Right now, the access to our house is off a side street, with a very long driveway leading to the back of our house. We'd love to get a u-shaped driveway put in the front, but the width of our property line there is about 55 feet or so, and its also on an incline. Is this even possible to do?
55 feet is too narrow for a U-shaped driveway. The narrowest property that I have designed one for is 99 feet. To give you an idea of width, you can see a pic of this project on my U-shaped driveways page. Hit the button on the left. It's the stucco house at the top of the page. I think this illustrates that a property about half its size would be impossible to build one on.
The steepness of the incline is a concern for driveways in general. You do have to be able to maneuver it. A driveway that is too steep is not attractive either. To calculate the percentage slope, you need a topography map that gives this information. This may be available through your county or city government. The percentage slope is calculated by taking the change in elevation and dividing it by the length of the driveway. Anything over a 10% slope, I would consider too steep for a two wheel drive vehicle in bad weather.
I have had a project similar to what you are describing. The property was smaller than yours, but it was a corner lot that the owners wanted to bring visitors to the front door and be able to keep driving through the property to leave. What we did is brought the driveway in by the right, front property line. It made a soft curve to the front of the house where it was widened to allow two cars to pass. The driveway then curved around to the garage on the side of the house and exited on the side street. This design was done because the property was too narrow in the front for a U-shaped driveway. I hope you can visualize what I am saying. Basically, the one driveway curved through the property instead of having separate ones for the front and back.
Please feel free to send a pic.
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