How to use a box blade on a gravel driveway

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You can easily level your gravel driveway with a box  blade and come up with a perfectly smoothed out ground that will make you proud of your efforts.

But you must first learn how to use a box blade on a gravel driveway.

Which is better box blade or grader?
How to use a box blade on a gravel driveway

I need to point out something before everything: don’t expect to be faultless the very first time- you can only master the steps over time.

We are after all human (and to error).

So, are you ready for this exciting gravel driveway maintenance task?

Let’s dive in if you have answered yes.

How to use a box blade on a gravel driveway : step-by-step guide

Here is how to how to make a driveway with a box blade.

What you need:

  • A box blade (tractor-drawn) with scarifier teeth- this is one of the best implements for gravel driveway leveling/filling jobs.   The ripper teeth are essential for cutting through and removing the sod (if necessary).
  • Your utility tractor (or an ATV).

Pro-tip: you can rent a tractor with box blade to cut costs, if you don’t own these pieces of equipment.

Note that while the box scraper is great at ripping up and loosening the soil, a rear blade may be necessary to help push it off side to side.

Steps:

You need to make a few adjustments:

  • The points should be above the scraper blade-adjust the box scraper shanks accordingly.
  • The wheels on box blade are also to be adjusted high enough since you to raise the unit slightly until you come to the starting point.
  • Drive the lawn tractor to the start point (make sure that the blade remains in an elevated position).
  • Set the scarifiers low enough – depending on the condition of the driveway. You want to scrape the surface just beneath the top level without messing the driveway’s foundation.
  • With the teeth in the “biting” position, simply drive up/down the driveway until the whole ground has been churned up.
  • This is what happens:
  • The box blade picks up dirt and gravel until the box fills up.
  • Next, the material is redistributed – as you continue driving up/down- on the driveway in level layers. This is how the high points are scraped and the low points filled.

You perhaps know this: you might need to drive over the ground a couple of times to smoothen out the road nicely.

And that’s it. Congratulations!

How to use a box blade on a gravel driveway : bonus tips

Apply these additional tricks even as you train how to use a box blade on a gravel driveway:

  • If you can, be sure to give your driveway a nice “crown”. This immensely helps in draining water to the side and will prevent puddles from forming due to the standing water.
  • The best thing to do for bigger projects is to rent a 6/8 foot landscaping model. This is typically offered with a powerful tractor that comes equipped with a suitable hydraulic hitch.

It will help reduce the time you spend on the project.

  • It is vital to have a tractor with adequate horsepower to haul your box blade. Recommendations vary but in general, you should provide 5hp (per foot) of your scraper width.

That said, a tractor with a lesser horsepower can still pull the scraper but you need to drive slowly. Even then, the assumption is that the transmission is sufficiently strong.

  • Inspect the driveway’s leveling before driving in and do the following to achieve the best results:
    • For raised areas: lower the box scraper shanks to help loosen the top dirt on the humps as you grade.
    • For relatively flat grounds (and dipped/low areas): place a heap of filling material (soil or gravel) to the start of the driveway.
  • In addition, walk the entire length of the gravel driveway and mark obstacles like giant rocks or roots with a ribbon- these are not your friends. Smaller roots or rocks are not an issue – you just lower the shanks to clear/cut them away when graveling.

 learn why your mower is cutting unevenly 

How to use a box blade on a gravel driveway: Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q: What do box blades do?

Box blades are one of the most versatile tractor attachments and you can use them for tasks like grading, leveling, root removal, backfilling, or even spreading gravel, soil, or other materials around the yard.

I should add that they were initially designed to help spread topsoil and gravel evenly. 

Q: Which is better box blade or grader?

Well, it depends on the type of project you’re accomplishing.

But generally speaking, while the box blade is immensely versatile and capable of doing countless jobs, it requires more horsepower to pull when graveling.

In addition, it won’t finish the job as well as the grader hence the need for a rear blade.

The grader is not a saint either: besides the limited applications, it’s more expensive to purchase though it’s great for breaking up hard ground and is a better finisher.

Overall, it’s not an easy decision and you have to factor in many more dynamics when comparing.

Wrapping it up

The above procedure works whether you’re leveling your existing gravel driveway or making a new one.

As usual, refer to the owner’s manual before operating any of the equipment- it will guide you all the way and give safety instructions.

As I said, the only way to perfect how to use a box blade to level ground is by repeating this a few times.

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