Crushed Concrete Driveway For the Farm – A Cheaper Alternative

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This crushed concrete driveway that I share with you below was made back in 2015. I hope that it will give you some ideas on the possible alternatives that are available when it comes to paving an affordable driveway.

It’s hard to believe that my farm’s driveway is five years old! I still drive on it, and it’s still functioning well however it’s in desperate need of a few extra tons of material… Now that I am divorced and no longer have the tractor and the dump truck, I am not sure that crushed concrete will be the best way for me to go.

I would definitely still use it if I had the equipment, but I’ll have to run the numbers and check if it’s still worth it when I have to pay someone else for the hauling and spreading. Read the story of this crushed concrete driveway before you make the decision whether this is the right option for you…

Crushed Concrete Driveway…

building a crushed concrete driveway for the farm

I’ve updated the post so it’s easier to read, however, I left all the information like pricing and stuff as it was back in 2015. Take into consideration that crushed concrete prices might have changed. Maybe it’s not as easy to find it anymore… I am not sure since I haven’t checked since the time when we built this driveway.

Also take into consideration, that this option might not be for you if you aren’t able to haul and spread the crushed concrete yourself. I am sure that you can find people to do it for you, but you’ll have to calculate the overall cost if you have additional expenses.

I enjoyed this driveway over the years. I think that it was a great material to use. I know now that we should have dug ditches on the sides of the driveway to help direct the rain water a certain way. I think that if we’d done that at the beginning the driveway would have been in better shape right now. But water made a little bit of damage to it and it just needs more material now. I am still using it but it’s definitely on my to-do list of things that needs to get fixed around here (along with another 3.67 million things!).

The Story of My Crushed Concrete Driveway…

We finished the first part of the driveway on the farm. We choose to make a crushed concrete driveway because it’s much much cheaper than what we would have paid for the common gravel driveway. Read the story and what I’ve learned below…

Searching For an Alternative Driveway Material…

spreading crushed concrete on the farm driveway

Our search for a cheaper way to pave a driveway started right after we spent more than a $1,000 for 50 ft of the conventional gravel driveway. One of the reasons we bought our land was because it’s off of the main country road that connects two small towns.

We were thinking about the possibility of building a farm stand in the future, so we could sell products right from the farm. But we never intended to live close to the road. The land is rectangular and hilly, so we can go as far back as we would like to and not hear or see the road. Or so we thought…

When we set out to build a driveway (there wasn’t any access road to the land), we were shocked to find out how expensive it is to pave what we thought was a ‘simple’ gravel driveway. We spent over a $1,000 for 50 ft of a driveway! Just a simple paved road so we have access to the front field.

After spending that much, we knew that if we wanted to build our house 2,000 or 3,000 ft from the road, we would have to come up with a serious amount of money. So the search for a cheaper alternative driveway began. And since then, we became very familiar with the world of driveways and even ended up building affordable driveways on the side for others in the area for a while.

Finding Recycled Paving Material…

a view of the crushed concrete driveway at the farm

If you read my post about the cheapest way to pave a driveway, you know that, at first, we were looking for dump truck drivers who pick up milled asphalt from paving jobs around the city to dump the material at our place. This was easy when we redid the driveway at our house in town, it proved to be much harder to find a willing driver to dump on our land since it’s deep in the country. Not so close to job sites anymore.

We started searching and found out that there are a few places around town that recycle materials and resell them to the public. Paving companies will bring their waste — large blocks of concrete or asphalt — to those yards, the crusher will crush and mill the big blocks, and resell it as paving or filling material.

The Price of Crushed Concrete…

We learned that prices change all the time. A crusher can sell asphalt for $12 a ton one week and $9 the next because there might have been a large paving job around town, and they are now dealing with a huge amount of material that they need to get rid of.

Some concrete plants might even give you their waste for free when they clean the plant. So when the price went down to $6 a ton for crushed concrete (compared at $18 a ton for gravel) we bought 100 tons.

Hauling Crushed Concrete…

a close look at the crushed concrete material

We didn’t pick it all up right away, most of it was still waiting for us at the crusher’s yard. But over a few weeks, the kids and I hauled two or three loads of crushed concrete to the farm every week. We had a dump truck,  and although it was as pretty as a dump truck can be (in my opinion…), it was not comfortable at all.

Luckily, the truck has a back bench, which is pretty much the reason we bought it, so I buckled the kids (all three of them under 5 years old!) in their car seats, and off we’d go. Let me tell you… I used to drive an eighteen-wheeler. I thought that the looks I got back then every time I’d get off the truck were funny… It is nothing compared to the looks I got when I climbed off the dump truck.

The guys looked at me like they weren’t exactly sure what was going on. I saw them trying to figure out why I just climbed down the driver’s side… Then they figure out that I have kids strapped in the back seat, and they are thrown off completely.

“You lady drive this thing?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Oh…” Pause. “You have a kid in there?”

“I have three.”


Now can you turn on the damn diesel pump or load the truck already? I don’t have all day, and there is no AC in this thing, so my kids are frying! I didn’t say that out load… I just have to note both myself and that the kids LOVED to ride in the truck. The kids got a real kick out of being so high. We were happy to do the hauling.

Paving a Crushed Concrete Driveway…

using a box blade to spread crushed concrete

Anyway, before we started delivering the driveway material, my ex-husband scraped about 3 inches of the topsoil from where the driveway was going to be. I dumped one load after another on the path he made, and when he had a day off, we drove the tractor to the farm to spread the crushed concrete with the box blade.

moving the material around to create a driveway

He pulled it forward and pushed it back until it all leveled and was where it should be.

using the bucket of the tractor to smooth the surface of the driveway

Then, the last step was to flatten the bucket on the driveway and drive back to smooth it.

shaping the crushed concrete into a driveway

This took time. He just kept going back and forth until he had it where he wanted it.

The Total Cost…

This first section (approximately 1,000 ft and 11 or 12 ft wide) is made out of 64 tons of crushed concrete. At a rate of $6 a ton, we paid $384 for the materials at that point. Compare it to $18 a ton for gravel making it $1,152 and we are talking serious saving here. Of course, you have to calculate fuel as well.

The crushed concrete packs very well. It doesn’t get muddy when it rains (we had a few monsoons here lately), however, if we have a dry spell, it can get a bit dusty. We thought about spreading a thin layer of asphalt milling on top of it to eliminate the dust.

another view of the crushed concrete driveway

How to Find Crushed Concrete…

If you are interested in using recycled material for your driveway…

  • Look on Craigslist for crushed asphalt or concrete.
  • Call concrete plants and crushers in your area and compare their prices.
  • Call paving companies and ask if they need a place to dump. Don’t be shy, if you see a paving job in progress, walk up to the dump truck driver and ask if he wants to dump the material at your location for a small fee.

Things to Consider…

  • This might not be for you if you don’t have the right equipment to do it properly! You’ll need a way to haul the material (a truck), a way to spread the material (a tractor with a box blade attachment), and a way to dig ditches. Of course, all of this can be hired out but it’s going to change the cost of the project considerably and means that you are going to depend on someone else. You’ll have to consider if it’s worth it.
  • Always, always consider where the water is going! We learned this the hard way when a lot of the material was washed in heavy rain. Take the time to figure out how the water is flowing on your property and take the time to dig ditches to take the water away from the driveway. It makes all the difference and might be a little bit more work upfront but will save you a lot of work (and money) later.
  • This is a lot of work… It might not be for everyone.
  • There is no need for a weed barrier under the material.
  • Crushed concrete packs but doesn’t turn back into solid concrete even in the rain. If you live in a dry area it might get dusty. Consider spreading a layer of crushed asphalt over it.

So you see, there is a more affordable way to build a driveway… If you are willing to put some work into it. At the end of the day, you’ll have to decide if the extra work on your part is worth the savings. I hope this gives you an idea of the possibilities. This experience made me so curious about recycled and alternative building methods that I kept going and researched what other options we had for an alternative home building.

My ex-husband and I ended up separating in 2018. I still own the farm and the house that we purchased in 2016. The house is just across the road from the farm. My plans have changed a little bit but I still want to pave that long driveway all the way to the back of the property. I’ll have to do my homework again and check to see if it’s still worth it to use crushed concrete.

More Homesteading Projects…

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54 thoughts on “Crushed Concrete Driveway For the Farm – A Cheaper Alternative”

  1. Great information! My husband and I just purchased a 1986 home that sits back off the road with a long driveway. The original owner used crushed concrete. The driveway has held up really well. We have 3 holes, but will have the driveway graded and hope to find more crushed concrete to resurface. To pave the driveway would cost $12,000.00.

    I’m an interior designer. When you get ready to build, feel free to reach out to me. I have a list that I’ve compiled over the last 26 years that should help you during your planning phase, and material contacts.
    Warmest regards,
    Bradley Allen Interiors

  2. Enjoyed reading! Although, you have a lot of spelling mistakes. You may want to use some spelling correction software like ‘Grammarly’.

    Why not just pave the part where the wheels will move on? Like railroads. Is it necessary to pave the whole area in between the wheels too?

    1. I am using Grammarly but it can’t be a 100% trusted. I started working with an editor a few months ago. She goes over everything I write before I publish it. This is an older post, I’ll send it over to her.
      You can pave only the parts the wheels will drive on but it is more complicated. The ruck that brings you the material simply lifts the gate and dumps the material on the ground. You will have to place something on the back of the truck that will block the material and force it to come out in two lines. Someone commented that they used to do this with a metal barrel but I never saw it done. It will save a lot of material, just takes more work.

  3. Limestone pavers are one of the best materials for hardscapes. A famous poet once wrote that he can imagine paradise every time he saw a limestone landscape. Limestones are being used in architecture thousands of years ago.

    1. Lynette Carothers

      If you can afford limestone pavers and many of us are not willing to do so, unless you have a 750k+ home.

  4. I need some crushed concrete in Cherokee, NC. I will put your site into favorites in case someone has any outstanding ideas. Thanks so much for your site.

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    You need initial traffic only. How to get massive traffic?
    Search for: Murgrabia’s tools go viral

  6. Great read and good job…i went crushed too, but my drive is about 150 yards long. Gravel was way too high and I was tired of having to 4×4 when it rained….put mine in 14 years ago.

    It packs very well as gravel doesnt…the gravel pushes around as you drive on it and it much more prone to waller ingredients out. Gravel is nicer looking and not dusty, but moves too much if there’s no boarder.

    I have holes in mine now and just ordered a load to maintain mine. Usually I get the straight blade on the tractor and drag it..then back drag and it takes care of things. Easier to just add more and build it up when needed. My drive was low when I started as it was dirt, but now is at least 8 inches.

    Rcycled Asphalt is high dollar here in TX for some reason. All gravel, crushed or loose asphalt drives require routine maintenance or dragging depending on use….your dump will pack it in well….especially after light rain.

    If u have acreage you need a tractor anyway and the money you saved on material more than pays for the dump truck, so not sure what the negative poster was getting at. Not to mention, even if you no longer needed the dump truck you could sell it for what you paid after the job is done.

    Only thing I have to add in way of advise, which I’m assume you know is to watch water flow during big rain. That will likely identify some more areas to place a tinhorn…(ribbed metal pipe) under the drive. This will prevent wash outs and are not hard to install with the tractor….not expensive either, but need ample coverage to disperse load of vehicles.

    1. Hi Brad, thanks for taking the time to write this. It’s great to know that this type of driveway still holds after 14 years! Every driveway needs maintenance no matter what material you use but you are right, the crushed concrete packs much better than gravel. I don’t care too much for the look of the gravel, crushed concrete looks great in my opinion, but yes, there is a bit of dust in the summer if there isn’t rain for a long period of time.
      We bought 20 acres with absolutely nothing on them, not even a driveway, with the intention of farming. You bet we needed a tractor! Both the truck and the tractor are not cheap to buy and maintain by any means but we couldn’t do half of what we are doing now without this equipment.
      Sometimes I think we are crazy… Most people will prefer paying someone to do those kinds of jobs so they don’t need to work hard or handle this kind of equipment… We? We will pay a lot to buy the equipment so we can do the back breaking work ourselves! Go figure, this is just the way we are, LOL.
      Anyway, we enjoy the work very much!

  7. GREAT information,thank you for sharing your experience. I feel pretty fortunate to have a concrete recycling company nearby and some pricing info from which to look for a reasonable cost estimate. I live in Florida,and our sandy soil is an issue for me. I’ve removed around 6 inches of it for my circular drive, and low and behold, hardpan was there all along. My plan is to put down a 2 inch base of shale , pack it down ,then 4 inches of crushed concrete. Any commentary on my plans would be welcome.

    1. Hi! Your plan is great but I will put maybe another inch of crushed concrete (or the shale, depending on which is cheaper). The bottom line is that you want to create what we call ‘watershed’. If the driveway is higher than the soil around it, the water will flow off the driveway and you will have much less trouble.

  8. Hi Lee. We live in Michigan and need to build a driveway in the back yard to bring a travel trailer in and out. We have soft top soil for a good part of the season and was wondering if you think crushed concrete would work for us.
    Also wondering if it needs to be scrapped out first or if I could just dump it and press it into the soil. This is not something that would be used every day. Maybe 10 times a year.
    Thanks for any help you can give.

    1. Definitely scrape the top soil. Then crushed concrete should be fine. If in the future you see that it’s not enough (I don’t know how it behaves in snow since in the South we have maybe one snow storm a year) you can always add a layer of gravel.

  9. Gravel or crushed concrete is what I need. Are you in or around the New Orleans area? I have a large area of sq ft to cover. 120′ X 270′ . Plus a turn around. If the prices are reasonable?

    Monica Mize

  10. Hello Lee,

    I must compliment you on your blog–it is a great read. I live in Florida where the soil is sandy. Thanks to your post and Julie’s comment, I’m certain that I can complete the job, even with my challenged budget.

    Thanks again for sharing your experience!

    1. You are welcome, Rich. I hope you can find a way to get it done affordably. Sandy soil can be challenging. I wonder what you find when you scrape the top layer of sandy soil, is there hard ground under there?

  11. Was just scraping off 3 inches enough top soil? Was there any wire or metal in the crushed concrete?

    Great idea….thank you for sharing!!

    1. For us 3” was enough because we have hard clay soil here. There wasn’t any wire or metal in the crushed concrete but we are learning is that you have to look at the material and see how much rock is in it. If the milled concrete is very fine without some rock in it, you might need to add a layer of crusher run on top of it to make sure you don’t get too much dust or mud.

  12. Your property is beautiful, and I can certainly relate to trying to save money and do it themselves. I don’t mean to be a “Negative Nancy” but for the sake of saving any falsley inspired readers some money, I think you should reveal the actual cost of this project. I see a 30hp tractor in the pics (I am jealous of this toy!) which would cost close to 30k if it was bought with cash (40k if financed for 60 months). You also mentioned a dump truck. Even if this is a clunker like mine you are still 4-5k deep into that as well. Add another 200 hrs labor for the time that was spent on the construction, maybe 10k? People will argue that the labor is the amount you save…This is true if you enjoyed the work, or perhaps you make less at your primary profession than a contractor was charging per hr to hire a professional. This will not only give you a better finish product, but also be faster and come with a potential guarantee.

    The rock (3″ base rock) that you passed on due to price is not to just create a hard packed surface to drive through soft mud/clay. It is a foundation for a “lasting” driveway. You have accomplished access to your home site. It will be smooth and functional for a few months, and then will sink, develop ruts, and require constant maintenance above and beyond a well built gravel drive. The only sound substitute for base rock when building a quality drive is using geotextile. It is cheaper than base rock, but still inferior and also a bad choice if you dream of paving in the future. Your drive works. You did it, be proud! (no sarcasm intended) It is a lot of work and a unique experience to build a home, but there was not a dime saved here, only amortized with labor, equipment payments,and future expenses yet to be incurred. If you are 1500 ft from the main road this drive is the least of your expense. You will be installing a well (30-60k), or running 1500 ft of 2″ water line (20-30k in material if D.I.Y. plus 5k-12k connection LID). Maybe 40k for electric when all said and done?

    Call me smug or snide, I just don’t think your average DIYer is going to save a penny doing a driveway themselves unless they are fully educated, and have access to equipment for little or no cost. I know this not by being a real smart guy, but by short-cutting multiple times. I have also done it the right way multiple times and saved money, time, and future frustration. I enjoyed reading your post, and congratulate you for making your dream a reality. Even if I disagree with your method, by the time your home is complete you will be a wealth of knowledge.

    1. Ron, thank you for taking the time to write this, I appreciate it.
      I agree… And disagree.
      You are right, the (40hp) tractor cost more than the house we currently live in (, no joke. The dump truck also cost a lot (it cost more to maintain and care for it than it is to buy it).
      We bought those two because of the farm, however, we are business owners and use the equipment to do jobs to other people. The truck and the tractor together make us some money on a monthly basis (after paying their expenses). My husband is getting ready to close one of his businesses now so he can work more with the truck and the tractor. We are also planning to go into agriculture next year so this equipment will serve us there.
      Bottom line, I definitely don’t recommend buying this kind of equipment if you JUST looking to make a driveway, but for us, the driveway was just another project.
      It didn’t take anywhere near 200 hours of labor, we did 400 ft of driveway in one day of work (my husband worked alone). Since we built this, he did a few 1000ft driveways in town in three days of work. And we enjoy the work very much.
      We built this driveway more than a year ago and so far it is holding great. We have heavy rains here in the spring and it did great. We maintained it once since we built it, my husband drove back and forth with the box blade a time or two. Is it going to last forever? I don’t know, we’ll see.
      Well around here cost $5000 approximately.
      Electric don’t cost anything. The electric company calculate your average usage based on your family and home size. If they figure that your monthly bill is going to cover construction cost to bring the poll to you then they don’t charge you anything for it. I don’t know if this is how it works everywhere but this is how it is here.

  13. Whoa- I just found previous post about the driveway, then read the dump truck post and this one. Great ideas. I’m really impressed. Trying to figure out what to do with my little urban driveway, which I no longer consider to be such a big task. Really impressed by what you’ve done!

    1. Thanks! I hope you can find an affordble way to fix up your driveway. We are getting ready to start working on the second stage of our friveway on the farm.

    2. Just reading post and wanted to just add some hopefully useful information. I used to work at an asphalt plant. The milled asphalt is definitely a cheaper option! We also sold an even cheaper product we called asphalt dirt. When asphalt is milled up the first layer is the best to crush and reuse of course, but the last run the milling machine makes is asphalt dirt. If your budget is really tight, you might want to give it a try. The asphalt content is lower but it’s definitely in there. Asphalt plants can sometimes recycle this back into a asphalt mix but only a small amount is allowed. So they have tons of this to get rid of. It is very cheap to buy. Also if you ask the person running the asphalt tower for a name of a local dump truck driver that needs the work they would be your best bet. I always knew who needed work. The independent truck owner is out looking for work so he is willing to compromise on price compared to a company who has set prices on delivery. If a independent knows he will be running near you one day he can work a deal with you. You never know, the asphalt plant where he has to drive back to and dump the milling maybe the same distance to your property.

    1. We use a place in Durham but I think it might be expensive to drive it all the way to you. Try to see if there is a crusher closer to you, maybe in Fayetteville? If not, there must be one in Raleigh.

  14. Hi! What base soil do you have? (Sandy loam, clay,sand) and gow thick did you lay the crushed concrete?

    1. Hi Susanne,
      We have clay soil here in NC. We scraped the upper 2” or so and lay about 4” of crushed concrete. The thicker you go the better. We didn’t have enough money for any more loads but we are going to add some more material to this driveway in the next couple of months.

  15. So Excited to find this! We are in the process of buying fifteen acres and need a new house AND a new very long driveway. How is it holding up? Any there suggestions? Thanks! Holly

  16. I’m wondering how this will hold up to the construction equipment necessary to build your house at the end of the driveway? Do you have any idea on that? If it’s a hardy material, I’ll getting this too!

    1. What happened since we put down this material is that it packed and now is almost like one solid surface. it’s not like loose gravel. We should add some more material in a few places because the weeds are growing throw, but we didn’t have time to do that. So far we drove on it with a loaded dump truck and a truck hauling a tractor and attachments. It was doing just fine but never drove on this with an eighteen wheeler or something like that yet.

  17. Wow, what great ideas you have! We know that there are great ways to get things done for extremely cheap, using recycled materials. Never thought to look around for these types of materials for the driveway. We paved ours with 3/4 minus rock which cost us I think a few hundred dollars, but this gives us a new idea if the rock doesn’t work out. We recently have the opportunity to collect all the materials we wanted from a house that was about to be demolished, and we estimated that we got $5k-$10k in materials that would have otherwise been burned. The contractor said that next time there was a demolition, he would give us a call if we could salvage materials from it. Feel free to check out the blog post we wrote on that here ( I also love that you have a dump truck, the comments you get from people, and that your kids love it! I can definitely see that being a good tool on the property 😉 Maybe we’ll add that to our wish list under the excavator…

    1. Yes, I read your post. It’s awesome to have a contact like this contractor. Sometimes I can’t believe what people throw away. We answered an ad on Craigslist for a free outhouse and found ourselves in an old homestead site that was about to be demolished. We took a lot of wood planks and roofing. It was great.
      I am looking forward to following your journey!

  18. I was wondering if you 1000 feet was square feet and not linear? I am trying to plan for our old house, which has a long driveway, huge parking area and hardly any gravel left in place. Of course, I don’t have the equipment you do…so it is either spread it ourselves, or rent the machine etc. A good dump truck man did a nice slow unload for me in the past, saving me tons of work….
    so, square feet or linear?

    1. Linear. A 1000 ft long and I think, about 11 or 12 ft wide. Yes, the way the driver dump it can really help the spreading. I think they call it tailgate spreading when they spread while driving.

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