Gravel Parking Area for FW

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grashley

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Joined
May 7, 2015
Posts
6,610
Location
Western Kentucky
As I have shared in other posts, my FW is parked in grass in the back yard.  Soft ground getting in and out has been a real issue.  Please fact check this plan.  Clearly, I need to rent a bobcat and / or hire labor.

The location is out of level about 3 or 4 inches per 8 ft side to side at the rear wheels.
It is out of level about 7 inches per 15 ft from the landing gear (high) to the wheels.
It is about 50 or 60 ft to the gravel farm drive next door, but not all of this gets too soft to drive on.

MY PLAN
Pour concrete pads, all leveled to each other, 18" square for the landing gear and 30" wide x 6 ft long for the tires. All concrete 4 inches thick and reinforced.  These points become my benchmark measurements for height.
Move dirt to lower / fill as needed , leaving everything compacted (with the truck) and 4 inches below the benchmark.  Fill with 4" of gravel and compact with the truck.
Gravel will extend 12 ft wide from truck rear wheels when connected  to back of FW, plus sufficient to make a smooth transition from the yard to the raised pad.  I will limit the grade to 1 inch per foot in the transition.  Grade will begin just behind concrete tire pads.

By my calculations, a 12 ft wide, 45 ft long 4 inch deep gravel section only requires 7 cu yd of gravel, plus the transition.

Questions
Yes, I know I'm crazy.  I DID buy a FW!!  ::)
1.  Is the plan doable?
2.  Is 4" gravel enough over compacted dirt base?
3.  Is 12 ft wide a reasonable width for accurate parking with no obstructions?  For backing out with few obstructions?
4.  Is 1" per ft a reasonable grade on gravel?
5.  Are the concrete pads the correct size and depth?
6.  What type of gravel do I want?
7.  Do I need pros to do this or just some good labor?
8.  What else do I need to know and too uneducated to ask?

It makes no sense to make mistakes because I did not ask.  I want to make new, novel mistakes nobody ever heard of before!

Thanks in advance.
 
I'll let your above plans to others with more engineering experience.


You didn't mention anything about electric, water and sewer (EWS). If you would ever want that, NOW is the time to install it. You may not need it now, but down the road you never know.

We have a RV parking spot for friends stopping by. When I put in the pad I put the EWS where it was the easiest to install. Which put it on the wrong side of the RV from how most people want to park. I wish now I had taken the time and installed the EWS on the other side.
 
Personally I would pass on the concrete.  Using a bobcat you should be able to level everything out both ways easily.  Rent a compactor, compact the dirt, lay landscape fabric, spread 6 inches of 3/4 minus.  Compact that and park the fiver.
 
Don,

I have electric on the outside of the carport.  At first, I expected to park the FW at the end of the drive, 20 ft away, but DW changed my mind.  The location is about 75 ft from water on the house, so I just fill the tank as needed.
I am parked 30 ft from the farmer's field behind the camper, and about 100 ft of unmown grass between there and any crops.  Two neighbors to the north have nonfuncting septic systems draining into the field, one is the house previously owned by the original owner of the farm, the other by his daughter.  I'm not telling what I do with my gray water.  If you disagree, save your breath.  I'm not listening.

Donn THANK YOU!
 
You could always call a couple pros and get a few free estimates and talk over what their plans would entail  ::)  Then decide if it is something you want to tackle.  Sounds like a lot of work to me, but I don't know what your checkbook looks like either  ;) ;D ;D
 
I agree with Donn. No need for concrete. I park my 35' motorhome in my gravel driveway.  The ground here is red clay, so every 7 or 8 years the gravel needs a top coat. Also, gravel will drain water away from your tires and is the best surface to park on.
 
Gravel should work fine without the concrete. Definitely put the geotextile fabric under the rock, it'll keep the rock from sinking in and you'll have a good driveway for years. 6" of CA6 rock will leave you with a "superhighway" you won't have to worry about again.
 
The only drawback to gravel is that it hurts when you have to slide underneath the rig to work on something. Hurts even more when you drop some small part into the crevices between the stones.  :(

Another low-cost alternative to concrete is 4x8x16 solid concrete blocks laid like patio pavers.  They are strong enough so they won't crack under the weight, broad enough so they don't sink, and smooth on top.  You can lay a pair of tracks and leave grass or sand in between, or pave the whole area with them. If you choose tracks, you can make them  16", 24", or 32" wide depending on how you lay the blocks.

 
Gary RV_Wizard said:
The only drawback to gravel is that it hurts when you have to slide underneath the rig to work on something. Hurts even more when you drop some small part into the crevices between the stones.  :(

And you know this how??  ;D

That's why I have a whole pile of worn out carpets around. Wife tries to throw 'em out but I rescue them with the rationale that one never knows when I'll need to work under the coach, car, truck, tractor, etc.
 
I have some less than fond memories of a gravel pad at a summer campsite in Maine.  The site was mostly grass, but the actual pad for the RV was packed gravel.  I was changing the wiper blades when I dropped the tiny screw that locks the blade onto the shaft. Spent hours looking for it, with help from my wife and a neighbor. The neighbor finally found it after a combined 3 hours of hunting.  A few days later I was kneeling on the $%# gravel to dig something out of a storage bay. When I stood up, gravel had scraped one knee enough to bleed slightly. A few days  later it was pussy and infected, so I went to the ER for some help. They determined is was a MRSA-type infection and I underwent a 4-day regimen of specialized antibiotic shots to clear it up.  As you can guess, gravel is not my favorite RV pad material.
 
Don't buy river rock. My driveway is 12x140'.  I hate the look of gravel driveways but it had to be gravel because of the steep incline to the top of the ridge we live on. When it snows most of my neighbors have to leave their cars in the street even though their concrete driveways have 1" traction grooves. They said concrete would be a big mistake. Our new house is the main reason I have a MH because no way a trailer of any size can be backed up the incline. I did consider building a 250' concrete driveway slanting across the front but that would require a 200' retaining wall so the cost would be astronomical.

I had no experience with gravel but the gravel company was more than glad to help with the calculations which matched mine. The driver showed  up at  11 AM with the CA6 gravel. It is naturally rounded rock from an ancient riverbed which has no sharp edges. It looks great but was a big mistake. He had more on his truck than I ordered. Since it was lunch time he said he needed to wash out his truck bed and offered the extra to me for free. I thanked him profusely for the gift. He did a great job of spreading it with his truck then spent an hour leveling it perfectly. I admired it for a while then had to get lunch. I got about 10 feet before my Durango got stuck in the 8" deep gravel. Using a shovel I got out. Crushed stone would have been a much better option because river rock is like driving on ball bearings. Short story long, since the MH has duals in the rear it didn't sink in as bad. I spent the rest of the afternoon using it to compact the gravel.
 
I have several large flattened cardboard boxes. I just put a couple of those down. The cardboard is easy to slide on. When it gets too grungy, I put it in the recycling. I keep 2 in the motorhome.
 
Gary, if you need to slide around on gravel under an RV to work on stuff, get a dog crate tray, I bought one a while back, it stores behind my sofa as it is only about 3/4 - 1 inch thick, this is the one I bought 42 inch only $15 https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002NNWDW/  Slides around on gravel amazingly smoothly, almost like a mechanics creeper on concrete.  I had to use it for the first time on a trip a couple of weeks ago, and was glad I had it (I store my coach in a shed with a concrete floor on the family cattle ranch about 15 miles from my house)
 
TheBar said:
...He did a great job of spreading it with his truck then spent an hour leveling it perfectly. I admired it for a while then had to get lunch. I got about 10 feet before my Durango got stuck in the 8" deep gravel.

There's quite a variety of what contractors call "gravel" around here ranging from "bank run" which can consist of a lot dirt, and bowling ball size rocks, to various degrees of screened gravel. None of this stuff that's native here would even be remotely considered gravel in other areas of the country.

Our driveway(s) are hundreds of feet long and no gravel ever goes down without a large, vibratory roller dong it's thing as a finishing touch. Without this compaction it'll wash out far too easily.
 
I did crushed rock for mine.  I wish I had a concrete pad that the 5th wheel actually parked on, just for the times above when you have to work on something underneath.  As it is, I pull it forward to my actual driveway to work on it.  It's a compromise and works, but it would be easier to just leave it where it is.  I don't remember how thick mine is, but I believe it was 4 inches. I've had it now since 2012, and other than trying to keep the weeds and grass under control, it's holding up just fine.

 
Ed
I assume the weeds and grass are coming up through the rock??
Is the gravel smooth enough to mow over?
One of my thoughts was to lay gravel and allow it to grass over to look like a yard and disguise the driving path.
 
grashley said:
Ed
I assume the weeds and grass are coming up through the rock??
Is the gravel smooth enough to mow over?
One of my thoughts was to lay gravel and allow it to grass over to look like a yard and disguise the driving path.

It's more weed than grass by a long shot.  and yes, coming up through the rock.  I usually spray with weed killer every 6 months or so.  I wouldn't mow over it.  Too many little loose rocks and stuff.  The grass idea would be great if enough actually grass grew through it.
 
edjunior said:
It's more weed than grass by a long shot.  and yes, coming up through the rock.  I usually spray with weed killer every 6 months or so.  I wouldn't mow over it.  Too many little loose rocks and stuff.  The grass idea would be great if enough actually grass grew through it.

Can't vouch for it from personal experience, but several people have told me that they use one of those large propane torches to burn weeds and that is quite effective.
 
Concrete pads, no opinion on that. Gravel out here in Cali. is "round rock", in the east "stone" I guess, no matter what it is called elsewhere, it is not what you want. Round for drainage, concrete mix, landscaping. Crushed rock and fines to lock together and form a matrix. Round will never compact, that's why it's not used for road base.  Recycled base rock is a less expensive option, nothing wrong with it for your job. If your buying from your local decorative rock/landscape yard they may not carry recycle. Go to the rock quarry and buy your recycle base or virgin base there, much cheaper. Your sub base will determine how thick you need it. If you have hard soil, not clay, 4" is barley enough for the wet season or if you get rain during the summer. If you have soft soil with clay, plan on much more, like 6". That type of subbase will pump if you do much driving on it, the clay will come thru the base rock. A moisture barrier fabric layed down is a good idea. If you don't want to rent a small roller, you can get a Viberplate from most rental stores or home depot. You want wet the base rock and pound the hell on it for maximum density that you can get. Its best if you compact your sub base first so the rock wont get pact into the sub base,,,gregg
 
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