Tips for Using a Small Driveway Grader

Updated February 21, 2017

Found commonly in rural areas, gravel driveways require maintenance in the form of grading. Grading uses a blade, either mounted in special equipment or pulled by a tractor or All Terrain Vehicle, to move reshape the gravel on the surface of the road or driveway. For small scale projects such as a gravel driveway a small tractor or ATV mounted grader will accomplish the task with a little effort.

Rip up the surface

Use a chisel type blade attachment to break up the surface of the gravel road. This is useful if the road has compacted so all the gravel stones are below the surface of the road creating a smooth and slippery surface. Limit the depth of the ripping process to about a half inch to avoid disturbing the road bed.

Set the Angle of the Grader

The angle of the grader blade determines where gravel is removed from the driveway and placed. The grader blade is commonly used to remove gravel from the edge of the road to fill the wheel tracks. Traffic on the driveway wears depressions into the road. These depressions accumulate water when it rains creating wet potholes that soften the road. The common angle of the grader blade sets the end of the blade closest to the edge of the road forward and deeper than the other edge. In this configuration the gravel is dug up along road edge and rolls along the blade filling in any low spots in the portion of the road covered by the blade. Adjust the depth of cut and angle so the gravel fills in the low spots in the road but doesn't leave a large gravel ridge in the centre of the road.

Finish the project by backblading

Turn the grader blade around for backblading. With the cutting edge of the blade facing away from the direction of movement the blade will not cut into the road bed but still moves the loose gravel around on the road surface. This is the best way to level off any ridges left by the grading process and redistributing any loose gravel to any low spots in the road surface.

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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.