The massive 400 foot driveway is in, but it took a million pounds more rocks than they initially quoted!
In April 2021, Al and his team from Tackaberry Construction near Perth, Ontario came to install the driveway at Let’s Grow Farm. The build took 5 days, and there were many surprises along the way, including the realization that there is literally 10 feet of topsoil on this property!
In this article, I’m going to share with you the process from start to finish, including four videos of the actual driveway construction.
Day 1: An Expensive Yet Amazing Surprise
The first day of the driveway install at Let’s Grow Farm was an eventful one. First, the 30 ton excavator got stuck twice and had to be helped out by the bulldozer. Why (or how) did this mega machine get stuck? It turns out there was an enormous amount of topsoil on the ground, which made it very soft – too soft, for the excavator to successfully navigate.
Once the excavator was set free and they began digging with it to make space for rocks, it became clear that we were dealing with far more topsoil than any of us could have imagined. Al, Tackaberry Manager, said this was “the most topsoil I’ve ever seen on a property” in all his years of work. This made my wallet tremble slightly, but to the farmer side of me it was music to my ears.
It turns out, there is literally 10 feet of pure, organic, topsoil at the front of the farm, which is perfect for growing. Imagine what an apple will taste like after it has been grown in 10 feet of the richest, black organic topsoil you’ve ever seen? I’m excited to find out, and hope you are too. Here’s the video from day 1.
Day 2: Digging Deep and Dumping Rocks
Day 2 of the build was all about digging down with the excavator to make space for the truck drivers to dump rocks, followed by the bulldozer, which would push the rocks into the abyss and then drive over them to compress them down until the driveway was level. I think there were six dedicated drivers moving rock to this project, and at the end of the day there still was a long way to go.
The excavator driver had been digging down about 6 feet until he reached water, but even at that depth he could put the entire excavator bucket underneath the water. There was almost no end in sight of the soft soil.
Day 3: Shot Rock & The Final Culvert
Amazing progress had been made when I arrived at the site on day 3. They had made it about 300 feet in with the driveway at this point, and were almost ready to install the final culvert over the stream near the end of the driveway. In this video, I filmed a lot of the rock dumping and bulldozing of the rocks, which is fun to watch, and you might notice the quality of this video is a little better. I’ve got a 4K Go-Pro but am running it at 1080p in this video I believe. Will eventually film at 4K I just wanted to slowly make my way there from 720p and up.
Anyways, they made it to the stream and the excavator driver installed the culvert so the driveway could go on top without preventing the water from flowing. You’ll see lots of good footage of how the culvert was centered and installed in the video of day 3 below.
Day 4: Finishing Touches
On day 4, more loads of rock were brought in to finish the 400 foot driveway, and they installed a turnaround at the end of it. The turnaround is basically an “L” shape towards the left where I can park and then back out to drive back out again. At this part there was no longer 10 feet of topsoil, only a couple feet deep, so they didn’t have to dig down as deep or use as much rock. This sped up the process and allowed them to progress much more quickly.
In this video, I walk down the driveway with you so you can see the job well done.
Conclusions – Driveway Install Complete
On day 5, some more rocks were dumped, and the very end of the driveway was shaped with some finishing touches using the excavator.
A fine coat of rocks will eventually be spread over the top of the entire driveway, but not until after my Earthship house has been built. (If they did that now, the heavy trucks that will drive on it to deliver resources for the build – for example, cement trucks – would wreck the finish on the driveway).
The driveway is now in and the farm is taking shape. In total, 2.4 million pounds of rocks were used to build the 400 foot driveway at Let’s Grow Farm. It was a lot more rock than expected, and much more expensive, but the driveway is beautiful! Thanks to the boys at Tackaberry for the job well done.
I hope you enjoyed watching the construction process of the driveway here at Let’s Grow Farm. Lots more exciting videos and articles to come to be sure to subscribe to our newsletter if you haven’t already.
Thanks for reading. Let’s Grow!