Category Archives: Driveways

Driveway Lust

Remember when I wrote about my driveway project? Unfortunately our area had an insanely wet summer – and it started getting cold before the ground dried out well enough to do major work so we had to stall the project till later (hopefully this summer!)

During the wait I have been consulting books on driveways, site planning and landscaping and have been refining the plan.

The approach to a house can have as much impact as the house design itself. With a dramatic driveway approach you can set an anticipatory mood – and if done successfully – it can be one of the more pleasurable passages on a property. In suburban and town planning – having ‘curb appeal’ is most important – but with larger sites – it is possible to employ curves and natural elements to partially obscure the house and heighten the drama.

image via this is a design blog

Two beautiful examples of entry gates. Both examples use edging stones to keep the line crisp.

image via the realestalker

Driveway Palooza! This one is a seems a bit excessive – but sometimes it is nice to see what an ‘estate’ driveway with many buildings looks like.

A shot from ‘The Women’ I like the raised beds here and the soft curve of the driveway

image from Hooked on Houses

image via sanctuary rose

This is exactly how my childhood driveway looked. gravel , with a strip of scraggly grass and shaded by interlocking trees.

image via shelter

I think this approach is such a neat way to solve the dilemma of dealing with a site that has a steep hill

Currently Obsessed with…

Gil Shafer’s parking Area at his Greek Revival Home. It is such a simple treatment – just a rectangular stone wall that meets the hill on one side and the lawn at the other – but it has such a palatial effect – and it gives a simple driveway a processional feeling. I wonder what he used to come up with the dimensions for the parking area – how many cars does it fit ? Was it designed not to fit ‘x’ many cars but to have symmetry with the house? I like the way the low wall seems to invite cars – as if saying ‘ you belong here’ . Often times rural driveways have blurry areas where guests can park but they end up being messy half grass/half gravel zones. This seems like a simple and natural solution.

Affair with a New Driveway Plan!

So earlier in the summer I bought the above book and devoured it cover to cover. One of the reasons that I initially bought it is that her house is similar to ours (I know that ours is MUCH more modest). But what really drew me was how she talked about her journey of turning a house into a home and a life – It was a delicious read and really inspirational. It made me happy to read about another persons devotion to a house and place – and the joy that it has brought her and her loved ones. I too am always planning on how to turn not just the house – but the land into a usable and enjoyable PLACE. Right now I am obsessed with antique barns (being that we don’t actually have any kind of out buildings left on the property) – and with trees (remind me to tell you about the row of sugar maples) and driveways (read below).

So another surprise here is that today we got our permit from the county to put in a new driveway entrance! – so this poor washed- out driveway will soon be replaced with lawn and graceful curving sweep of gravel. Basically our parcel is smallest where it hits the road because we are situated on the outside of a curve (giving us a slight pie slice of land – the pointed tip being our road frontage).

Our plan is to extend the driveways to the far corners of the property and connect them in front of the house – thus removing the current turn-around /parking area behind the house – Which will help to restore the front lawn / back lawn privacy that I crave in the country. Right now the house is completely surrounded by car paths – the highway in the front – the driveways looping up the sides and the parking area in the back. This layout made sense when it was apartments but it makes for a hostile barrier between the house and the lawns that I can’t wait to be rid of! Our new plan will be better for safety (better sight lines on the edges of our highway curve ), better drainage (we are gonna do some extensive ditch/culvert work), better during the winter – (we will be approaching the house from the side at the same elevation level instead of driving uphill which can get SCARY with ice) and privacy (we will be using the left over dirt to fill in the old driveway so that the resulting berm will hide traffic a bit). – So wish us luck!

p.sFor a great post on Bunny Williams’ house visit Cote de Texas.