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Land clearing and a driveway from scratch

Updated: Jun 14

Our customers Ben and Wendy contacted us after they had purchased a plot of raw land on a mountainside overlooking the beautiful Flathead Lake. When we met them for the first time they took us on a walk through of their property, explaining their dreams and visions of hopefully someday having multiple rental units as well as their new forever home on this amazing piece of property. However, the first obstacle that stood in their way was access to their property beyond the shared private road running along the west property boundary. From the private road, their property goes down a steep bank before leveling off and coming to an old, abandoned logging road. It was clear that many loads of fill would need to be brought in, as well as tree’s cut and space cleared to create a path wide enough to facilitate the future development they have in store for this land.

After that first meeting, we got to work. The first goal was to clear enough space at the top of their road to allow for us to park a truck and trailer, making it possible to transport equipment in and out without having to drive it up the road. Within a few days of cutting tree’s and clearing brush we had the space cleared. We first drove the excavator up the road and leveled a spot large enough to follow up with the truck and trailer. From there it was only a matter of repeating the same process, cutting tree’s, clearing brush, and leveling the land as we worked our way across it.

The last section of the driveway to connect back to the road is where we had to do the most work. By leveling a few natural hills on the property, we were able to bring in some of the fill we needed, but not enough. After several dump trucks we had our path complete. Due to the amount of fill that had to be brought in, we had created a large wall of dirt that needed to be supported. With the help of several loads of boulders we were able to build a boulder retaining wall that will allow for the natural grass and brush to grow back and assist the boulders in being a support for the road. Then the last step was to finish it all of with gravel, starting with large and working our way down to a standard ¾” crush for the driving surface. Unfortunately, winter came to fast and fierce as it does in Montana for us to finish this top layer, but first thing after the thaw we will be out to complete the road surface and start on some building locations to help Ben and Wendy realize their dream.

The upper portion of the driveway before we started any work.
The upper portion of the driveway before we started any work.
Enough space cleared to turn the truck and trailer around! Logs were left on sight for future milling or firewood
Enough space cleared to turn the truck and trailer around! Logs were left on sight for future milling or firewood

The land has been cleared and the dirt graded in preparation for gravel on the driveway
With time and dedication a path emerges!

Gravel laid down and stones placed to hold the driveway and top coat in place
The completed top portion of the driveway!

An old logging road that will be converted into the middle section of the driveway
The middle section of the road was begun by using an old logging road, however it was widened and leveled out for ease of use

Tree's cut and the dirt graded to show the path that the driveway will take
Tree's cut and a path emerges!

A panoramic view of the entire middle section of the road, ready for gravel
The middle section of the road all finished, just awaiting more fill for the top when the snow and ice are melted.

Grass and a steep ditch where the driveway will go
The lower connection of their driveway had the steepest bank off the main road. Lots of brush and tree's that needed to be cleared before we could truly assess how much fill would be needed
The tree's have been cleared, leaving just the brush and ditch to contend with
Tree's cut and a clear path emerges!
Lots of brush that needs to be cleared to grade the path for the driveway
Working on a step bank made removing brush more difficult, but the finish product is so satisfying, all logs left on site for owner's use for milling or firewood.

Dirt is being graded to shape the road, but we still need a lot of fill to make the final connection
Progress was started by leveling out a natural hill to provide as much on site fill as possible

A pile of fill sits at the bottom of the hill to start grading to make the connection
More fill was needed, but thanks to a great dump truck partner it was short work

More fill to be graded out, the path is almost connected

Boulders placed along the side of the road to retain the material that is built up
As each layer of fill was brought we stacked boulders along the side to prevent spring run off from undoing all of our hard work

Layers of boulders shown as tall as the hill of material built to make the connection
Layer by layer we built it up to achieve the most gradual grade possible for future traffic.

A 25' tall boulder retaining wall to hold the driveway material in place
A view of the retaining wall from further down the property

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