensable for moving this gravel from its storage place to the drive. Then use your rear blade to spread it from center to edge.
Or, you can have a load of gravel tailgated onto your drive. The gravel truck driver will spread the gravel out of a dump truck tailgate directly onto your drive as it moves from one end of the drive to the other. The result should be a smooth blanket of new gravel. You can then use your rear blade or land plane again to shape it as needed.
And remember, always read the Operator’s Manual before operating any piece of equipment and follow all operating and safety instructions.