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We are about to start on a phased plan to landscape our back yard. Phase one calls for a driveway to be poured behind our house, which will cross the entire property and connect two shared driveways on either side of our home.

Phase two involves adding a tiny house/office on the back of our lot which will need utilities including electrical.

I have no idea what our electrical needs will be, nor do I know the exact location of the structure.

What is the best way to prepare for an eventual electrical supply, given that it will need to run under the new driveway? Should I bury conduit without a cable, maybe with rope inside of it to pull cable in the future? Or should I go ahead and run cable through the conduit and terminate it in a box underground for future connection?

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Definitely run the largest conduit you can obtain across the driveway. Possibly two or three or four parallel runs -- you don't know if you will eventually want to use one for low-voltage cabling, another to pass a water pipe through, etc. PVC conduit holds up very well underground and is relatively cheap even in large diameters.

You can put conduit underneath the driveway and terminate it 10' away on both sides of it. Plug the ends with putty or something else removable, and you can reduce the conduit size to whatever size you actually need in the future when it comes time to do the installation.

For such a short length of conduit, I wouldn't worry about a pull cable. You can easily run a fish tape 15-30 ft.

  • Good thoughts. I guess even if I use a direct-bury cable i can still fish it thru the conduit... – andrewniesen Sep 26 '17 at 12:04
  • You'd have to come to the surface to do that, though. You'll thank yourself later to lay 2-3 hefty conduits the whole way. Is water/sewer realistic there? It's not the water that's hard, it's the sewer. – Harper Sep 26 '17 at 13:53
  • @Harper I wouldn't come to the surface. I would just put a pin in the ground (rebar works and is cheap) to mark the spot, and leave the conduit buried underground. When he's ready to use it, he can dig it back up. – David Pfeffer Sep 26 '17 at 14:14
  • I might just run it the whole way to the back of the lot (or close to it) and do the rebar pin thing. – andrewniesen Sep 26 '17 at 15:33
  • I am planning on going ahead and running sewer to the current exterior cleanout. Fortunately our whole lot slopes slightly toward the street, so pitch is easy with the sewer. – andrewniesen Sep 26 '17 at 15:34

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