If you are considering building a new driveway or expanding your current one, you may be wondering how wide you should make it. This is not a simple question: it depends on the size of vehicles that will use the driveway, the volume of traffic on it, and various aesthetic and practical factors. So, how do you determine the best dimensions for your driveway? We've done the research, and we have the answers for you!
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Following are the typical dimensions of various types of driveways:
- Single-car driveway: 10' - 12' wide
- Loop driveway: 12' wide
- Double-car driveway: 20' - 24' wide
- Parking space (per car): 10' wide x 22' long
- Turnaround for single-car: 10' wide x 20' long
- Turnaround for two cars: 20' wide x 20' long
- Driveway opening: Same size as driveway, or up to 4' wider
While these dimensions are typical, they are not required. Depending on how you want your driveway to look and how you plan to use it, you may choose to make it wider than standard. In the remainder of this article, we'll discuss each size of driveway in detail. We will also examine some of the most common questions about driveway zoning requirements. Keep reading to learn more!
Dimensions Of Different Types Of Driveways
As you plan the dimensions of your new driveway, think carefully about how you intend to use it. If you plan to have frequent traffic from guests, clients, or household members, consider a double-car driveway or a loop drive. Make sure your driveway is wide enough that vehicles will not rub against trees or bushes alongside it. And, if the drive is curved, make it a foot or two wider than standard to reduce the likelihood of driving off the side and damaging the driveway's foundation.
A single-car driveway should be at least 10' - 12' wide. The minimum recommended width for SUVs and pickup trucks is 10'. For work trucks, trailers, and small RVs, allocate a minimum of 12' in width. If your space is minimal and you expect only small vehicles to use your driveway, a width of 8' - 9' is possible; however, a driveway this narrow may be challenging to navigate, especially for delivery and service vehicles. If you have a long single-car driveway, you may want to include one or more widened areas where two vehicles can pass each other.
A double-car driveway is best if you plan to drive a large RV, tractor-trailer truck, or farm equipment on it, or if you regularly have people coming and going from your home. The minimum recommended width of a double-car driveway is 20'. This is big enough to allow two cars to pass each other on the drive, but it is not sufficiently wide to park two cars side-by-side and still be able to open the doors. To solve that problem, you may install a widened parking area or make the entire driveway 24' wide.
Loop driveways are attractive and classy; they also encourage one-way traffic so that cars going in opposite directions do not have to pass each other. Make your loop driveway at least 2' wider than standard so that vehicles are less likely to drive off the edge when rounding the curves. This is particularly important for drives constructed with asphalt, which is the most common material used in loop driveways. Driving off the edge causes damage to the asphalt's outside edges, ultimately leading to crumbling and potholes.
Driveway With Turnaround
If your driveway is too long to conveniently back out of, or if the view of the road is obstructed at the driveway's entrance, you should consider installing a turnaround. The turnaround can be placed anywhere along the drive. It should be long and wide enough for a car to pull in and then back out, going in the other direction. Single-car turnarounds (the most common type) are at least 10' wide by 20' long; double-car turnarounds are 20' wide by 20' long. To keep vehicles from driving over the edges of the turnaround, install edging around its perimeter.
While many homeowners use garages to park their vehicles, others park at the head of the driveway. However, if you anticipate the need for additional parking spaces, you can build them at or near the head of the drive. Each parking space should measure 10' wide by 22' deep. If you plan to park two cars next to each other, increase each space's width to 12' to allow the car doors to open without bumping. You can mark off the individual parking spaces with paint if you wish.
Driveway entrances are typically the same width as the drives themselves; however, there are some exceptions. You may choose to install an apron at the drive's street end, typically 4' wider than the drive itself. Some homeowners prefer a wider apron or even a turnaround at the end of the drive, especially if navigating from the driveway into the street is difficult due to high traffic or obstructed vision. If you have a gate at the end of your drive, it should be placed 2' or 4' wider than the driveway.
Do I Need A Permit To Widen My Driveway?
Always check with your local code official before taking on a project such as widening your driveway. You will not need a permit in most areas as long as you are working only on your own property. However, if your project extends to the public right-of-way, you will almost certainly need a permit. By asking your code official before you begin work, you can save yourself headaches and avoid penalties.
How Close To The Property Line Can I Put A Driveway?
In most communities, the edge of a driveway can be no closer to your property line than five feet. However, building codes in every municipality are different, so be sure to check with your local code official before you begin work. Especially in rural areas where homes are far apart, it may be possible to site all or part of your driveway just on your side of the property line. This may also be the case in densely populated urban areas where lot sizes are small, and the need for parking is great.
What Is A Driveway Encroachment?
A driveway encroachment occurs when one homeowner's driveway extends across the property line onto the neighbor's property. If the encroachment is only a few inches onto the neighboring property, it is usually not a source of conflict. However, if it is a foot or more in width or makes it difficult for the neighbor to park or open car doors, an encroachment may become a problem. If you are building or updating your driveway, take care not to encroach on your neighbor's property.
If, on the other hand, a neighbor's driveway encroaches on your property, you have several options:
- Ignore the encroachment (typically when it's small and not problematic to you)
- Sell or deed the small strip of land to your neighbor
- Grant your neighbor an easement to use that part of your property
- Hire a lawyer and force your neighbor to remove her/his driveway from your property.
A driveway encroachment can potentially cause a problem when you try to sell your home. If a title search shows a major encroachment or one that has not been legally resolved, it may cause potential buyers to shy away from purchasing your home.
Does A Paved Driveway Add Value?
A well-maintained, attractive driveway not only adds value to your home but also adds to its curb appeal and can help it sell more quickly. The type of driveway surface that adds the most value varies from home to home and neighborhood to neighborhood. In older, classic neighborhoods, for example, brick pavers might be most appropriate. In new subdivisions, asphalt driveways provide a clean, modern look. And in urban areas where rainfall runoff is a major problem, a water-permeable driveway is an important selling point.
Your driveway is a critical part of your landscape and your home. An attractive driveway can add curb appeal and value. Whether you decide to install a single-car or double-car driveway, a loop or a turnaround, parking spaces, or a gate, following the guidelines above can help you plan a driveway that will serve you well for years to come!
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