Gravel Road Retaining Wall

One of the requirements to obtain a building permit in our county (among too many other requirements) is that we must have a gravel road for the contractors to drive on.  Four inches of gravel deep, 12 feet wide, with a 15 foot vertical clearance.  I suppose this is so that no one will get stuck on our property, or perhaps so that the building inspector won’t get his truck muddy, but graveling our road will be a major undertaking for us this summer if we want to get our building permit next spring.  Besides, it will also make it easier for us to drive on the muddy road after a snowstorm! 🙂

Gravel road retaining wall

This is the road inside our property leading up to our house. After a snowstorm it can get might muddy and slippery.

Oh, sure – we could just throw the gravel on the dirt road and be done with it.  The problem is that we don’t want gravel everywhere!  We have been to other houses in the area where the gravel seems to melt into the soil, migrate down slope with the rain, or bunch up in waves, leaving pot holes behind.  That’s not what we want.  We want our gravel to stay where we put it!

Gravel road retaining wall

These are some of the landscape timbers we bought. Those old fence boards? Just wait until you see what we do with those (hint: it’s another project we will be tackling next month!)

So, when we saw that our local home improvement store was selling their 8′ landscaping timbers for $1.49 each (that’s less than half the normal price) we went down and bought a pallet (72 timbers on a pallet)!  The plan is to line our driveway with a small retaining wall on either side made from the landscaping timbers – 2 high – to contain the gravel.

It also looks pretty! 🙂

We started installing the timbers on the lower half of our road this past weekend.  We already had about 25 of the timbers up on our future homestead from previous projects (you can see another taller retaining wall HERE) and with the pallet we had just bought, that brought our total of timbers up to almost 100.  Using 2 timbers high on each side of the road, that gets us 8 feet for every 4 timbers.  Therefore, we will need about 160 timbers total to go 300 feet.

Retaining wall for gravel

A hole was drilled through both timbers, then 2 foot long rebar was driven through timbers and into the ground, which makes a fairly stable retaining wall.

Along with the timbers, we also purchased two, 2 foot long 1/2″ rebar for each section.  Ray used a paddle drill to drill through the timbers two feet in from each end, then pounded the rebar through the timber and into the ground.  This makes each section pretty sturdy as there is more rebar below in the ground than above ground.  Once we get the gravel in, you won’t see much of the bottom level of timber, but it will be solid enough that my nieces Amanda and Allison can practice their balance beam skills on them!

After the retaining wall is done and the gravel is in place, Hubby will be able to use his trusty blower to blow all the debris (leaves, pine needles, etc.) off the road, to keep it looking neat and tidy!

Retaining wall for gravel road

Here is a section of the retaining wall done. Once the gravel is dumped and spread out, it’s not going anywhere!

Our plans for this spring, summer and fall include clearing a bunch of blackberry bramble for the raised bed vegetable garden, finishing the back road, completing the outhouse with a sink with running water, and getting the gravel road done.  Whew – I think our work is cut out for us this year!001

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32 thoughts on “Gravel Road Retaining Wall

  1. Nice idea, but I’d be concerned about snow plowing with the wall buried under snow. I have a 1400 ft gravel driveway and parking area. Yup, the gravel ends up in the grass every winter, but is easily moved back with a power broom attachment on the weed whacker.

    • We don’t get that much snow. The picture of snow in the post is about as much as we ever get – two or three times over an entire winter and it is usually melted within a day or two. So, we won’t even have a snow plow. I do appreciate your comment, however, as the retaining wall would not work very well for someone who does get a lot of snow!

  2. Hello Vickie,
    you have before yes a lot, but it will definitely be worth it.
    You are doing really good.
    Your considered yourself ways you can.DIY implement it yourself …..
    So we handle it even before we ask someone else.
    “Just try it”, it is said in a proverb.
    I wish you much success.


    • Thanks, Kristi! Of course, I really can’t take too much credit – my dear hubby is the one who knows how to do this kind of thing – I just play along and help! 🙂 I’m glad you stopped by. Come back again real soon!

    • Yes… that’s the idea! We will see if it works as well as we hope it will! I know that it will be impossible to keep every single stone in place, but the hope is that the work we put in now will pay off later. Thanks for your vote of confidence, Deb!

  3. Wow, you make me tired just reading about it. That is backbreaking work! It sure will be nice when you are done though. Thank you for sharing at What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a great weekend!
    Blessings, Deborah

    • Haha – it’s better than going to a gym! Although my husband does most of the work, I have proudly unloaded and stacked every single log! You should see my biceps! 🙂

  4. Your email comments are set to no reply and I couldn’t find another way to contact you, but I just wanted to thank you for your comment about my flower pins and your concern for my parents. They are fine, but just have a lot to deal with making calls to insurance companies, doctors (all their medicines and mom’s nebulizer and dad’s heart monitor were also stolen), banks etc. Plus they have to get all their stuff (what’s left of it!) unpacked. They will have to shop for so many things including most of their clothes that were stolen! Thanks again for stopping by. Have a lovely week!
    Blessings, Deborah

  5. Oh my I have always wondered how that gravel gets everywhere but where you put it lol. When I lived in Louisiana, some roads were like washboards. Love your retaining wall idea! That should teach those wandering gravel to stay put!

    • I am really pleased how nicely this is turning out. It isn’t very expensive and goes faster than you would think! I’m sure your husband could easily do something like this.

  6. So sorry you have to fuss just for a permit – argh! At least you’ll have a nice road! Thanks for sharing at Green Thumb Thursday – building paths (or in your case roads) is a handy skill! I’ve pinned it to the hop board and shared on social media – hope to see you tomorrow!

    • The permit process in our county is ridiculous and definitely overzealous, but it is what it is. Thank you for pinning! See you tomorrow.

    • Thank you, Sarah! It really does look nice because it makes the road look so neat and tidy! Once we get it all finished with the gravel installed, I will write an updated post.

  7. Wow–you make this look so easy! After hearing about your to-do list, I won’t complain about weeding and watering our yard! Thanks so much for linking to Snickerdoodle Sunday. 🙂

    • The list seems long, but we do what we can, when we can! It also helps that we would rather be up on our future homestead than any other place in the world, so everything we do is truly a labor of love.

  8. Your retaining wall looks so neat! It’s wonderful to have things look that good when you’ve put so much effort into them. Also, that is a really good price! It would be cheap over here, too!

    • Good evening and thank you! I can’t wait until the retaining wall is done and the gravel is in – then it should look really good! It’s nice to hear from you again.

  9. So smart to do it right the first time. Having the drive bordered to keep the gravel in is hard work but will be so worth it. Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY…