Our relatively flat driveway opens to the street smack in the middle of a big hill. To give you some sense of scale, if you were to go to the top of the hill and sit on a skateboard you'd be going 80 miles an hour when you passed our house and close to breaking the sound barrier when you reached the bottom.
The problem with this topography is that playing with a ball in the driveway lasts about 5 seconds before fate drags it into the street and gravity pulls the ball down the hill like a gerbil being sucked into a black hole. In both cases, by the time the gerbil/ball has passed the event horizon, the end of the driveway in our case, there's no hope of retrieving it any time soon. Even worse, the kids desire to chase the balls and small rodents into black holes is palpable.
- Cover the entire driveway entrance
- Stop a basketball, any ball kicked, bricked, hurled or rolled towards it
- Be easy to move
- Be weather resistant 365 days a year
- Cost less than $100
There are a number of commercially available options, but most of them either got crappy reviews or cost at least a thousand dollars. So we went the home made route and came up with a perfect 3 fence solution for ~$80.
How To Build Driveway Fences
The first thing you're going to want to do is enlist some child labor. I was going to build these myself, but the kids were so eager to help I was able to pretty much sit there and watch while they worked.
Each Fence is made up of:
- 3 10’ x 1¼” PVC pipe. (This is a standard length at Lowes)
- ~ 2 feet of extra PVC
- 8 1¼” PVC T connectors
- 2 1¼” PVC elbows
- 4 1¼” PVC end caps
- ~50 8” Zip Ties
- Orange Construction Barrier Mesh (I have a lot left over if you need some)
What to do:
- Have a child cut a 10’ pipe into 3 equal lengths
- Repeat step 1 again. Your child just made the top and bottom lengths of the fence.
- Remind the child how much fun they are having. It helps to sound excited.
- Have the child cut the 3rd 10’ pipe into four 2’ lengths. He/She just made the vertical posts.
- Tell the child they have entered the bonus round!!!
- Have the child make four 9” lengths out of the remaining PVC. These will be the feet.
- Lay all the parts so they look like this. Cute little girl optional.
8. Give the child a mallet and either let them do what comes naturally or give them explicit instructions to put the pieces together. It should look something like this.
9. Praise your child on both their technique and a job well done. Seriously, while you were sitting there having a beer they just built a driveway fence that retails for $120.
10. Cut a single length of orange barrier mesh and use the zip ties to attach it to the fence frame. I put the ties on all corners and every 4 mesh loops. Seems to have worked. Note 3 year olds do not understand this task and can put 10 zip ties on the fence and not actually attach anything to anything. Even so, let them help. Zip ties are cheap and fun and the 3 year old will be thrilled to be helping.
11. Put the fence at the end of a driveway or top of a hill and throw some balls or gerbils at it. Watch how they bounce right back! Black hole averted!
Note: There is absolutely no need to put a car at the end of the driveway for these fences to work. At the time of this picture I had 9 freshly painted doors hanging in my garage so the car had to go somewhere.