Cattle Guards Without Foundations


Cattle guards can provide years of effortless livestock containment without the need for gates. You no longer have to stop, open a gate while fending off cows only to pull forward and repeat the process again. They allow an effortless crossing for vehicles while creating a secure livestock barrier for your animals.

A Traditional Concrete Foundation Is Not Always Needed

cattle guard installation diagram

One of the criticisms of getting a guard is the time and labor associated with an installation. To make things much easier for driveways and use on private property, there are now three different designs that don’t require a concrete foundation!

These new designs don’t require the digging and the pouring of cement foundations seen with traditional installations. They are built to be quickly and easily added by setting directly on the ground.

Below are the new removable box and integral box designs made to make installation quick and easy

Boxed Designs Lays Directly on the Ground

Setting these cattle crossings directly on the ground is the easiest installation option available. This type of setting requires a specially designed feature called a box.

The box is a steel skirt that surrounds the perimeter to prevent dirt from entering below the guard. It’s important to keep the area below the top rails clear of dirt and debris so animals can’t walk across. If the vaulted area did fill with dirt, it would fill in the areas between the rails creating a bridge that would allow animals to simply walk across.

Keeping the area below and in between the rails clear is necessary for an effective barrier. 

There are two designs for cattle guards that are built to set directly on the ground: Welded and Removable Boxes


Welded Box Cattle Guards

The box on this design is created by welding a steel skirt directly to the perimeter of a traditional cattle grid. This allows it to be set right on the roadway without digging a traditional foundation. The area beneath the top rails is preserved from dirt ‘creeping in’ by the box.

Picture of a Boxed Cattle Guard

cattle guard with a steel box welded to the outside

Note that the box does not provide any additional structural support, it only keeps dirt from getting in below the top rails.

Some will bury the guard to match the height of the roadway. Others will simply lay it down and push dirt ramps up on either side for crossing vehicles. Either of these installations will allow vehicles access to cross over the structure.

This design is very popular for low traffic areas such as driveways and remote areas that don’t require a traditional concrete foundation. Construction sites also find them useful as they can be moved from job-to-job.

If the guard does need to be cleaned out, you may drag it out of place, remove the accumulated debris and move it back in place. Easy to maintain, keep clean and even move to another location if desired.


Removable Box

Another unique design that doesn’t require a concrete foundation is the removable box option. Like the boxed option above, this one is built to rest directly on the roadway.

The removable feature means you can take the guard out of the box without disturbing the surrounding site. See the picture below and note how the site would be preserved even if the guard is removed.

Removable Box Cattle Guard

cattle guard being removed from the box

The most common installation for this design is to slightly bury the box in the ground and set the guard inside. The box preserves the surrounding area when you lift the grid to clean and remove debris below. Set the guard back in the box when done with minimal disruption.

The box options are available on all the round top rail grids, from the 8’er all the way up to the 20′ Cattle Guards.

Foundations without Cement

Make sure you foundation will provide the support and security needed for a long-lasting installation. If your site isn’t exactly level or your require additional security to keep the guard in place, there are a couple of options available.

Railroad Ties

Pouring cement is not the only available option for securing a foundation. Simply burying a set of railroad ties and securing the guard to them can solve many ‘walking’ issues.

When vehicles cross the steel grid, they can impart lateral forces across the barrier. This repeated force and promote movement in the structure. This is especially true if your site isn’t perfectly level.

Bolting your guard to buried ties creates a wider foot-print for the transfer of weight from the rails to the ground. It also creates a more stable setting that protects from lateral movement.


As with any construction, your structure is only as secure as your foundation. When selecting your site, it’s important to provide proper drainage to prevent sinking or moving.

Avoid drainage issues by setting the guard on a bed of crushed gravel. The gravel allows the water to pass through to the ground beneath with minimal disruption to the surround supporting soil.

As with any building, a contractor who is familiar with the site and local conditions (drainage, freezing levels and even local building codes etc) should be consulted for a long-lasting installation.

If you have any questions on selecting a guard for your project please let us know. We’d also be happy to forward a quote with shipping for your review! | Barn World | (720) 23-2190


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