An often overlooked element of landscape site design is the driveway area and yet its typically the first impression and experience visitors will have of your property. With a couple of key considerations you can transform a driveway space from purely functional to an area and entrance that sets the tone and expectation for the rest of the outdoor space and garden.
Firstly, if its possible don’t make this space too small. This area may include off-street parking, and storage space for trailers, caravans, boats etc…. You will need to allow enough space for turning circles and vehicle movements without creating circulation restrictions and conflict. In a larger space think carefully about where you want visitors to park and how this relates to the front door entry. Its not always intuitive to get this relationship right – we’ve probably all experienced that moment when visiting a location where upon arrival its not obvious where to park. Good design can create and reinforce the entry experience you anticipate for your guests.
Your driveway material doesn’t have to be singular. You may consider mixing driveway surfaces and textures to create visual interest. This can help an otherwise large area of hard surface read as less expansive and a more interesting and welcoming space. You could use exposed aggregate concrete bands poured between asphalt, and granite ‘cobble sette’ borders to create this effect. Its also a nice technique to increase the quality of paving material as the front door is approached.
Quality lighting fixtures and design can be used to add another layer of detail to the design and materials chosen for your driveway entry courtyard. This can extend beyond the expected lighting bollards down a driveway to well positioned in-ground LED lights that reinforce the material changes in your driveway design. Once again your lighting can extend beyond function to create genuine entry drama and site ‘theatre’ in the evening.
The quality of driveways plantings may be restricted by space limitations, but needn’t lack the same detail and quality to the rest of your property. Chose upright ‘fastigated’ tree forms to create repetitive patterned narrow columnar forms. Hedges may also work well in smaller bed widths. Let your driveway plant selection set the scene and give a taste for the plant texture and form visitors can expect in the rest of your property.