How do we prevent our driveway from being destroyed by large trucks?
October 23, 2008 8:43 AM   Subscribe

How can we protect our (crushed stone) driveway at the end of a narrow street from damage from trucks using it as a turnaround?

Our crushed stone driveway has been a source of difficulty twice previously. So far, we've managed to do well on these things, and we like the crushed-stone. (Large gravel for those who are unfamiliar). We have another problem, and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions we hadn't considered.

Our house is at the end of a narrow street with ~20 houses on it. Unfortunately, this means that nearly every truck (generally 5-10 per week; it's delivery trucks, garbage trucks, contractors with heavy equipment, etc.) uses our driveway to turn around. I wouldn't mind as much if it didn't rip our driveway to shreds. We're about to add more stone (it erodes away over time), but we'd rather not have it look like crap again in a week.

What options do we have to prevent trucks from using our driveway as a turnaround? Several of our neighbors have ashphalt driveways which would work fine as an alternative, but ours is nice and wide and and therefore very attractive to trucks.

We'd like a solution which is visually pleasing and (ideally) not unfriendly; we'd rather not gate our driveway, for example. Something which allows a normal car to pass without having to remove a chain or post would be nice if possible. There is, of course, a preference for reasonable cost, but feel free to throw out suggestions that might seem a bit out there...

posted by JMOZ to Home & Garden (15 answers total)
Can you put out a couple of boulders right at the entrance that narrows the drive to just over car width?
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 8:46 AM on October 23, 2008

Put up two removable signs ("No Turnaround") in a formation that narrows the driveway so only cars can pass through.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:53 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Or a variation of Uncle Jimmy's idea.... knock out some of the stones parallel to and about 3-4 ft in from the curb and put a line of bushes (juniper?) there, except for an entrance that is about 7 or 8 ft wide.
posted by crapmatic at 9:05 AM on October 23, 2008

How about going up, and erecting something between two posts right at the end of the driveway that is high enough to allow a car to pass under, but low enough that a truck cannot? Something decorative, very visible, but easily placed -- and removed if you need to have a truck enter your driveway for a delivery.
posted by Dreama at 9:06 AM on October 23, 2008

As people say, you could block by width - such as with two heavy plant pots, or by changing the fence around your property to feature a narrower entry way; you could block by height, such as with an archway or gazebo-like structure; you can also get automatic gates (if you've got the cash - I wouldn't go for a manual gate, as no-one ever bothers to close them). You could modify your crushed stone so it can accept heavy vehicles, or have the first few metres of your drive asphalt then change to crushed stone for the main driveway.
posted by Mike1024 at 9:06 AM on October 23, 2008

Driveway gates can be quite friendly and attractive. Here's one example.
posted by JimN2TAW at 9:11 AM on October 23, 2008

I guess I personally would go for a mix:

1) add asphalt or concrete for the first 3-4 feet.
2) install concrete-filled steel pipes on either side of the driveway, at the point where the hard surface stops (or a little before it). Make sure these have significant foundations. This way folks can use the first couple feet to complete their turn if they need to, but the posts protect the rest of the softer-surfaced driveway.

This assumes that you will never need to get an extra-wide vehicle up your driveway. If that's a possibility, then I'd go for the additional expense and install real vehicle barriers -- there are posts that fit into buried sockets, so you can remove them if need be. Some even flip down (however, these have a socket that protrudes a couple inches from ground level).

I'd consider adding a second set of posts even further out, to prevent someone from using your lawn instead.

Inexpensive plantings can then disguise the posts a bit, and nobody will hit the plants unless they're already going to hit the posts anyway.
posted by aramaic at 9:33 AM on October 23, 2008

Automatic gate, with the code-required manually operable human sized gate immediately
adjacent. You might want an indicator on that human gate so you know in the house when
someone comes through it. Don't bother with wooden gateposts: use steel box girders.

I live on a cul-de-sac with an undersized turnaround, with a gravel driveway, and if I did
and if I did not have a gate, 30,000 pound vehicles would be using my driveway at least
once a day (water trucks, gravel trucks, propane trucks, etc). You'll wonder how you did
without it.
posted by the Real Dan at 9:54 AM on October 23, 2008

Can you put out a couple of boulders right at the entrance that narrows the drive to just over car width?

And cross your fingers that you never have a fire or require a FedEx delivery or need a plumber.
posted by JackFlash at 9:57 AM on October 23, 2008

Response by poster: Well, permanent things to narrow it don't work; we do need it to be accessible to contractors, etc. on occasion. Making (removable) posts look attractive seems like a challenge, though I like the planting idea. (vines, maybe?). I really like Dreama's idea of something overhead, but I'll have to check with my wife on the aesthetics of that. She will likely determine the best answer.

I'm certainly open to other answers, so keep them coming. Thanks to everyone so far for your help.
posted by JMOZ at 10:30 AM on October 23, 2008

In a situation similar to yours a local business tried to discourage trucks by planted shrubs and doing some additional landscaping. The trucks just drove over them and tore up the grass so I'm not sure planted pots or tiny shrubs are going to do the trick. They ended up removing the bushes and putting two-ton boulders in the way.

However, as JackFlash suggests, permanently reducing the width or height of your driveway has implications if you need delivery trucks, machinery or fire trucks to reach your house.

I'm thinking simply paving or asphalting the bottom dozen feet of your driveway might be the best approach.
posted by pixlboi at 10:36 AM on October 23, 2008

Best answer: Why not narrow it "permanently" using those decorative poles that fit inside some underground pole, they are immobile horizontally, but easy to remove vertically, except when held by a pad lock. If you get two with eyes, then you can attach a chain between them when heavy traffic is frequent or you're both away. If you have your own contractors, then you can remove the poles all together.

A very ascetic solution used by many universities is an underground hydraulic cylinder operated by remove control, but I'm sure those are expensive.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:49 AM on October 23, 2008

One way to make seeming immobile planters more movable is by filling them most of the way up with packing peanuts (the evil non-composting kind). For example: we have a lovely half wine barrel planted with ferns that, instead of being filled with dirt and gosh darn heavy, is filled 3/4 of the way with packing peanuts and then has a shallow planter on top fitted with heavy duty landscaping fabric. This is easily moved by two people or one person and a dolly but looks quite permanent.
posted by rosebengal at 10:59 AM on October 23, 2008

A very ascetic solution used by many universities is an underground hydraulic cylinder operated by remove control, but I'm sure those are expensive.

Yes, one of these would probably stop your truck problem.

I'm not sure planted pots or tiny shrubs are going to do the trick.

When a planter reaches a certain size it becomes a "Security planter".

I was going to suggest getting such a planter, and moving it with a pallet truck when you need to, but of course a pallet truck wouldn't work on a gravel driveway.
posted by Mike1024 at 11:38 AM on October 23, 2008

To conceal the traffic posts, you could bolt/glue/weld a solar "garden light" on top, then paint everything the same color. Done right, it'd look like a lamppost, and it'd work like one too. Might need to put some reflecto tape on there, just in case.
posted by aramaic at 11:45 AM on October 23, 2008

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