How to Utilize Landscape Fabric in Road Building


Geotextile fabric, often referred to as landscape fabric, improves roads by increasing their service lifespan, increasing their load carrying capabilities, and reducing the number of ruts they develop, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Landscape fabric works by separating the subsoil of the roadbed from the gravel or other rock used for road building. Landscape fabric is permeable, which allows water to pass through the rock and fabric into the subsurface, improving drainage.

Things You'll Need

  • Tractor with blade or bulldozer
  • Landscape fabric
  • Gravel
  • Clear the area where you plan to build the road of any foreign materials. Remove any stumps, sharp rocks or tree limbs that will create an uneven road or puncture the landscape fabric.

  • Smooth the area. Use the blade on a tractor or a bulldozer to smooth the area and create a roadbed.

  • Unroll the landscape fabric. Landscape fabric comes in rolls that are between 12 and 15 feet wide. Have one person stand on either side of the road and unroll the landscape fabric as you both slowly walk down the road.

  • Secure the landscape fabric. Use stones or landscape pins to hold the landscape fabric in place while you add gravel. This prevents the landscape fabric from balling up underneath the weight of the gravel.

  • Dump gravel over the landscape fabric. Plan to use enough gravel to create a layer at least 6 inches deep of gravel over the landscape fabric. Your local gravel supplier can determine how much gravel is required, based on the type of rocks available locally.

  • Compact the gravel. Use a roller or plate compactor to compact the gravel. Compacting is the key to a good road. Compact the gravel until it is firm and you don't leave marks when you walk across it. Loose gravel will shift under the weight of cars and your road will soon be full of low and high spots. Not only do these make driving unpleasant, they also create drainage problems for the road.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your road is longer or wider than one roll of landscape fabric, overlap the edges by 1 foot when you start a new roll.

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