Step 1: Test the Soil and Excavate

excavating a new driveway with a backhoe
Photo: William Wright
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First, call 811 for an underground utilities check. Next, do a percolation test to see how fast the soil absorbs water. (Contact your local Cooperative Extension office for details.) Remove the existing pavement, and dig to a minimum depth of 15 inches, unless the perc rate is less than 0.52 inches per hour. In that case, you may need a deeper base or drainage pipe.
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    Tools List

    • backhoe
      Backhoe
    • trenching shovel
      Shovel
    • iron rake
      Rake
    • plate compactor
      Plate compactor (rented)
    • circular saw
      Circular saw with blade for cutting concrete
    • mason's line
      Mason's line
    • garden stakes
      Wood stakes
    • steel pipe (2-inch diameter)
      2-inch-diameter steel pipe
    • 2x4
      8-foot-2x4 for screeding

    Shopping List

    Washed crushed stone ASTM No. 2, No. 57, and No. 8 aggregate

    Permeable pavers

    Concrete or hard-plastic edging to hold pavers in place