Non-functional driveway in middle of yard-potential front yard patio?
October 18, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I just purchased this 1950's fixer upper. I will be doing a down to the studs remodel and selling it. The current driveway is too narrow and too short to fit an average size car. It leads to what looks like a garage door, but is actually 3 separate panels that are on a sliding system and opens to a basement (kind of cool, really). I don't believe it was ever used as a driveway/garage as there is not a curb cut. I don't plan on creating a garage in the basement, but rather leaving it an awesome rec room space. I like the idea of being able to open the door/s to get some fresh air or step out on a patio, but it lacks privacy as it's right on a city street in Seattle. My big dilemma is how to make it a functional space, but reduce the funky factor of having a "driveway" in the middle of the yard. I'm open to anything such as fences, gates, retaining walls, etc. I have decided against back filling in the driveway, that's the one given. I think it could be a good opportunity to turn an awkward space into something modern and fun. I also want to make sure the lawn maintenance is easy for the owner and that they don't have to drag a mower to all these weird separate parts of the yard. Thoughts please!
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Adding potted plants at the end of the driveway could offer some screening and privacy from the road. Cypress or other evergreens could provide year round protection and add curb appeal.
October 18, 2013 at 3:48PM        Thanked by beckyteipen
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A trellis above the door could also help it to feel less like a garage door.
October 18, 2013 at 3:49PM        Thanked by beckyteipen
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ooh, good call on trellis. The house is boxy and could use the dimension of an awning or trellis.
October 18, 2013 at 4:40PM   
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HI -- This little house can be great with a few wise changes . I would dig out that side yard and add a nice big window/French door arrangement including removing and including that smaller window . Then new retaining side walls , then have a six foot high fence and gate to make it a more private area -- a side court yard some what .
October 18, 2013 at 5:22PM      Thanked by beckyteipen
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I like the potted plants (trees) at the end if the driveway. You could make a nice patio with chairs. Also a retractable awning for shade, this would extend the living space.
October 18, 2013 at 5:32PM      Thanked by beckyteipen
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Are you required to keep a driveway and/or a place to park a car? Not likely as there is no curb cut-out but check with the city. In my neck of the woods, you have to maintain space to park a car on the lot.
October 18, 2013 at 5:44PM      Thanked by beckyteipen
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That's a first for me to see: a driveway with no curb cut. I'd go down to city hall, get copies of all the permits and plans they have on file for the house. Then talk to the people there about what is allowed and what is not. It pays to be very nice to the building permit people. The neighbors may also have useful information. Is there back yard or alley access?

Fascinating project. I hope you post more photos as your plans evolve.
October 18, 2013 at 5:54PM        Thanked by beckyteipen
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Thank you for your input. I forgot to mention that I am creating an off street parking space that will actually fit a car.
October 19, 2013 at 2:27PM   
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What's the rest of the house like? You might like some of the ideas in this photo search:"walk-out-basement"
October 19, 2013 at 2:48PM     
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Red Berm
I would suggest cutting the concrete a few feet back from the sidewalk and putting in a hedge along the front so that it can feel like a patio. Trellis over the top would help the patio feel with benches along the sides and containers. Curtains would help enclose the space as well.
May 21, 2014 at 1:40PM   
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Old post ... Update from Becky would be great.
May 21, 2014 at 1:53PM   
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