Designing a farm lane

Your farm lane is the most important part of the property. It takes you where you need to go and gets you back to the house. So when designing a lane there are some key things to pay attention to.

Ben Pequeno owns a paving company and offers advice on his website, drivewaytips.com. He says most lanes are usually a simple straight run from the road to the garage, or wherever you want it to lead you. However, the width of the lane is an important consideration.

"You want to make sure it's 10 feet wide because 8 feet is a little too narrow, and 12 feet is probably a little too wide for a single car. If you're expecting quite a bit of traffic going in and out, you might want to go double wide," says Pequeno. "In that case I'd recommend at least 18-20 feet, 20 feet being more preferable. And that would allow one car to be coming in at the same time another vehicle could be exiting without having to back up or move out of the way."

 The plan should also include a turn-around area. This allows you to drive forward out of the lane without having to back out of it. Pequeno says the rule of thumb is 10'x20' for a single lane, 20'x20' for a double.  

If the lane will be winding on hilly terrain, Pequeno recommends building it on angles because of washout concerns. Your gravel choice on a hill should be made carefully.

"You don't want to get something with a lot of clay in it," he says. "Clay gravel will tend to turn to mud and get mushy on you when it rains. You don't want to use loose stone for gravel. I'd rather see something that's going stand up and pack every time it rains rather than turn to mud."

Concrete and asphalt are other surfacing options, but Pequeno says for most rural applications they're impractical because of the cost.

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