Our house was built a little over 20 years ago. The person who paved the asphalt driveway didn't grade it right, so in addition to the slight downward slope towards the road, it has alternating slopes between the left and right sides. The driveway immediately abuts grass at the same level -- no curbs. When it rains hard, water sheets across the driveway, then courses along one side, killing the grass and creating lots of mud and soggy ground. It then crosses over to the other side of the driveway and does the same thing further down, before it ends up at an extremely soggy patch at the end of the driveway.

We'd love to add curbs or something to the driveway, but we don't want to have to build the grass up on the sides. We were wondering if there would be some way to create gutters for the driveway -- perhaps poured concrete or clay channels that would sit below driveway level on either side and carry the water down to the end of the driveway. Is there a common way to do this? Are there pre-made channels that we could put in? I'd appreciate any input here.

We live in New England, so whatever is put in has to be able to deal with freezing and thawing, as well as moderate amounts of snow, ice, rain, and baking sunshine at different parts of the year. Plowing isn't an issue as we always shovel/snowblow the driveway.

  • What is the slope of the driveway along its length?
    – Jasper
    Commented May 24, 2018 at 4:18

2 Answers 2


I'll let others chime in with gutter ideas. Just keep in mind that you'll need to make sure they can handle the expansion from ice without cracking. But I did want to mention a few alternative solutions you may want to consider.

If you want to keep the lawn, you may consider at a french drain, possibly with some ground level openings to handle severe weather (install these in a way that you can close them in the winter).

If you want to change the look, consider some raised beds on either side of the driveway (which has an added benefit of keeping cars off of the lawn).

  • 3
    The french drain is exactly what I'd do with this problem. Putting some nice looking gravel in a layer on top will help the appearance and give you a buffer between the driveway and your lawn.
    – Shane
    Commented May 30, 2011 at 0:25

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