How to build a driveway on a very steep hill

There are over 34 million cars in the UK. This maybe one of the reasons you find it hard to park when you get home from work. Having off road parking can eliminate this problem, it will also bring down your car insurance and can add thousands to the value of your property. Building a driveway on a very steep hill requires much the same methods as laying on a flat surface; however laying should always begin at the lowest point of the driveway to prevent slippage. New legislation has come into effect regarding new driveways and it maybe necessary to get planning permission which will come with curtain stipulations regarding the drainage.

Locate any cables and services that might be just under the surface; television cables are sometimes not buried very deeply.

Dig out area to be paved down to a depth of 200 mm below the finished level, at the point where the drive joins the house -- this should be 150 mm below the DPC (damp proof membrane). The DPC will be visible as a black membrane running in between 2 courses of bricks. Digging out can be done with either a mechanical digger or shovel depending on the size of the area to be paved.

If there is any drainage required this should be laid now, this may be stipulated by the planning office.

Lay the geotextile membrane over the drive area; this will help to prevent weeds and other plant life growing up through the drive.

Spread a 100 mm layer of the scalpings over the area and compact with the compactor, after initial compaction more scalpings may need to be added.

Install your edging, this will form the frame for your driveway and should be laid with a 1 to 3 sand and cement mix, leave to dry before continuing. This edging will determine the level of the paving so use a string line and level at this stage.

Cover area with approximately 50 mm of sharp sand; spreading and leveling with a rake, as with all these stages work from the bottom of the hill upwards.

Compact the sand and add more where needed.

String a line from one edge to the other, making sure this is tight as this determines the height of the drive, scrape the sand to the correct level with the screed rails and the screeder board, when a block paver is placed on the sand it should be 4 to 5 mm above the finished height.

Lay pavers starting from lowest point of driveway, the laying pattern will be determined by the style of the paving. Be sure to square off the house.

Measure and cut blocks to fill in edges -- a block cutter or a petrol disc cutter can be used for this.

Spread the kiln dried sand over the driveway brushing into all the gaps, making sure that the drive is dry whilst doing so.

Run the compactor over the drive, this will compact all the pavers down to the finished level, brush in more kiln dried sand if needed. The drive will be ready to use immediately.


Check with the planning office in case permission is needed.

Always wear a dust mask and goggles when using a disc cutter.

When digging out always be on the lookout for pipes or cables.

When using a mini digger always dig away from the house.


Although anyone can hire a mini digger if you are not confident seek help from a professional.

Do not try to spread kiln dried sand in the rain.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Trowel
  • Spirit level
  • Square
  • String
  • Rake
  • Screed rails
  • Screeder board
  • wheel barrow
  • Skip
  • Mechanical mini digger
  • Geo textile membrane
  • 50 mm block paving
  • Edging blocks
  • Sharp sand
  • Kiln dried sand
  • Cement
  • 40 mm scalpings
  • Petrol compactor
  • Block cutter or disk cutter.
  • Goggles
  • Dust mask
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About the Author

Currently based in West London, bassist Jon Wilson can also turn his hand to writing, composing and producing. He has just completed a BMus (hons) degree in popular music. Wilson is building his career as a sideman to a number of up and coming UK artists.