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Architecture/Very steep driveway in Boston area


House with steep driveway
House with steep drive  
Hello, when we bought this fixer upper we did some major landscaping for the home inclusive of widening the driveway and believe it or not, making it less steep. Yes, it was steeper... The fact is however, it is dangerous even on a sunny day especially with two little kids. It is not heated so we have to keep it completely clear of snow to drive safely on it in the winter. To dig down all the way so a 2 car garage is at level of basement and it is a straight drive in is cost prohibitive.  We would like a cost effective way to make the driveway safer. Driving around to back would be even more costly. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. We are just wondering if there are any ideas outside the box that won't break the bank. Thank you.


Your photo (thank you for sending a photo!) unfortunately does not show the whole driveway, but it appears that, looking head on toward the house, the left side of the front property is at a higher elevation than the right side.  We have done these before, and a relatively  less expensive solution is to re-position the driveway entrance (where it meets the road) further to the left.  this would make the driveway longer (perhaps with a slight "S" meander across part of the front yard) and considerably less steep.  

You should consult with a landscape architect about the best way to assure that such a change will look natural with the property.

Best of luck and please feel free to send more photos from different angles, including more distant.

Steve Major


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Stephen Major


I can answer questions in the following categories: architectural design, architectural woodwork, structural design, building construction, kitchen and bath design. PLEASE indicate your state or region, so I can provide the best possible answer. PLEASE provide photos whenever possible.


30 years in the building design and construction field, with emphasis on residential and light commercial projects. This includes over 10 years performing property condition assessments on commercial and industrial properties.

Author of "Architectural Woodwork - Details for Construction" published by Van Nostrand Reinhold (now Wiley).

BS Cornell University.

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