Help with side load garage
December 19, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Driveway comes into front of house and turns left into sideload garage. The front door enters into the driveway with no elevation difference. Dining room window, between garage sideload door and front door, is about 1 1/2 feet off grade. Plan to install landscape lighting but need to know how to soften up long driveway.
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Sweep the planting bed from the front of your house down the drive on the right hand side (looking at the photo) and finish at the end of the drive with another mass of plantings to mark the entrance (put in a small tree too). Add a brick post light in the bed at the end of the drive maybe with a small decorative retaining wall incorporated into the light pillar. Berm up the bed to make your driveway and garage entry sort of hidden from the street. I would plant a small ornamental tree in front of your smaller palladian window on the left side. The trees and plantings will help breakup the front facade a bit and not make your drive seem so stark.
2 Likes   December 19, 2012 at 3:20PM
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Kevin Reilly
1 Like   December 19, 2012 at 3:22PM
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creations landscape designs
I designed a front yard in Tustin, CA that was larger than yours but at least you can get ideas.
1 Like   December 19, 2012 at 3:24PM
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You need to get some significant landscaping at the house. Here's a production housing project I designed where we had the same problem but we didn't have the paving go right up to the house.
2 Likes   December 19, 2012 at 3:27PM
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Linda Anthony
The link to the pic you posted is exactly what mmilos said to do - only both sides, and I believe doing both sides would really finish it off. Some nice BIG planters on each side of the door. It appears the door is recessed a bit but I would bring them as much out front as possible to compliment the door and the corners of the house. I would also suggest additional plantings at the left corner (as facing the pic) - bring it out and around, in a circular motion to soften all the hard straight lines of the house. Plant an ornamental tree there too, and possible about three low level shrubs around it. Dont be afrait to make the additional 'curve' a nice size, and you could then also incorporate it into that side of the driveway. It will draw your eye into the home and soften the corner. Cannot see the other front corner of your home but suggest you do the same on that side of the house.
2 Likes   December 19, 2012 at 3:33PM
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Linda Anthony
also, it's a beautiful home so I suggest additional advice from a landscaper. If you had one assist you already, they didn't do your home justice. Now, many times a landscaper will OVER do with plantings - so make sure you don't go overboard there. Remember. ALL plants (except trees) should be kept the same size as when planted, otherwise they get overgrown together and almost make the home 'float'. It must always be grounded somewhere. Nothing ages a home like overgrown landscaping shrubs.
1 Like   December 19, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Linda: I know. Thought I'd throw in a real life project with the same design problem. You know, "A picture is worth a...." and all.

And I like your observation about overgrown landscaping. So true. Amazingly the photos I posted I took just last year but designed the project 20 years ago!
1 Like   December 19, 2012 at 3:46PM
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Stone & Land, LLC
Hey jack56, your property was intriguing. I threw together a photoshop sketch, borrowed some of the ideas I liked from the comments. I like having mostly turf near the drive. Keeps that manicured look. Mulch can sometimes blow or wash out onto the drive. I like the idea of incorporating a berm up in the corner of the drive turning into the garage but making it turf grass, then using a little outcrop stone included in a bed pulled out toward the street in front of the berm. A few stepping stones to cut through from the garage to the main part of the front yard and a nice large multistem flowering tree in that bed. I was thinking something like Saucer Magnolia or Serviceberry with the light colored bark will pop against the red brick. I also was thinking of 2 columnar trees like Carpinus betulus fastigiata at the corner near the garage (kinda hiding in this angle behind the multi stem) and in the corner of the driveway on the opposite side for some balance and give a little more human scale to front of the house, fill up a little of the expanse of brick, maybe you can even add one more on the right side of the house but I didn't want it to look too formal and too many soldiers guarding your house. Urns and maybe and cut out an arch of the concrete and add a different paver at the front door to differentiate from driveway. Maybe some shutters too. Enjoy
1 Like   December 19, 2012 at 8:29PM
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Stone & Land, LLC
Also I think its important to keep some good access around the left side of the house in case you have some back yard project, maintenance or tree trimming that needs bigger equipment. Don't close off that turn around T end of the drive with shrubs especially if it snows there because thats a good place push the snow also. Consolidate the good plant material you have. The existing plantings look a little gap toothed. If you like the existing ornamental tree, move it out from the house like in the sketch. Also it looks like there is a lot of extra soil or mulch in the foundation beds on that garage side. Watch out if that grade is above your brick. I just don't like holding moisture on any part of a house that isn't waterproofed.
0 Likes   December 19, 2012 at 9:18PM
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All the comments have been very helpfull and greatly appreciated. I plan to extend the bed on left side of drive so it leads towards the street as suggested in mmilos comments and depicted in Stone & Land LLC draft. I have kept the mulch below the brick weepholes and sil so hopefully this will not create additional mositure problems for the house. The photos from Architrunnerguy really help with concrete ideas. One other problem that I should have mentioned and am not sure how to plant is the beds underneath the windows are not very wide from the house, about 3 feet. Any suggestions on planting material is appreciated. Again, north side of house in SC costal area. Cheers!
0 Likes   December 20, 2012 at 2:05PM
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"....really help with concrete ideas"...No pun intended of course!!

That's great Jack and the best of luck with your project! Looking forward to a future "before and after".
0 Likes   December 20, 2012 at 2:15PM
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