When we decided to invest in a tractor for our homestead we already had a list of projects in mind. Things that have been needing to be done, but for lack of proper equipment, were just sitting around.
One of these items is our driveway. We have a long (approximately 600 feet) driveway. From the roadway it goes down, then back up, and then around in a large loop around our front yard.
Over the past 4 years there has been some wear-and-tear as well as run-off that has damaged the driveway in one way or another.
As such it left us with not only needing to give people a map to our home, but a map on how to get up the driveway without getting stuck or hitting large pot holes.
It has been needing maintenance for some time - and now with the purchase of a tractor, it is going to get it.
Using a Box Blade
I was told by a few people that while a box blade is very versatile and useful, it can also take a lot of getting used to. Having now experienced it for myself, I can only agree with them.
Since our driveway had been compacted over 4 1/2 years without any maintenance, here is what I found worked for me:
I started with the ripping tines extended all the way down. I also adjusted the top link so that when the implement was lowered the tines would dig in to the ground long before the scrapper.
With that I was able to break up the rock, soil and grass overgrowth. I did my best to keep the box up, just using the first 4" or so of the tines to break up the surface of the driveway.
Once I had some loose material to work with I raised the tines so that they would not dig so far into the earth when the box scrapper was lowered all the way.
This worked great, it allowed me to still break up some material while also dragging material to the low spots.
Avoiding Hazardous Obstacles
I had one primary concern during this entire project: My water line. You see the only way to go from my water meter to my home, without going through the woods, is up the driveway.
As such, that is where the water line runs.
The last thing I needed to do was open the water line with the box scraper. Thankfully, I was here when the water line was installed, so I know where it runs.
Unfortunately due to the run-off and damage to the driveway I was no longer confident that I knew how DEEP it was. The best I could do to avoid this problem was to turn off the water and then proceed with caution.
While turning off the main water does not stop me from breaking it, it would make dealing with the break easier, should it happen.
As it happened, I was careful enough and no damage was done to the water line. Essentially, if I knew the water line was near I went slow so I could manage the depth of the scraper more precisely.
In our area the frost line is only at 12" - so our water line is not all that deep.