As a landscaper, I have often encountered homes whose driveways were some testament to the cement industry’s able sales abilities. I have seen homes whose driveways were as large and expansive as the footprint of the home itself. The current move towards multi-car garages propelled an outbreak of enormous driveways, making me confess to an urge to do my best to ask for some better-reasoned approaches to the issue of driveway size.
While a nice big driveway can mean you have the enormity and ease with which to back up out of your garage and turn around inside your very own roadway, it also can seriously detract from the look and the intimacy a well-designed tract can offer. Obsequious and over-large, driveways end up a glaring white surface which overwhelms rather that connects. A certain sterile sensibility injects itself when I look at one of these edifices, and it makes it very hard indeed to mitigate when one tries to draw attention to a nice driveway paving landscape. In terms of curb appeal, something this huge and essentially hostile could only appeal to a road builder or another concrete fancier. In short, I see a small design disaster. Here are some recommendations:
1: Consider cutting the space down, somewhere. Even if a curve can be made that intrudes a bit into the large surface, a mounded area can be formed there with, perhaps a small, weeping ornamental tree whose roots will never affect the driveway. This would not only add a softer element automatically (the curving line) but it would post a perpendicular “relief line” to the entire picture. One could also plant items which could grow over onto the cement itself which would lessen the effect of the hard lines implicit in big driveway edges.
2. Consider as well your need for so much space. What is it used for? If it is merely used to back up and turn around inside, then consider backing straight out as an option. As far as absolute necessities are concerned, the contrast between the comfort level of having an enormous space in which to reverse your car, compared to the inevitability of maintenance issues and that of the resale value and curb appeal is pretty striking.
Frankly, in the end, the value of appealing and objectively pretty lines in the design of a driveway is as important as the surface. Clean and congruent designs of driveways indicate a level of care and of involvement. They are more welcoming and possess an incredibly more powerful sense of curb appeal and of general warmth.
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