Loam Driveway Shoulders Extend Pavement Life

By Todd Fratzel on Driveways

Driveway Tip – Maintain Your Shoulders

Driveway Shoulder With Loam and Grass SeedThis summer we had a new layer of asphalt pavement installed on our asphalt driveway which raised the height just over an inch. Leaving the pavement higher than the surrounding landscaping (our lawn) or shoulder means our driveway is susceptible to premature failure from wheel loads.

Driveway Shoulders

Driveway shoulders are the area or ground adjacent to the edge of pavement. As you can see in the photo below our asphalt pavement was sitting about 2 or 3 inches higher than the driveway shoulder. This left our pavement in jeopardy of cracking and breaking along the edge anytime a vehicle drove near the edge. A driveway cost so much to pave these days so it’s important to keep the shoulders in good shape.

Driveway Shoulder With No LoamMaintaining your driveway shoulders is really easy and doesn’t take much work other than a strong back. As you can see in the photos I placed a layer of loam along the edge of the driveway in the shoulder area. I installed the loam across a width of about 2 feet so the transition would be nice and smooth for mowing.

Finally I seeded the loam with some Rye grass and some starter fertilizer. After you spread the grass seed I recommend running a rake through it, the rake helps cover the seeds with some loam for better germination. Then slightly tamp the loam with your rake and water.

Asphalt Driveway Maintenance

Taking care of your driveway is essential if you want it to last. There are several maintenance tasks that will help prolong the live of your driveway including:

  • Driveway Sealer – Driveway sealer is a great way to protect your asphalt driveway from the effects of sun, water and freezing temperatures. Because our driveway is so new I plan on waiting until Spring to seal it. However, fall is definitely a great time of year to seal your driveway and it’s an easy DIY project. If you’re interested in sealing your driveway then check out: How To Seal A Driveway.
  • Seal Driveway Cracks – Sealing cracks in your driveway is another important maintenance task. Most hardware stores sell easy to use driveway crack sealers. They usually come in a one gallon jug with a plastic nozzle that you just squirt/pour the filler into the cracks. Just be sure you clean the cracks thoroughly before applying the crack sealer.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Mainer82 says:


    Our front yard is sloped so that it pitches down from left to right, when it rains, it runs off the driveway and to the right of the property, running off the pavement into the grass and then over the lawn (if the rain is heavy enough). On the left hand side of our driveway, it’s built up like in your photograph, gravel protecting the shoulders, however on the right hand side, the pavement is level with the soil. I’m assuming by design. This past year, we have a half circle crack on the right hand side in two areas. I’ve noticed water pooling on the pavement/soil right there.

    What can I do to stop this from happening? Thank you!

    • Todd says:

      Can you be more specific about where the cracks are or….send a picture (todd “at” frontstepsmedia “dot” com)

  2. EmilyL says:

    How soon after paving can this should be created? Our driveway was paved yesterday and we have an edge of the drive that will be driven over occasionally (maybe once a week) We were planning to use gravel to create a shoulder, but I am now thinking this is not the best idea. Is there some way, after paving, to create a “driveable” edge from the asphalt into the grass?

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      I would use gravel for sure. Same thing on the side of every road that you pull off of. Good luck.

  3. Tara says:

    We just got a new gravel driveway through the pasture into our acreage. What can we plant on the bare dirt shoulder to prevent erosion? Ps – we also pasture a few cows there.

  4. Jeff B says:

    I have the same problem where my blacktop driveway was just replaced. question i have is did you just put the loam over the existing lawn or did you dig up the old lawn? it looks like you just went over. i have pretty full lawn right up to driveway. if i can just go over it with loam and seed and that works, great – but i am concerned i may have to dig up sections of old lawn, which would rather not do.

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