I had planned to wait until Saturday or Sunday to attack the driveway with the new DR Power Grader but I arrived home Friday afternoon with four hours to kill before having to cover a football game and decided to hook up the lawn tractor and give it a try.
Ninety-minutes later, my formerly rut-filled, undulating, washed out off-road trail was restored to a smooth, usuable driveway that any car could drive on.
Damn this machine is good.
I started, as the manual suggests, with a series of passes over the worst part of the driveway, a 200-foot downhill stretch with ruts as deep as 18-inches. The 12 â€œscarifyingâ€ carbide-tipped teeth of the Power Grader loosened the hardened, packed slurry mix and began filling the holes. With each pass I could see progress.
It took about 20 passes to fill the last of the ruts and I began working on other parts of the surface where the yearâ€™s hard rains and a dump truck driver who did not know how to distribute a slurry mix had left an undulating, roller-coaster surface. With each pass, the lumps smoothed out and the grader redistributed the gravel and dirt into lower sections of the driveway.
My 23 horsepower John Deere lawn tractor had no trouble pulling the grader through the mix, even with a slipping drive belt that needs replacing, although I used it primarily for downhill passes. I doubt it would pull a full load of gravel up the 35-degree slope at the steepest part of the driveway. If need be, I can use our Wrangler as a tow vehicle or it may be time to consider a four-wheel-drive ATV or John Deere Gator.
The Power Graderâ€™s simplicity, solid construction and ease of use continues DRâ€™s standard for delivering excellent equipment at a great price. The little Vermont company, part of Country Home Products, is a country residentâ€™s dream come true. Iâ€™ve talked to a number of people in Floyd who swear by their brush mowers and other equipment.
On Saturday and Sunday, I will complete the top and bottom sections of our 450-foot long driveway, smooth it with a drag screen and then pack it with a water-filled roller that also tows behind the lawn tractor. By Sunday afternoon, I expect to be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws as us.