What is a Residential Driveway?

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  • Written By: Micki Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 15 February 2019
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A residential driveway is a paved pathway that typically leads from a public road to a residence. It is often smaller than the public road on which it begins. This type of driveway is usually owned and maintained by an individual or a family and is sometimes shared by a group of neighbors. These paths can be a place to park vehicles, and they may be used for recreational use or to hold functions such as garage sales.

It is common for a garage, carport, or a door to a house to be situated far enough away from a public road to ensure some level of privacy for a homeowner. A residential driveway is a path on which one can drive up to and park a vehicle in close proximity to these entries to a home. A driveway may provide an individual a guaranteed parking space so that street parking is not necessary.

Residential driveways are often seen as a convenience. They can also be a safety feature. For people who do not like walking along a street at night to avoid dangerous possibilities, parking directly beside the home can provide peace of mind. Cars parked in a driveway may also be less likely to be damaged due to passing drivers or pedestrians as well. For that reason, many car insurance companies offer a discount for car owners who use a driveway in lieu of street parking.


A driveway can be paved with numerous different materials, though many cities require that residential driveways meet certain specifications. Natural dirt or gravel cleared of plants can suffice as a driveway. Concrete and asphalt are slightly more substantial materials that are still relatively cost-effective; they may require repair less often than dirt or gravel. Various types of bricks or rocks can also create a particular aesthetic look for those who wish to make their residential driveway decorative.

Water, severe weather or frequent use of a residential driveway may create cracks or potholes. Though small cracks and holes should not be a major hazard, they could grow over time. There are many companies that one can contract to repair a driveway. Another option is for a homeowner to do the repairs himself. There are many books and online guides to help guide one through this task.

To build or repair a residential driveway, even if an individual owns it, one often needs a permit from the city of residence. Some governments are stricter about driveway specification than others. Rules may include the size of a driveway, the material used, and the distance between a driveway and the closest intersection. If one is considering adding a driveway to a residence or remodeling an existing driveway, it may be a good idea to check with local government rules and regulations first.



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