Asphalt Parking Lot Design Guide

A parking lot can be paved in a variety of sizes and shapes for numerous different functions. Whether you’re installing a residential or commercial parking lot, this design manual will help you get started with a thorough design plan.

Learn what goes into planning your design to ensure a successful, quality parking lot.

General Planning

Planning certain aspects early in the process can help everything go smoothly. Here are some factors to include in your parking lot plan:

Parking lot size

Determine the size of your lot based on the amount of available land around your business and how many spaces you need. How many cars do you expect at any given time? Do you expect it to see steady or more variable use? For example, an office building car park will need to be sized for employee count, while a shopping mall needs room for customer parking during peak shopping hours.

Paving materials

You’ll need to choose what material to use for your pavement. Asphalt is most common for parking lots thanks to its durability and quick setting time. Planning what material you’ll use can also help you plan your budget, as some materials cost more than others.

Traffic flow

The flow of traffic into, out of and around the parking lot ensures that vehicles can maneuver the lot effectively. Planning for adequate space ensures vehicles have plenty of room to park and drive through the lot. Additionally, it’s beneficial to clearly mark the direction of traffic to reduce confusion.

Safe pedestrian crossingS

Pedestrians should have designated walkways, handicapped spaces and access lanes to ensure safe travel. Lighting illuminates dark areas of the lot and speed bumps help encourage slower driving speeds, making it safer for pedestrians.


Landscaping is an essential feature! Plan for shade, adequate sightlines, visual relief and even holding areas for snow depending on your location.


Water can cause significant damage to a pavement, making drainage planning a crucial aspect to consider. Consider surface and subsurface drainage options and implement a plan to drain water from the area quickly and effectively.

A well-thought-out plan will ensure that the money, time and effort you put into your parking lot are well-spent.

Parking Lot Design Considerations

After you’ve finished your general planning, you’ll need to develop your design. The design choices you make will determine the layout. Here are a few important aspects to consider.

Pavement Structure

car parking lot

One of the biggest design considerations that can seriously impact the quality of your pavement is the pavement structure and thickness. When selecting the pavement structure, you need to consider what types of vehicles will be driving on what parts of the lot. This is crucial because heavier vehicles can damage pavement that is too thin. Depending on the application, you may need the entire parking lot to be paved thicker or only specific areas of the lot.

For example, heavy trucks may need to access certain areas to reach loading areas or dumpsters. To accommodate these types of needs, be sure to include specific truck lanes in your design where the pavement needs to be thicker.

In addition to accounting for how people will use your parking lot, be sure to also consider the needs of the construction equipment. Construction vehicles will likely be the heaviest vehicles using your parking lot. Depending on the construction process and the sequence of construction phases, you may need to choose a pavement structure that will accommodate heavy construction machinery to prevent damage.

Parking Space Angles

The angle at which your parking spaces are designed can have a significant impact on the traffic flow and how well you can optimize the available space. There are three commonly used parking space angles — 45-degree, 60-degree and 90-degree angles. The best angle for your parking lot layout design will depend on the available space and how the traffic will flow.

Parking spaces at 45-degree angles are often used in tight spaces to allow for optimal space in the aisles. 60-degrees spaces are easy to pull in and out of while still allowing for adequate traffic lane widths. In many cases, 90-degree spaces allow for greater vehicle capacity. However, they tend to be the most difficult to get in and out of, so they’re more ideal for all-day parking situations like employee parking lots.

In addition to determining the parking space angles, residential and commercial parking lot design should consider how the placement and location of parking spaces will impact space optimization. For example, using rectangular paved areas will allow you to fit the most spaces. Additionally, making the long edges of the parking area parallel will help you optimize the area. Design the lot so there are parking spaces around the perimeter and traffic lanes serve both perimeter rows and internal rows of spaces.


Parking lot design standards can vary from township to township. Be sure to check with your local municipality to ensure you’re following their specific requirements for the size of your entrances and exits, minimum overhand clearances and more.

The size of your parking spaces and driving lanes will depend, in part, on how the lot is striped. Line striping is an essential part of your design, as it defines traffic flow and parking spots. When you work with a professional paving and striping company they’ll ensure your lot meets your state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements.

paving roller machines

Use The Paving Lady for Your Paving Service Needs

Asphalt pavement is a great material for parking lots of all sizes. Asphalt is smooth and durable, and its longevity makes the investment worth it. From paving and repair to line striping and seal coating, The Paving Lady offers the paving services necessary to make your car parks beautiful and compliant with required standards. Our expert team can help you find the right pavement solutions that fit your needs.

Find out how The Paving Lady can help you with your design, drainage, maintenance and more. Contact us today and get a free quote for our paving services.


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