A driveway with poor drainage will be expensive and particularly damaging to nearby creeks. Get to know how water moves through the landscape in the wet season
Steep slopes (greater than 1 in 5) are often shallow and unstable – a driveway will likely erode quickly and be a significant upfront and ongoing expense. You may need to consider cement or bitumen on the wheel tracks and piping and curbing for drains.
Soil loss can be minimised using storm water drains with siltation traps that spread rather than concentrate the water flow. This will minimise impacts and reduce the chance of contaminating creeks.
Consider the type of vehicle usage and allow for construction and delivery vehicles such as furniture-removal vans.
Drains at the edge of the driveway should direct water away from the road, especially on driveway corners. Drains can be filled with rocks, and palms planted along the edges will help slow the water flow down and allow it to soak into the ground.
A driveway that crosses a creek will channel erosion and run-off into the creek, adding sediments, changing its ecology and turning it brown. Try to avoid creek crossings but if you can’t you will need to use large diameter piping (500mm+) in drains or in flood creeks to control erosion and high rainfall water movement.
All our properties are potentially home to rare and threatened plants and significant cultural heritage sites. It’s recommended, and may be required, that you get ecological and cultural heritage surveys before any clearing or earthmoving.
Earthworks can cause damage to tree roots and may introduce diseases and weeds to your property. Selective removal of small trees by hand and winding driveways around bigger trees may be all that is required to reach your house.
Improve drainage by making sure the driveway has a sufficient camber to allow water to run into gutters and drains at the edges;
Trench diggers or backhoes are smaller and less damaging than the larger excavators for digging gutters and laying drainage and you can operate them yourself.
Avoid wheel ruts by making the driveway wide enough to vary the path of a vehicle
Removing tree roots can cause die-back and tree fall. If the site allows it, lay gravel on top of the topsoil and roots and then compact it.
On swampy ground you may have to use more road base to ensure the road is hardened for vehicle use. This will mean that you will need to consider how water will move over the landscape which includes water moving into your site, onsite and offsite runoff.
If you do decide to employ a contractor, make sure they have plenty of local experience and if you can, have a look at a job they have done. Preferably one that has seen a wet season.
Research has found that maintaining the forest canopy over the road will protect the surface and reduce maintenance costs.
- Plan you work so it is completed and stabilised well before the wet season.
Walk the length of your driveway during and after heavy rain to observe water flows. Look for ways to slow down and divert the water.
There were previously no permits or planning applications required for constructing a driveway access, so you may have inherited a poorly constructed or positioned driveway – follow the design and construction guidelines to look for ways you can improve it without making significant changes.
You will need to lay extra gravel or road base, as often as every year.
If your driveway is on a slope, you will probably have to dig your drains out as often as every year to avoid significant ruts.
Vary the path of your vehicle to avoid wheel ruts.
- If your driveway is in very poor condition driving on it will only make the problem worse and more expensive to fix - avoid using it until you can at least lay more gravel.