Another installment of Building Beyeler Hollow – – so we’ve covered all the planning that goes into leading up to building your own home. It’s crazy how months and months of decisions and life planning can be wrapped up in a just a couple of blog posts! To see all the posts in the series, you can follow along at the Building Beyeler Hollow list.
Today we’re talking all about gaining access to our land. The 20 acres that we purchased was land-locked, so we had to get a legal easement through the property in front of ours to gain access to a road. Luckily it is easement through my parents’ land so that wasn’t any trouble 😉
So we have an easement, which means we can put an accesspoint, aka driveway, on their land. I think I’ve mentioned, our house site is 1/4 mile off of the road – that makes for one long driveway! This is probably a good time to talk about the hidden costs of building on acreage. Building on land, back from the road, really adds cost to your build. The price you pay for living in the country. You have to put in a driveway, run water and electricity all the way back, etc etc etc – – I’d say in general you can take a subdivision house price, add the cost of the land (remember, we went with 20 acres) and then add a bunch more for country living costs, like getting access to your build site if it’s back off the road, bringing back water and electricity, putting in septic systems, etc. But I love our site – it’s super secluded and awesome.
Back to the driveway – sometimes we refer to it as a road, since it’s quite the driveway. We were able to put it in before we started construction. It needs to be the first thing in so all the equipment for house building can get back to the build site. I guess there is a lot of grading and what not that goes into it – I just thought we’d throw some gravel down. But you want the drive to drain properly and the soil to be packed down, and we needed a couple of large culverts added to some low spots, so we hired out the main parts of driveway construction.
First they dug in the dirt for days and days.
The kids obviously loved it:
Trevor did a lot of research on driveway construction and decided the best method was to use ground paper, kind of like you might put under a flower garden. The paper helps keep the gravel from settling into the ground too much and getting lost. It was an upgrade from most gravel drives, but we’re hoping it will pay off to have it, in having less gravel lost over the years.
We installed the ground paper (technically geotextile fabric) ourselves to cut cost a little. It was a good project to tackle as a whole family, because the kids could help roll out and tack down the paper. And there wasn’t too much danger involved in the project. The thing I love most about building our home is involving the kids along the way. (I’m not sure it’s what they love most!)
We got about half the paper down before they came out to pour gravel and we worked on installing the rest of the paper while they placed and spread gravel on the first half.
Seeing the driveway put in was awesome – it meant that things were actually starting – it’s getting real!!
One day maybe we’ll be able to put down blacktop, cause no one loves gravel. But wowza, 1/4 mile long meant gravel itself was pricey, I can’t image blacktop cost (well, I can, and it’s high!)
Just a heads up, Trevor has been blogging the more technical parts of building, so if you’re interested in more detailed info about installing a gravel driveway, you can check out these separate posts: Day 1, then Day 2, then Day 3, and Day 4, and finally Day 5 – they are all posts about the driveway.