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Back in Illinois we had a 1/4 acre lot with a nice concrete driveway. I mowed the yard with a cordless electric Black & Decker push mower. In January of '09 we moved to a 4 acre farm in Nebraska. I bought a used garden tractor for the mowing, but I had no idea what I was in for with a 500 foot gravel driveway. I guess the previous owner had a big ass tractor with some kind of cultivator to control the weeds. You can see in the first 3 pictures what I'm up against. I tried using roundup. That got expensive and was a lot of back bending work. It only lasted a few weeks. I tried torching the weeds. Same issues. I asked my neighbor from down the road how he delt with weeds and he said he had enough traffic that it wasn't a problem. If you look at the first picture, you can see that down the middle, where we drive, it stays pretty clear. "ding!" So this spring, I bought a blade and pushed the railroad ties closer to the center. I moved a lot of gravel, and planted grass seed. If I'm going to be mowing it anyway, it might as well be grass, right? Then, nearer to the house, I moved some more gravel and planted grass in two islands. Now instead of a big gravel parking lot, I have what looks more like a driveway. I tried using a boxblade I bought from Sears, but it didn't hold up well, so I took it back. Then I bought the "Driveway Groomer" (jr) and I am amazed at how well it works. If I had bought it before the "remodeling", I may not have done it, but I'm glad I did. I really didn't need all that gravel, and by moving the railroad ties out, it's much easier to mow around the trees.

Now I mow the grass once a week and groom the gravel every 2-3 weeks.

Did you know gravel floats? After I raked out the gravel where I planted the grass, down to what I thought was mostly dirt, after every rain, it would look like gravel again. But once the grass came in, you really don't see it.
 

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WOW, really, WOW!! What a nice job, it looks like you said..... a nasty parkinglot changed into a nice driveway. Nice work!
 

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Thanks Steve. It was a big project. I just went out and took a better "after" picture. You can see that the "Driveway Groomer" really does a good job. (After a few passes) And NO, I am not affilliated with the company in any way. I'm just very impressed with how well that gadget solved my problem.
 

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Great job. I've never heard of a driveway groomer.

Do you have a pic of that?

Nice solar panels. How much are you producing with them?
 

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Here is a picture of it behind my MTD. You put up to 3 cement blocks in the middle for better grip. I do what I call "Stress and Dress." First I load it down with blocks and run my passes with the 3 point all the way down. This either pulls the weeds or stresses them pretty badly. For my final passes, I take off the weight and put my 3 point all the way up which (with the weight off) raises the front teeth off the ground allowing the rear teeth to spread the gravel better. (It doesn't dig in.) Seems to work pretty well. Note that if you DO get some grass patches that won't come out, and you let them go to seed (it happens...) eventually they will create an island which the groomer will slide over top of, filling the island with gravel. Eventually, you have to break down and "pull" that grass out by hand. But if you keep up with the small stuff, it does pretty well. You can look up the company by googling "Driveway Groomer". I think the guy makes and sells them out of his house. Real nice guy.

Solar panels: the 2 smaller arrays are 400 watts and the larger one is 1300 watts for a total of 2.1 KW wired at 48 vols DC. The larger array is actually a "pole mount" frame that I had on a pole back in Illinois. When we originally put that house on the market we intended to leave them installed. But it priced the house out of the market, so we took them down and brought them to Nebraska.
 

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Looks nice!
 

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Nice looking crib Ken, gonna be hard to snowblow or plow that thing, but wait, you don't have that problem do you?


Thanks for the pic. See ya 'round

Drew
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I installed a concrete curb, new gravel and Ortho TotalKill Weed and Grass Killer made exclusively for Home Depot..
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Hi Ken, I did try the "roundup" method for a couple of months. (I didn't try your Ortho brand) It did kill the weeds, but left them there dead and still needing to be pulled out. Remember, my driveway had gotten way out of control. It seemed like I was going to have to reapply it every few weeks and we decided since our well is right next to the driveway, we didn't want to put that much herbicide down over the years, which led me to seek other options.

I like the curbs! I have railroad ties along one edge of my drive. It definately helps keep the gravel out of the grass. I know from that "Tractor" forum, that you like to play with your toys. I can say that pulling my groomer around my driveway is a lot of fun, if you don't count having to stop and clean out the debris from time to time. (But that is the whole point after all.) Also, the initial cleaning was a lot more work than the maintenance cleaning is. Starting fresh as your driveway is, it would be a piece of cake!
 
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