The decision to turn a front yard into a driveway is often time a last resort for most homeowners as they are faced with the problem of limited or no parking space on their property.
Although getting a driveway out of your front yard is not always a walk in the park, it can be achieved. Depending on your area of residence, there are certain things to consider.
In some cases you have to seek permission before any work can be done on your front yard, this is to ensure the work to be done is in line with a laid down guide and that it won’t be affecting the neighbors or community as a whole.
A driveway has so many benefits both to the homeowners and neighbors, it helps to take more cars off the street and a more organized and beautiful neighborhood is established. Unfortunately, not all houses have a driveway.
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What is a Driveway?
A driveway is also known as a Drive or Parkway. Usually a private space. It is a path leading up from a public road to individual residences. Driveways are private roads leading to a house or garage.
In the case where the house is set far back from the road, the driveway is usually a stretch of many yards while in other cases it’s just a few feet long. The end of the driveway is usually where you park your car. It is always on private property.
Can You Turn a Front Yard into a Legal Driveway?
Definitely, you can turn your front yard into a legal driveway. Turning a front yard into a driveway isn’t a walk in the park, there are certain authorities that need to be in the know about it, measurements to be taken, documents to be signed.
When putting a property up for sale, one with a driveway has a higher value than one without. The value placed on the property is also dependent on the area it is located.
How to Make your Front Yard a Legal Driveway
A legal driveway is a private road leading in and out of individual residences authorized by law.
When considering turning your front yard into a legal driveway you have to inform the appropriate authorities of your intentions and obtain planning permission.
Planning permission is simply you asking from the authority if you can carry out some building work on your property, in this case, permission to turn your front yard into a driveway.
Most times the permission is granted subject to some conditions you’ll have to adhere to, and it can also be refused. Getting planning permission is dependent on the type of surface you want to use.
If you are using a porous surface that easily drains water such as gravel, porous asphalt, or if the water is directed to the border to drain naturally then getting permission may not be necessary.
Pros of Having a Driveway?
Let’s face it, the benefits of having a driveway are beyond your having a space to park your cars. It could be a major reason but there are a lot of other benefits attached. Read on for some other benefits:
1. Increased Property Value
Adding a driveway or improving on it is a great selling point that increases the worth of your property, either for immediate sale or future sale.
It is the first thing buyers see when they are checking out the house, not having a driveway can be a major reason why the sales deal won’t be closed. It’s like adding sugar to honey.
2. Accessible Without Difficulty
It is way better than parking your cars beside the road or going back and forth looking for a parking space every day. Simple tasks like carrying heavy boxes, shopping bags inside the house are made very easy since it is close to the house.
A busy person after a long and stressful day will just want to get home and rest, a convenient driveway makes the process from the car to the house very easy.
3. Adds to the Beauty of the House
A driveway that matches and complements the color of the house adds to its beauty visually and also appeals to potential buyers.
At some point, we have all been past a house and left in awe by the way it looks. It gives your house a distinct look and makes it stand out from all others.
Driveways that are well laid with proper maintenance have the potential of lasting for a long period. That is why you can tow someone’s car for blocking our driveway.
5. No Fear of Theft
Since driveways are close to the house, you can rest easily without the fear of if your car is safe outside. It is also very easy to hear the alarm on the car go off in case of any foul play.
City of Los Angeles Driveway Requirements
Like other cities, Los Angeles has specific requirements that are expected to be followed when working on a driveway. The following requirements are for the width and location of the driveway;
- At a maximum, 50% of the house’s front yard should be used for a driveway.
For driveways that are constructed after January 3, 2008, the following specifications should be complied to:
- Access to the driveway from a public street should have at least a radius of twelve and one-half feet and at most a radius of twenty-five feet.
- The width of the driveway for a narrow lot will not be more than 18 feet.
- The width for a single-family unit driveway shall be at least 10 feet and at most 21 feet for two parking spaces.
- The width of two jointed or disjointed house driveways on a piece of land shall be at least 12 feet and at most 21 feet for two parking spaces.
- The driveway width for three to five jointed or disjointed houses on a piece of land shall be at least 16 feet and at most 21 feet for two parking spaces.
- The width of six or more jointed or disjointed house driveways on a piece of land shall be at least 20 feet
Irrespective of whether you are seeking permission or not, driveways cannot be anywhere you like whether it’s on your property or not.
You can’t wake up one morning and just decide you want to put a driveway in your frontage, there are guidelines to be followed.
Whatever surface you are using, it is important to have a proper drainage system, this is to prevent water from being absorbed into the structure. When the structure starts absorbing water, it won’t hold for a very long period.
Driveways usually do not have traffic lights, but those leading to commercial areas do have.