[Advice Needed] My Driveway Is Too Steep. What Can I Do?

Hi All,

I would like some advice from Ozbargainers here about my steep driveway.
I bought this investment property in South Eastern Melbourne about 3 years ago (100k more than the previous owner bought in 2013) - I paid a reasonable price I reckon.
I love this house, it has a beautiful view/scenery, however, the drawback is the driveway is too steep, only a SUV or similar can drive up to the garage My Driveway because of the steepness due to ground clearance required.

What concerns me is that the house price could be affected because of the driveway as it can discourage a potential buyer in the future purely because of the driveway.

Thus, I am looking for a solution or do-nothing of this situation. Please advise.

One of the ideas is to turn the front lawn as parking spaces located at the lower end of the house (i.e. the start of the driveway).

Thank you All.

Comments

  • +7 votes

    Thus, I am looking for a solution or do-nothing of this situation. Please advise.

    Cut stairs out of the driveway and transform the garage into a bar

  • +19 votes

    My corolla could make it up there no problem.

  • +17 votes

    You've evidently never had to go up a drive way in Wahroonga NSW

  • +20 votes

    Yeah that's a non-issue. Drive up the first entry at an angle.

    Besides it's statistically likely that the new owner would have an SUV

    •  

      So what happens when they get to the top? There's no room to go in the entry to the garage on an angle.

    •  

      It can still be an issue. Depends on the driveway.

      I have a very steep driveway as well. Some cars will scrape, but they are usually okay if you approach the entrance at an angle - as you suggested.

      However!!! It is also possible to scrape the underbody of the car (between the two wheels) when coming to the top of the driveway. The driveway has a curvature to it, similar to this graph. If you can imagine a car sitting on that curve with its front wheels at 1.5 on the graph, and rears at 0.5 then there is the possibility that the middle of the car will scrape.

      That said, I've honestly got the worst driveway I've ever seen - I'd probably put money on mine being worse than OPs without even seeing his, and I used to get a reasonably low sports car (~110-120mm ground clearance) up there with minimal scraping. A standard sedan shouldn't really be an issue for any driveway.

      •  

        Now you've seen OPs do you still think yours is worse?

        •  

          Lol nope. Mine might have a similar steepness (hard to tell from just a photo) but at least mine has some curvature (and it's a double so more room to angle). This is dead straight.

          From that photo, I definitely think getting a sedan up there will be hit or miss, even with some finesse and angles.

          Redoing a driveway like that will cost well into the 10s of thousands.

  • +1 vote

    If you’re gonna sell it, make another car park somewhere down as you suggested, install cheapo wood floor at the garage and make it games room&bar. Don’t open the garage door during open houses :)

  • +4 votes

    Install a winch.

  • +6 votes

    Infinity pool.

  • +12 votes

    You bought it without thought for the driveway gradient.

    Everyone* here is saying that it's not an issue.

    Potential buyers aren't going to have qualms about it - especially if they see your car already parked in there at inspection. If you DO have a buyer making comment, then they're probably picky enough that any number of other issues with your house are going to flag as well and the driveway will be the least of your concerns.

    Of course, you could also go the heavy-duty reno solutions - 2nd sub basement in the front; dig out the ramp and install a recessed garage with patio over & games room in the garage above etc - but that'd cost lots. Still, an extra room above, PLUS a full garage (or even widen to a double garage & relocate your steps too) level with the footpath, would be a quite good value-adding project!

    •  

      You bought it without thought for the driveway gradient.
      Switch, you are 100% right. I was too excited about the interior of the house and the amazing view from the master bedroom and living area.

      What about turning the front lawn to park spaces? Does this idea make any sense?

      •  

        Front lawn as in nature strip or actual front lawn? One is illegal but the other is okay and reasonable.

      •  

        To be honest it doesn't look that bad from photo. hard to be certain without a better picture, but some friends simply put a metal ramp about a foot wide across the bottom, it reduces the initial angle of attack by a few degrees and can make a large difference relatively cheaply. Not sure on legality (probably depends on your local council).

  • +20 votes

    Do you also need help being told whether to put shoes or socks on first?

  • +3 votes

    Get the driveway resurfaced with a grippier material (maybe velcro with custom tyres)

  • +4 votes

    Make a basement garage

  • +7 votes

    I can say with certainty that I would not buy your house for the sole reason that the driveway is very steep.

    I would buy your house though if it had a large high speed billy car ramp, wink wink.

  • +2 votes

    buy a new house

  • +2 votes

    The driveway wouldn't bother me BUT those steep stairs would. Not the best when you have young kids :(

  • +3 votes

    One of the ideas is to turn the front lawn as parking spaces located at the lower end of the house (i.e. the start of the driveway).

    Hard to advise on that when the area isn't shown in your photo

    due to ground clearance required

    If it's scraping when entering from the road can it be approached at more of a side-on angle? Also keep in mind many cars will have more clearance when reversing than going forward

    I am looking for a solution or do-nothing of this situation

    I would expect any major excavation/modifications to cost more than you'd be likely to recoup upon sale.

    If there's an area to park on the front lawn that might be a viable option but by creating a parking spot there you're just highlighting the issue to a potential buyer.

    I'd leave a car parked in the garage and not mention it, it may not even come up. If it does you could then suggest the front yard as an alternative

  •  

    I'm pretty sure most cars would make it up there in reverse.

    At the end of the day a bad driver is going to be put off by it regardless of what car they drive. They could rock up in a Subaru Outback which would have absolutely no issue whatsoever but if they weren't a confident driver they wouldn't even attempt it.

    Every house will have something that puts off some buyers. For you it's the driveway. I wouldn't worry about it.

    • +1 vote

      I'm pretty sure most cars would make it up there in reverse.

      Doesn't that just shift the problem to the time of leaving, when you'll scrape at the bottom?

      • +1 vote

        No, it's to do with the way the car is pointing - the direction of travel doesn't matter.

        Cars generally have less clearance at the front than at the back - this creates an issue if the front of the car is over the steep driveway and the wheels are still on flat ground.

  • +22 votes

    I had a similar problem where a normal sedan would scrape the front on the driveway and the rear on the road because of how steep the driveway was. I got a guy in that specialised in concrete driveways, and his solution was to remove the bottom 3m of driveway , excavate to change the angle between the driveway and road, and then replace that 3m with new concrete.

    Bit hard to explain but it ended up being a driveway that instead of having an angle of 45 degrees between the road and driveway, ended up with an angle of 22 degrees between road and driveway, and another 22 degrees 3m metres up the driveway. Solved the problem nicely, no more scraping the front and rear of the car.

    TLDR : contact a concreter who specialises in driveways, there are solutions :)

    • +1 vote

      This.

      Plus, look into having the driveway resurfaced while you're at it. It must be as slippery as hell when wet… there are some great low slip applications available.

  • +28 votes

    this house is awesome, my mother and law wouldn't make up the driveway. how much you selling for?

  • +1 vote

    Yep - make a parking area down the front

  •  

    I would not buy it, but not because of the driveaway. I would be WAY more worried about mowing grass at an angle (not that I see that from your photo), but any thought of a property on a slope and having to have a lawn mower at a precarious angle and I am out.

    I driven past much steeper places and just shudder at the mowing, never would give the parking a thought.

    I have a car with low profile tyres and it scapes on everything. I would think anyone with a 4wd would think it was fun to make it up hill each day LOL!!

  •  

    Ok, if you're up for making changes, the only way to reduce the slope of the driveway is to lower the car port or move the car port back. Both involve full reconstruction of the driveway which may be worth it if you think it impacts sale price.

  • +3 votes

    My car wouldn't make it.

    I was in a similar situation, where I was looking at property with a steep drive. I knew my car would not make it, and I already calculated that I'd need to buy a new car if I had purchased. I did put an offer on the property lower than asking price which was countered with ~$50,000 more than their listed asking price. The r/e agent was an disrespectful old woman, so I did not negotiate any further.

    So, yes, it may deter some people, some people may negotiate lower, or it may not bother others.

    Answer? Inconclusive.

  • +1 vote

    You might be close enough to town that the buyer may not have a car at all and be able to use the garage for something else.

    For every buyer that is turned off by the steep drive, there are others that will prefer the view etc like yourself.

  • +1 vote

    Depends on length of driveway. If it is steep to elevate/drop to the level of the road, that means that the angle would have to be very severe and is not changeable.

    You can only fix it if the angle is steep but you have a lot of flat ground on either the garage end or street end of your driveway. Ie. Average out the gradient over the whole length of driveway.

    Ps - just looked at the photo. No flat ground to even out gradient. No chance of fix without removing the garage.

  • +3 votes

    I feel like barely anyone has actually bothered to look at the photo and think for a second.

    • the first problem is entry and exit, you're going to scrape the shit out of the front bar of any non-lifted car
    • the second problem is at the top getting in the garage, your car is probably going to bottom out and scrape the exhaust/underbody

    not good.

    Anyway, to answer:

    No, you can't fix it. You'd normally just fix the gradient by extending the driveway, but it looks like you have no room to do so. You really can't "fix" this problem at all. It's just a crap design and that's all there is to it.

    • +1 vote

      The only points that are an issue are the two transitions from flat: road to driveway and driveway to garage. You could have the driveway re-sculpted into a more S shape (cross sectionally) which may solve the problem. That said, it would probably set you back $30k at a guess.

  • +3 votes

    Dig it out to street level, retain and reinforce where needed and then add a lift. Drive one car in, lift it up, drive another in under. You know have a two car garage!

  • +1 vote

    Step on it harder.

  • +3 votes

    Doesn’t look that steep. Just leave it and let the buyer beware.

  • +4 votes

    You are correct, many buyers will be discouraged from buying your home. Not just those worried about scraping their Corolla. Also anyone with a knee, ankle, foot, hip, back issue, those with vertigo, poor balance, poor vision, anyone over 60 generally, anyone with infant aged children, fat people, lazy people. Anyone with 2 cars wanting to leave the 2nd car in the driveway. Sorry I'm not helping the feel good factor here - but the thought of getting a wheelie bin down that driveway each week makes me think you should have a safety cable with clutch attached to it to help get refuse to the curb.

    The winch mentioned above is actually to help get the driver and passengers in the 2nd car left on the drive out of their seats.

    Fact is this driveway sucks. But as you have already concluded, what can you do about it…… nothing.

    You bought the house, someone else will too - but there will always be a discount factor applied to this home due to its poorly planned driveway.

    Advice givers here should ask themselves, if your home was available for sale today and an identical home next door was also available next door (with a flat driveway) for the same PRICE, out of sample of 100 how many would buy the house next door.

    I think it would be 97-100/100

    Therefore your house is worth less than it otherwise would be.

    PS: I hope you tip the Uber eats driver and don't expect taxi drivers to help get your suitcases down to the car, they both already hate you.

    •  

      Jason, thanks for the advice.
      Different people have different views and needs.
      For me, the reason why I bought the house in the first place is that I love the view/scenery from the bedroom and the living room as well as the interior design of the house.
      If you were in the house, you would feel happy and relaxed. It is a villa style of living indeed!

      I am mentally prepared myself in the future when I am ready to sell this house; I would sell it 10-15% less than the similar home in the area, however, due to the area terrain, most of the houses have the challenges. I saw some worse where the driveway is too steep down.
      The other option that I may be able to take is to turn the front lawn as parking spaces located at the lower end of the house, and turn the current driveway to a game room or in the extreme, when I have a bit of money, I may extend the driveway back..

    •  

      The wheelie bin solution is easy, put a small pad at the bottom, just inside your property, put a fence around it, store the bins there. You have to take your bin off the nature strip after it's been emptied, there's nothing saying you have to store it next to your house.

  •  

    My driveway at work is very steep but you just need to drive at an angle and you'll be fine. It is better that your house is on some sort of hill than a house looking like the land is sinking and the driveway is going downwards like some houses in newer estates

  • +2 votes

    Wild idea: You could build a garage in the driveway and convert the original one to a room.

  •  

    looks childproof. how much is he askin

  •  

    Well, did you think about the driveway when you bought it originally, as in, do you think a potential buyer will also realise that a standard sedan wouldn’t necessarily have the ground clearance? I’m just thinking, maybe you don’t have anything to worry about if a future buyer is unlikely to realise that there is an issue.

    That sounds a bit mean I guess, but ultimately the new buyer should be doing their due diligence anyway.

    As far as solving the problem for yourself, maybe there is some way of fabbing up a ramp of some sort that reduces the angle at the bumper/undercarriage but it would look ugly and out of place if you’re thinking about selling anyway.

    Apart from that, if you don’t think that the garage is worth keeping, I think the other suggestions of a workspace, etc is a good one.

    I think the important point you’ve raised is that the views are great, so likely that you’d exchange needing a particular type of vehicle for the amenity of the property, sort of thing, anyway.

  • +3 votes

    You can't fix that without huge investment which you'd never make back.
    I'd just leave it. It might put off some buyers but SUVs are the normal car these days so probably doesn't matter at all. Didn't stop you buying it.

  •  

    Excavate and install a car lift. You sometimes see these in new apartment buildings. Drive in, push a button, car goes up and then you can park another car underneath. Now you've got a two car garage and a gentle slope.

  •  

    Car lifts aren't that expensive actually.. take the driveway out.. put in a car lift n make it a selling point.

    • +3 votes

      Its the $60,000 in engineering, planning, excavation and retaining wall work around 3 sides of the car lift that would kill this idea.

  • +1 vote

    I drive up and down a much much steeper driveway in the crap apartment I’m staying at in Sydney right now in my hatchback. You just need to take it slow.

  •  

    How old is the house? Could be that the potential buyers may be buying with plans to knock it down and build a new house. Always hate when I see really steep driveways as a site cut and retaining walls would of prevented it. Would of cost the previous owners extra on the build but would of definitely been worth it especially for resell value.

  •  

    Being on the high side of the road isnt all bad.. not much you can economically do here but not do I think you have to.. I've seen steeper drive ways with bends.. at least this is straight..

  •  

    What is the difference how much you more you paid for the house in to the previous owner in 2013 to how steep is your driveway?

  •  

    Only a SUV??

    My folks driveways is almost twice as steep and three times the length

  • +2 votes

    Is the problem with the gradient (steepness) of the driveway or is it the crossover angle as you enter the garage?

    To my eye's it's the crossover angle. A good civil engineer / designer will have a solution but expect to spend some money as (at a minimum) it will involve re-profiling the driveway.

    IIRC, the slope 2m before the garage is a maximum of 10% gradient with a maximum gradient difference of 10%.

    It's very likely your driveway doesn't comply with current design guidelines but it's hard to tell without knowing how far it is from the property boundary to the garage and the change in height.

    • +3 votes

      AS2890.1 provides a lot of flexibility for domestic driveways, but in general the gradient of the driveway shouldn't change more than 12.5% (1 in 8) algebraically for a summit change, and 15% algebraically (1 in 6.7) for a sag change at any point.

      Generally transitions of at least 2m should be provided between two gradients that exceed those thresholds (e.g. when going from 20% to 0%, provide a 2m section of 10% as a transition).

      •  

        Thx. I did about 4hrs on it in 190 and haven't needed it since.

        I think if you had the money you would bring the garage down 2.5m and have a workshop or extra room on top. Big $$$ but probably better rather than trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear.

  • +1 vote

    Any solutions are going to cost an absolute fortune. One way or another this is a "do nothing" situation.

  • +2 votes

    Where’s the issue with ground clearance? At the top into the carport, or entering from the street?

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