How wide should a driveway be and what is the average driveway width in the UK?
If you are considering a new driveway, then any contractor you contact will be interested to know how many vehicles you want to park as there are industry standards and averages, they work to.
The average dimensions of a private parking space in the UK are a minimum width of 3m, that’s for a single car and without any variations like disabled access. A two-car driveway is even wider at 4.8m and a three-car driveway width, 10.8m. 4.8m, the average width for two cars, is also the recommended minimum length for residential driveways in the UK.
Driveway widths and lengths are not a free for all as there are local council regulations which have to be adhered to plus, permitted widths can be affected by any abutting features like a fence or walls.
Find out from your local council the dimensions that apply to your area; these can vary around the UK so don’t make any assumptions. A countrywide average width seems to be 3m which gives enough room for most motorists to park and fully open the car doors.
How to make the most of your space
Most UK households now have at least two cars and that can place a real premium on driveway space and also force homeowners to question how wide a driveway should be. However, a double car space on the driveway doesn’t have to be twice the width of a single-car driveway just as long as there is enough room to swing open the car doors to their full extent.
A larger driveway gives you space to park bigger vehicles like 4x4s and store larger, occasional vehicles such as trailers or motorhomes. It also provides handy storage for things you might want to keep outside but covered up like wood for the fire.
What factors influence the width of a driveway?
- How much space you have available in front of the house
- How many vehicles you need to park
- Whether there are any disabled users or small children who need to have car seats added
- Whether you are trying to avoid having to apply for planning permission
- Specific requirements such as a vehicle which is used for business purposes, and which is regularly loaded and unloaded
Always remember to think ahead, you won’t have your current car forever and may end up going bigger or smaller on your next vehicle purchase. You could have young people in the household who may be buying their first car in a year or two and the requirement for parking could suddenly increase.
Bigger driveways always add value to the property and will really appeal at sale time so, even if you don’t want the extra space now, it is worth thinking about making a new driveway as large as possible if the budget allows.
Planning a new driveway, what do you need to consider?
- Number of cars – don’t forget visitors and children back from university and think about your daily routine and how wide should a driveway be to actually benefit your scenario. Parking cars in single file can be really irritating for people who are always going in and out as their car is inevitably blocked in by another vehicle
- Size of vehicles – a standard driveway won’t be long enough or wide enough for a 4×4 and if you are regularly parking work vans then these are always oversized and, you will need a surface which can support heavier vehicles
- Turning circles – allow enough room or you could end up permanently driving over the lawn
- Surface – consider cost, longevity and aesthetic appearance, many householders are now interested in environmentally friendly surfaces and processes
- Planning permission – you probably won’t need planning permission to increase the width of your driveway. Local authorities are only interested in larger driveways if the chosen surface is not permeable and there could be a build up of surface water when it rains. Discuss this with your driveway contractor and also your local planning department. If you are making the driveway wider and the corresponding entrance/exit point onto the road, then there may a requirement to drop the kerb and this will always require planning permission.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is driveway parking safer?
Everyone is familiar with the question about where the car is parked overnight when arranging motor insurance and that’s because the premium is usually lower if the car is parked on a driveway rather than on the street. Parking on a private driveway is far less likely to result in accidental damage to your vehicle like scratches or scuffs or a knocked wing mirror. It is also easier to protect your car from theft or from being broken into especially if your driveway is well lit.
Will a larger driveway increase the value of my home?
A bigger driveway or a circular driveway where you can turn cars around will increase the value of your home and data suggests by as much as 10%. Parking is a top priority for most people when they are looking for a new home and now that electric cars have entered the marketplace, off street parking with the chance to use your own charge point is at an even greater premium.
How can I accurately measure my driveway?
There are lots of handy apps which can help with this or just go the old-fashioned way with a couple of stakes and a tape measure.