About Me

Loving Your Little Landscape

I have never been a natural gardener. For years, I struggled to keep basic houseplants alive, only to kill them at the first opportunity. It was difficult and stressful to buy a home with a yard, but I knew that I might be able to learn what I was doing wrong and correct the problem. To start off, I focused heavily on the lawn, and tried hard to keep it trimmed and well-maintained. Next, I cleaned up the flowerbeds. It was a lot of work, but I knew that it would pay off in the end. When I was done, my front yard was gorgeous, and guess what--it even stayed alive. This blog is all about loving your little landscape.



Loving Your Little Landscape

Lime Soil Stabilization 101

by Charlotte White

Unstable soils can make it difficult to complete your paving project, whether it's to put in a private road to your new home or to build a driveway. Lime stabilization can solve the issue.

When should lime stabilization methods be utilized?

Lime stabilization is predominantly used underneath roads, driveways, and other large paved areas that are built upon unstable clay soils. The benefit of using lime in these areas is that once they are paved, there is no way to access the soil beneath the paving. Other stabilization methods may require occasional maintenance, which isn't possible if the subsoil is inaccessible. Lime, on the other hand, provides relatively permanent stabilization. It can also handle the stresses and disturbances caused by vehicle traffic.

How does lime stabilize soils?

The clay in the soil and the lime combine to form a reaction called cation exchange. This reaction increases the plasticity of the soil, thus making it more rigid and stable. Gravel may be added to the soil along with lime since the reaction will then cause the lime and soil to bond to the gravel and create an even more stable base. Your soil stabilization service will take detailed soil tests so they can accurately determine the amounts of lime and gravel to mix in.

What materials are needed for lime stabilization?

All lime stabilization jobs require lime at a minimum. Typically either quicklime or hydraulic lime is used. If the soil is deficient in natural gravel, additional gravel may be added along with the lime. Depending on the mineral content and natural stability of the soil, other additives may be used to help strengthen the reaction and bond formed when lime is added. Fly ash, Portland cement, and sodium sulfate are common material additions to the lime amendment.

What is the basic process for stabilizing with lime?

The stabilization process is simple, but it does typically take a few days so that the reaction can occur. The area to be paved is first prepared, typically by grinding up the soil and removing any obstructions that would compromise leveling. The lime mixture is then spread over the prepared site. Lime is applied as a slurry or it is wet down after application, as water is necessary for the reaction to occur. The lime is left to cure for a few days, then a second lime application is made but this one is mixed into the soil. Then, the soil is leveled and prepped for paving, which can begin in about a week when the lime has cured completely.

Contact a soil stabilization service to learn more.