Concrete is a relatively easy way to widen a driveway. You simply prepare the ground and pour a concrete slab on top.
But it can be pricey compared to other options like gravel or asphalt. Concrete is also impermeable, which creates water runoff problems.
If a concrete driveway extension is beyond your budget, you don’t like how it looks or you’d like something more eco-friendly, we have a few ideas on how to widen a driveway without concrete.
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Pros and Cons Of A Concrete Driveway
Concrete is one of the most common driveway materials in the US. It’s popular for two main reasons: it’s easy to maintain and it’s very durable.
Concrete driveways can be styled to fit a wide range of home exterior decors. It can be stamped, stained, painted and so on.
But concrete driveways have their downsides as well. They are a bit pricey compared to asphalt and certain types of pavers.
Concrete driveways are also impermeable, which causes water runoff and increases the risk of flooding.
6 Ways To Widen A Driveway Without Concrete
If you already have a concrete driveway, concrete is the best material to use for widening it. It creates an even finish and ensures your driveway has uniform stability and durability.
That said, you can certainly use other materials like pavers, brick, and even grass. These materials are also great for expanding other types of driveways.
If your biggest concern about using concrete is the cost, gravel is the cheapest alternative.
A gravel driveway may not have the same upscale look as a stone or concrete driveway, but it’s cheaper and fairly long lasting.
You can use gravel to widen any type of driveway. Of course, it’ll look best when you use it to expand an existing gravel driveway. But you can style it to match a solid driveway like asphalt or concrete.
One way to do this is using a resin binder. A resin bound gravel driveway feels firm and solid, like a concrete or stone driveway.
Most resin binders are permeable, so you still enjoy the water draining benefits of gravel. Here’s a video of a resin binder being applied on gravel.
2. Gravel Pavers
The second way to make a gravel driveway extension stronger and better looking is using gravel pavers.
Once you prepare the ground you are expanding the driveway into, you put in your base layers (e.g. water barrier, sand, base rock etc.) then you lay gravel grid pavers on them.
Next, you pour fine gravel or crushed granite on the pavers and spread it evenly. The combination of gravel and grid pavers allow the driveway to be permeable yet incredibly strong.
It also eliminates many of the problems associated with gravel driveways such as sinkage, ruts and wash off.
Here’s an example of gravel pavers being installed.
3. Stone or Brick Pavers
If you already have a stone driveway, I highly recommend using the same material to expand it. Stone driveways are expensive but they look really great.
Using concrete or gravel to expand the driveway may not end up looking that great.
Instead, use stone or brick pavers. Both retain the classic natural look of your driveway. On the downside, expect to spend quite a bit of money on the expansion.
Brick and stone pavers can cost up to $20 per square foot with installation. And this is not the kind of project you want to DIY unless you have lots of experience and the right tools.
So include the installation cost in your budget.
4. Concrete Pavers
If your beef is with poured concrete, concrete pavers can be a great alternative. They are not cheaper, though.
Concrete pavers are more expensive to buy and install compared to having a concrete slab poured.
But they are cheaper than stone and brick pavers. If you have a stone driveway, concrete pavers are an affordable material for widening your driveway.
You can even stain the pavers to have the same natural stone look as the rest of the driveway.
Similar to poured concrete, concrete pavers are incredibly strong and durable. On the downside, most are impermeable, so you have to deal with runoff.
Luckily, manufacturers have introduced porous concrete pavers that soak up lots of rainwater.
If you have an asphalt driveway, asphalt is the best material to widen it. You can also expand other types of driveways like concrete or paved with asphalt, though the results may not look very appealing.
Adding an asphalt strip to one side or both sides of the driveways shouldn’t be too expensive.
Asphalt is cheaper than concrete. It costs about $3 to $15 per square foot with installation. If you are on a budget, recycled asphalt (RAP) is even cheaper. You’ll likely spend less than $10 per square foot on RAP, including installation.
The main downside of an asphalt driveway is that it doesn’t last as long as concrete especially in places with extreme weather.
6. Grass Driveway
Yes, you can widen your driveway with grass. A grass driveway is a great option for those who want to limit how much hard landscaping is in their home.
A grass driveway is also permeable, allowing rainwater to soak into the earth.
Widening your driveway with grass is not as simple as laying turf next to the driveway. Grass, on its own, cannot handle the weight of a vehicle and the strain of constantly driving over it.
You need grass pavers, also called grass stabilization grids. These can hold up lots of weight, including heavy vehicles and machinery.
You prepare the ground the same way you would when constructing a gravel or concrete driveway. You then put down a couple of base layers such as a water barrier and base gravel.
Lay the pavers on the base layers, fill them in with soil, then lay your turf on top. You can also spread grass seed on the soil and wait for it to grow.
Tip: Choose grass that stands up to frequent traffic and doesn’t require a lot of moisture.
When done right, a grass driveway looks really good. The best part is that it goes well with any type of driveway. You can use it to widen a gravel, concrete, stone, or asphalt driveway.
It’s also one of the cheapest types of driveways and easily DIY-able.
How Wide Does A Driveway Need To Be?
In addition to choosing the right material for expanding your driveway, it’s also important to figure out how wide you want it to be.
The wider the driveway, the most it’ll cost you. A too wide driveway might also go against local or HOA regulations.
Regular size driveways designed for a single car are 10-12 feet wide. This is enough space to fit most cars, including trucks and RVs, with space to spare for opening car doors and getting out of the vehicle.
Two-vehicle driveways are 20-24 feet wide.
Check the width of your current driveway and figure out how many feet you need to add.
Do I Need A Permit To Widen My Driveway?
Something else to consider before you start work is whether you need a permit to widen your driveway. Check with the local planning or zoning office.
Some places only require a permit or variance if you plan to expand the driveway beyond a certain square footage. Others require a permit only if you plan to widen the apron (the paved area between the curb and your property line).
Also check if there are restrictions on what materials you can use (because of permeability) and the max width of the driveway.
2 thoughts on “How To Widen A Driveway Without Concrete?”
Can I use wood to expand my driveway?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Wood is not nearly as durable as the other options, such as gravel or concrete, and it will likely not support the weight of multiple cars for very long.