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Driveway Design

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by CT18fireman, Jan 12, 2002.

  1. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    I know there was a thread before about how people had been called when a developer was designing a new parking lot.

    Got me thinking, some of the driveways could have been better designed if they talked to plowers as well as landscape planners. I went to look at a driveway that went downhill and then was surrounded by the garage and a retaining wall on three sides. Where do you put the snow? All the snow will need to be pulled out of the driveway and stacked in the front yard. This will result in a higher price for the customer. Better planning of places to put snow would have made the driveway easier and less expensive.

    Anyone have a similiar experience?
  2. Sno

    Sno Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    Ya, I have 4 identical drives. Up hill to the garage about 30 ft long.

    Yard is higher (hilled) on both sides, still not sure how I'm going to do it with out pushing it across the street.

    I did it once, still not sure how it worked after I thought about it.

    I dragged it back to the end of the drive from the garage.

    Then came back at it on an angle, the truck was level with the street but the plow had to try and angle the contour of the drive.

    If all that makes sense...

    It didnt clear the snow at the end very good, didnt know why till I got home and thought about it..

    I need another game plan for that one I believe.

    May have to put it in the street, then the front yard?
  3. site

    site Member
    Messages: 61

    My experience is that most folks fail to think of snow removal during driveway design. We plow a bunch of condos with rediculous driveway designs. Of course, we must charge extra for our services at these properties.
    My favorite one right now is a private road with several small cul-de-sacs. In one of these cul-de-sacs all the yards are landscaped right up to the road. Every house on the road has insisted that no snow whatsoever be piled in their yards or on their landscaping. The road is also on a fairly steep hill towards this whole mess. We have two choices- during small storms we can push all the snow from this area 250 feet down an 8' wide swath of common land at the side of the circle. During larger storms we leave the snow at the edges of the circle and remove it later- this can be interesting.
    I got beat up a few times when bidding properties with this type of trouble, but luckily I learn from my mistakes.
  4. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I'm lucky in this respect as there is still quite a bit of open space in my area.

    I do have a related story, though. I used to drive tractor trailer for a grocery chain here in N.Y. I was making the first delivery to a newly remodeled store in an exclusive Westchester neighborhood. When I arrived at the store, I found I couldn't reach the loading dock without driving over the parking islands they had paid some fancy architect megabucks to design. When I returned to the warehouse I told my supervisor, they had to rip up and redesign the parking lot for access by trucks.

    The moral: Architects don't care about function, only asthetics.
  5. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862


    The moral: Architects don't care about function, only asthetics.

    Amen, Thats the truth! I have plowed many a driveway in very exclusive neighborhoods, where the driveway looked great bit was next to impossible to plow.

    I currently do one where I can barely squeeze my 86 chevy K10 with 7.5 Fisher between the pillars. Then there is the circular drive....

    What I really need is a CJ - Jeep!
  6. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    A lot of time I find it is because the owners want the house up on a hill or to have a water view. Living near a large lake means I plow a lot that go straight downhill or uphill and end with no where to stack snow.

    One builder that I know who does custom homes from lot clearing to trim lays out his drives better. Why? He is the one that plowsw them until they are sold. He thinks about more than just the look of the landscape.

    WHITE=GREEN Senior Member
    Messages: 161

    i doubt many people/builders would ever design a driveway to accomodate snow removal. when designing and building homes there are a million other things going on to worry about "the guy that has to come in and plow the driveway". if they had to plow it themselves they might think twice (prob not), but they dont, so be it, that what we are for.
  8. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,224

    With that said that's why they get charged more,What I don't understand is why do they cry when they get the bill for having to clean the mess that they created?
  9. steveair

    steveair Senior Member
    Messages: 176


    one of the biggest problems with designer's and architects is that they lack 'real world' experience when it comes down to designing.

    Many times, function vs. form is the issue, along with many other factors, budgets being one of the key ones.

    Most designers/architects have never plowed snow. Therefore they truly lack understanding......they may even plan for snow, but still don't truly understand concept.

    As a designer myself, I am always trying to convince people that 'doing it that way would not be in there best interest'.

    One problem I often see is with fences.....people insist on having that backyard pool fence put right at the end of the drive......I always try to convince them to set it back at least 4 feet, and then, have to convince them not to put shrubs in that area, as they will be just as much a problem as the fence.

    other problems are beds along drives........again people insist on haveing lavish gardens along drives, or even worse, decorative stone walls. All nightmares when it comes to plowing.

    I think that because I have worked 'in the trenches' many of these simple design principals come easily to me....however, for many a designer/architect they are clueless.

    Very few planners have that 'real world' experience. If they did, the snow plowers life would be much easier.

    Another problem is that 'key' building property is no longer available. All the nice, flat parcels of land are long gone. Now builders are blasting into mountains and filling in swamps to accomadate housing developments. With all the cost issues involved with just getting a house in as it is, the drive is often the last one. In most cases, new homes should have never been built in some locations as it is......so no matter what, it is going to be dificult/

    Big problem is these owners are oblivious to the fact that there house is a nightmare. From mowing the 60 degree hill in the front, from solving the river washing out there drive, to plowing up a 45 degree hill with 4 90 degree turns. All they see is a driveway.......all we see is a headache.

    Last edited: Jan 13, 2002
  10. 4 Saisons

    4 Saisons Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    Like many other things, desigers are not the users, so the worst may always been expected.

    Ours city had raise the fine for bad snow management and last spring ( Snowplowing licence ) they try to implant a system of licence, but when they ask us to bring ours snow route to get the licence, a lot of plower was not ready for that. So with the help of a lawyer, they find good arguments and finally the city council abort the project of the licence. This is bad because they did it probably to cover "under the table money" and the worst, lowballer and uninsured plowers are still there.

    All this happen by a poor architects design.

    Few years ago, around our golf course they build a lot of condo of each 2-4 units, but there is not enough lawn in the front yard versus the black top to pile snow. So in the middle of the winter, one lane is missing in the street. and very ugly to see all the car in the summertime.

    If we can get more snow, i dream to see if those people will be fined.


    this is french, so copy and paste in the translator
  11. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    A person I know who is an engineer says, "The only thing an architect is good for is to tell you what color to paint your building."

    Probably true, but because of the engineering on the project I've been on recently I've come moreso than ever to believe that *nobody* should be allowed to pick up a pencil until they've spent a couple years using a shovel. Also, I think they should have to design using big fat marking pens, rather than fine tipped ones, That way in order to see what they were drawing they'd automatically have to keep things far enough apart so that you could actually build them in real life...

    As a ditch digger I've come to dislike landscape architects more than the others. My apologies to any of you Green Industry types who might wear both hats, although if you're here reading this you probably at least have a clue...

    (Not really on point as far as plowing goes, I know, I just needed to vent...)
  12. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    Often soft landscaping is just as much of a problem as the building and hardscape.
  13. Remsen1

    Remsen1 Senior Member
    Messages: 188

    Looks like there is an opening here for a profession that we could accel in.

    I am more selective in taking customers. I take a look at it and if it looks like hell, I quote a price from hell.
  14. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    That has been my strategy. It amazes me some of the prices that people will pay. Obviously they understand the difficulty of the drive. More money for me I guess.

    It just seems odd that the same town that allows the driveway to be laid out will then complain when snow has to be pushed across the street. If they would think a little more then it would make our work easier. Guess I am asking to much from a municipality.
  15. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I've gotten selective with my accounts as well. If they have Belgian blocks, I take a pass, they're just not worth the hassle.
  16. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    I wish I lived closer to you Pelican, I would take all the Belgium Block lined driveways you could send me!!!!

    Thats what they make marker poles and polyurethane edges for!

    Besides if someone has the money to line a long driveway with Belgium Block ($16-$18 installed per linear foot) they have the money to pay me to plow their drive.

  17. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    One house I worked on 15 or so years ago has a circular turnaround that's *all* Belgium Block. 10,000 or so, if I recall...

    (Also, if I recall the kitchen cabinets cost $27,000. At the time I was living in a $21,000 house...)
  18. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    The people in the neighborhood I'm thinking of don't want to part with their money any more (and probably even less) so than most. If you were to cause any damage (and who can tell how well these things were installed?) I can only imagine how the fur would fly! I like to push my windrows back about 3' on each side of the drive for future snows, I don't know how this would be done without causing damage. Like I said before, it ain't worth the trouble.
  19. Mike Hughes

    Mike Hughes Member
    Messages: 51

    If a designer were really smart, he/she would install heating elements in the ground where the snow gets piled......so it would melt away and you would never have to have snow removed off the property........
  20. Rob

    Rob PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 306

    That is a design option. Of course I think you'd need to have some disposable income, but there are homes in the area that have heated walks and in a few cases driveways. This is more common on commercial accounts, though. Many Post Offices have heated steps / sidewalks. I would think that it pretty much eliminates the slip and fall injuries.