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This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series All About Roads & Driveways

In the previous article about roads and driveways we discussed how to determine the pathway for your new driveway. In this post we’ll cover issues of drainage, the anatomy of a road and the cost.

Dealing with Drainage

Drainage is a huge consideration, especially with gravel or dirt roads. In the worst case, your road could wash out, but the prospect of constantly repairing an improperly build driveway is not a good one. You’ll first want to observe how water currently flows around the area. Notice where it pools during rain. Look for ruts or gulleys. These will be indicators of the volume of water you’ll be dealing with, and how it’s currently routed.

The most common approach in our area is to raise the bed of the road with chert fill, and then install ditches on either side to handle the wash.

A culvert is then installed in areas where the water builds up to allow it to pass down grade. A culvert is a metal or plastic pipe of varying diameter that is installed under the road. With the right placement and capacity, the volume of water collected during a heavy rain will be dispersed at a higher rate than it is accumulated. This prevents water from rising over the road. Once the road becomes submerged under moving water, it is only a matter of time before it will wash out completely.

Culvert

The key to managing water is to keep it moving slowly. Fast moving water has an enormous amount of power and can quickly erode soil. Slower moving water tends to just spill over without creating damage. Continue Reading…

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series All About Roads & Driveways

When you’re looking at property, access is one of the most critical elements that must be considered. The Ant Farm is located off of a chip & tar road maintained by the county, which is a very good thing. Unfortunately, the only access to the interior of the property was via an old timber road that hadn’t been maintained in years. After a cursory review of the property, we knew that we wanted our home site to be located deep on the property, which would require a significant investment in road construction. As a result, we had to consider the costs associated with adding a driveway when we determined a reasonable offer price.

There are basically four different aspects of road building that you’ll need to give some thought. Each one will require research in order to fully understand the repercussions of your decisions. While your excavator should provide a lot of expertise, no one is more interested in the success of your project than you are. Invest yourself in learning more about these issues, and your chances for success will multiply exponentially:

Continue Reading…

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Buying Land in Alabama

In the last installment of Buying Rural Property in Alabama, I talked about several methods to create a pool of properties to consider. In this article we’ll explore the question that will determine your next step.

Is the property worth visiting?

In order to determine if a property is worth seeing, we need to know what our benchmarks for good land are. First, there are a number of criteria that should be considered for any rural property in Alabama:

Acreage – How much land do you need? Until you’ve walked some land, this one will be hard to nail down. When we started out, I thought I wanted 40 acres. The first time I walked a 20 acre plot, I realized just how big 40 acres is. Maintaining a large property requires a lot of time and hard work. With a little planning and the right piece of land, you can raise all the food your family eats on 3-5 acres.  It didn’t take long before I decided that 10-15 acres might be a better fit for our needs.

Anticipated Use –  What will you do on the land? You want to keep your options open with this one, however there are probably some things you can take off of the list with a little thought. While I was interested in some types of livestock, I was pretty sure I didn’t want to graze cattle or horses.  At the most I wanted a half-acre for a garden, 3-5 acres to cultivate into a food forest orchard, 2-4 acres to develop into paddocks for small numbers of  chickens, goats or pigs, and I really wanted a 1-2 acre pond if possible. Continue Reading…