DIY: Driveway Widening

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Things You'll Need

  • Ropes

  • Measuring tape

  • Spade

  • Trenching hoe

  • Tarp

  • Tamper

  • 3/4-inch aggregate

  • Edging restraints

  • Hammer

  • Lawn spikes

  • Grit sand

  • Board

  • Mallet

  • Polymeric sand

  • Stiff shop broom

  • Hose

A narrow driveway widens at the end to accommodate more vehicles.

If you need to accommodate an additional driver or larger vehicles, widening a driveway is a simple solution if your existing pavement is too narrow. Whether the existing driveway is paved with asphalt, concrete or another material, using pavers for the expansion adds contrast and style. Installing pavers is also within the capabilities of beginner and experienced do-it-yourselfers alike.

Step 1

Lay ropes along the side of the driveway you want to expand. Determine the necessary width of the expansion with measuring tape and use this number to space the ropes from the edge of the driveway, adding 2 inches for edge restraints. For example, if the existing driveway fits one car and you want to widen it to fit two, the total width should be 16 to 22 feet.

Step 2

Use a spade and trenching hoe to remove growth and 12 inches of topsoil from the land within the ropes. Scoop the dirt on a tarp to fill in low-lying areas of the yard. Beginning at the end of the site near the house, dig a consistent slope of 1/8-inch per foot into the bottom of the subbase so surface water will flow toward the street.

Step 3

Tamp the subbase several times with a hand tamper until it resists pressure.

Step 4

Fill the site with 8 inches of 3/4-inch aggregate and tamp it down. Measure the depth of the driveway pavers and the remaining depth between the gravel and the surface of the existing driveway. Continue adding gravel until the remaining expanse is equal to the paver depth plush an inch. Tamp the second layer of gravel.

Step 5

Place strips of PVC or metal edging restraints against the interior walls. Fasten the strips down by hammering 9-inch lawn spikes through the slots along the bottom.

Step 6

Pour a 1-inch bed of grit sand over the aggregate, and smooth it with a board.

Step 7

Butt the first paver against the edge of the existing driveway at the bottom of the site. Set adjacent pavers flush against the first in a planned pattern like herringbone or basket-weave. Tap each section with a mallet so the pavers are even with each other and the existing driveway. Continue setting pavers until the entire site is covered.

Step 8

Pour polymeric paver sand over the expansion. Push it into all of the gaps between pavers with a stiff shop broom. Tamp the sand down and continue adding more until the joints are packed. Brush off any remaining sand and hose the surface lightly. Polymeric sand is mixed with special binders that cling to the sand particles, creating stronger, longer-lasting joints that won't wear away as quickly as pure sand joints. It also softens in moist weather, allowing more flexibility as the ground shifts.

references & resources

Aurora LaJambre

Aurora LaJambre is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, N.Y. For over five years she's covered topics in culture, lifestyle, travel, DIY design and green living for print and online media. Her publication credits include "WOW Women on Writing," "Six States" and She graduated from New York University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing.