Creating a Level Foundation for your mini half pipe:
So you’ve decided to pull the trigger on a mini ramp but are curious about where it’s going to go, what type of ground it needs to go on, and how to make it level. Look no further, everything you need to know about leveling a mini ramp is here:
Where to put it:
You'll want to choose the most level portion of land you have as well as how close the ramp is to windows, parked cars, neighbors yards, etc. Ideally the ramp will be placed on a concrete pad however most people don't have that available in their yards. Grass, dirt, wood chips, gravel, etc. are all suitable ground cover to place your ramp with the assistance of some sort of block. If you place the ramp on a lawn, be sure to cap any sprinkler heads the ramp is going on top of and/or redirect any nearby sprinklers that may spray the ramp.
Prepping the ramp area:
Once you've picked your location, take your ramps width and length and measure it out onto the land. About 6” to a foot wider than your ramp, in each corner, drive a wooden stake into the ground. Leave the stake at least 6” above ground (more if you're building on a very un-level surface) and attach a string line to the opposite corner. Do this for all four corners.
Laying out blocks as a foundation:
We typically use cinder block caps (2”x8”x16”) to create a level foundation for a mini ramp. What’s nice about the caps is that they’re thinner than traditional cinder blocks which gives you the ability to stack several in areas that are lower than the rest of the ground underneath the ramp. For most 8’ and 12’ wide ramps it’s a good idea to get anywhere between 2 and 4 dozen blocks depending on how level the ground is or isn’t. 16’ wide ramps generally need 4-6 dozen blocks. Cinder block caps can be found at most home improvement and building material stores for approximately $1.19 each (as of March 2018).
Now place the blocks along the perimeter as well as along the intersecting points of the sections (i.e. where the transition meets the floor frame). To the left is an example layout of one of our 3’x12’ mini ramps. Since the ramp is built in two 6’ wide sections you’ll want the dead center of the 12’ wide direction to be supported throughout. 6’ is the widest a span of the ramp should go without support. So make sure your 8’ long floor frame is supported in the middle and on 8’ wide mini ramps, make sure you add supporting blocks down the middle. Note, this is a sample layout and will vary depending on which size mini ramp you are assembling.
Making it level:
Now that you have a block laid out along the perimeter and all points of intersection, you’ll want to make sure each block is level to all of the other ones. Using a level (at least 2-3’ in length) and an 8’ long 2”x4” stud from your mini ramp kit, place the 8’ long 2”x4” from the highest block (i.e. tallest part of the yard) to another nearby block and put the level on top of the span to ensure it is level. To match heights you can either stack blocks, dig the bricks down into the dirt, or use cut up/ scrap pieces of plywood. Repeat this process for all of the other spans between blocks. Once your foundation is level and solid, you're ready your ramp.
Please keep in mind that this is just one of the many ways to level a mini half pipe. Other methods are definitely suitable, there are more heavy duty routes with the use of footings and posts as well as quick/ cheap alternatives using lumber. We’ve found blocks and shims to be the best mix of affordable and long-lasting.