Grass strips down the center of a driveway offer a splash of green to an otherwise bare area. In the case of ribbon driveways, the tracks are paved with concrete and the center is left bare. In other cases, a new driveway is made by simply driving over grass until the tracks wear down to soil, leaving the center grass strip. You'll need to remove the grass if you want to pave the entire driveway.
1. The Roots of the Problem
The grass will keep growing back unless you cut out the roots entirely. Whether the grass is bordered by dirt or concrete, use a border spade to cut a clean line. Stand the spade upright against the concrete or dirt border and step down on the foot peg to push it straight down into the soil. Cut along the rest of the strip to only 1 to 2 inches below the roots. This is easier if you have a rotary edger that you can simply run along the edges of the grass.
2. Roll Up the Green Carpet
When the grass borders are cut well, it's easy to roll up the grass, much like rolling up a carpet. Peel back the grass at one end and simply roll it up from end to end. If some deeper roots cling to the grass layer, insert a flat shovel under the grass and scrape it along to sever the roots. While driveway grass might be in poor condition from frequent traffic, strips with healthy grass can be used to fill in bare spots in your lawn. The area might need to be dug deeper to accommodate a few inches of gravel and sand base material, particularly if you'll replace the grass with pavers or concrete.
3. Bridging the Gap
With the grass strip gone, the driveway is left with a strip of bare soil that can quickly become a muddy mess with just one rainfall. If you're looking for a quick fix, you can simply fill in the gap with 3/4-minus gravel up to grade with the tread stripes on either side of the driveway. Though it takes much more work, you can use a jackhammer to break up concrete and lay a uniform driveway in its place. Other driveway options to fill in the gap include brick pavers or pouring a third strip of concrete down the middle, but these methods require extra work to grade the driveway and reroute storm water.
4. Making the Grade
One of the biggest advantages to a grass strip in the driveway is that rainwater can easily drain through the grass and into the soil. The grading measures for a permeable driveway material start with the base layer beneath the driveway material. When you dig out the area to install a gravel and sand base, grade the soil slightly so water doesn't accumulate beneath the base layers. A solid paved surface doesn't allow rainfall to penetrate, which means you must grade it slightly in the center to divert water to a storm drain. A subtle grade of about 1/4 inch of rise toward the center for every 1 foot of driveway width is enough.
- Apartment Therpay: Old-Fashioned Ribbon Driveways
- The Naturescaping Workbook; Beth O'Donnell Young
- This Old House: Removing Established Grass
- Sonoma County Master Gardeners: Grass Removal Methods
- Quikrete: Pouring & Finishing Concrete Slabs
- Green Solutions Magazine: Reinventing Your Driveway
- This Old House: How to Install a Permeable-Paver Driveway
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images