apache cannot see directory



I am attempting to install a php program on a local mac OSX (10.3) machine. Firstly can I state that I am a mac novice. I have got LAMP working OK. The problem I have is that the install for the php program asks to set up a data directory to accomodate html uploads. Fine. This should be accessible to the server file directory, but not via http. Fine. Understood. However, no matter where I seem to create this directory, I get errors to say that the server cannot access this directory.

Can anyone help?

One more thing - is there a way of setting mysql automatically running on boot, rather than go through a manual sequence of commands?