terrence_sharpe

new construction driveway

Terrence Sharpe
last month

Construction is almost complete and now we're trying to plan out our driveway orientation. The drive the work trucks have been using comes in at the right corner of the property and comes left right up to the front of garage.

Now we're thinking of having the driveway come str8 up into the garage area in order to utilize the area thats currently being used for some landscaping or something. Also we're planning on putting a shed directly across from the garage.

My wife is also wanting a turn around drive for guest and front door dropoffs. I tried to sketch something out so she could visualize it. Any feed back is appreciated. also GC won't cover the cost of whole driveway so it'll most likely be gravel or asphalt to save on cost.

Comments (44)

  • devonfield
    last month

    If memory serves, you were interested in trying to maximize your land for hobby farming or to produce an income. I would try to design a driveway such that it doesn't impede upon that goal or perhaps incorporates the land use goals into the driveway layout.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    Things to think about when you layout your drive:


    What is the first thing you want people to see when they drive into your drive?

    Where do you want first time visitors to park?

    What path will visitors take to get to your front door from their car?

    Do you want to park in your garage, in front of your garage door, or at your front door?

    Is snow removal an issue?

    Will headlights from cars driving up the drive shine where you do or do not want them?

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  • Terrence Sharpe
    Original Author
    last month

    @devonfield your memory serves you correct. Thats the main reason we decided to draw in the driveway straight up into the garage instead if in at an angle.

    @Mark those are good points to consider. I dont think I have many options though.

  • bpath
    last month

    Which direction along the road will be the most-common approach to your house? If from the right, the only thing people will see is the garage, until they get up the driveway and take the fork to the left. Encourage approach from to the left of the garage somewhere.

  • PRO
    Celery. Visualization, Rendering images
    last month
    last modified: last month

    You need access to front door as well



  • Terrence Sharpe
    Original Author
    last month

    @bpath we live on a country road that kinda sucks so id most likely encourage approach from the right since its the easiest route and thats the way we take. But thats kind of the reason we wanted to roundabout to make entry a little easier from either direction. Not 0 sure how practical it is but the wife really wants it.

    @Celery thanks for the addition lol

  • wcjo
    last month

    That driveway is all you are going to notice. Could you just have a soft half circle going by front of house and a pad at garage? And plant something pretty/useful/sellable in the front yard.

  • Terrence Sharpe
    Original Author
    last month

    @celadon builder quoted $2350 for gravel from garage pad to street which I don't think is too bad considering the distance. concrete is definitely out of the question for cost reasons

    @wcjo it won't be concrete which I think will make it not stand out as much. we're going for minimal gravel but definitely a defined outline and not just a vehicle worn look.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    Did anybody think about the driveway before construction started? It sounds like you are suffering the ramifications of plopping a preconceived plan onto a site.

  • JuneKnow
    last month
    last modified: last month

    It should be about 5x that cost just for materials. Labor is extra. That sounds like gravel just dumped on top of the ground, and not even really spread, with zero site prep. You’ll pay for that lack of proper grading and compacted base build in the future when it all washes out and migrates into the grass. You need the topsoil removed, a water management swale on both sides, a base compacted with a center crown, and then the finish gravel can get dumped and spread and compacted.

  • Terrence Sharpe
    Original Author
    last month

    @Mark here you go again man. Yes thats exactly what's happening. It's our first time building a house and the driveway was the last of my worries. You rattled off some rhetorical questions earlier and if that's going to be the extent of your input then fine. But your smugness won't get you anywhere further besides me typing some cuss words at you..Capichè👍🏾

    @June maybe It should be but it isn't. This isn't a new builder and they've done plenty of driveways. I think if they're capable of building a whole 2200 sf house then a gravel driveway shouldn't be rocket science😏😑

  • houssaon
    last month

    How about this configuration? The drive should be only wide enough to accommodate your truck. You would come up a single drive and turn right or left.


  • Terrence Sharpe
    Original Author
    last month

    @houssan now thats nice. thanks for the constructive feedback. I kinda like that actually. My wife loves it too

  • shead
    last month

    $2350 won't get you anywhere near the amount of gravel you need or the excavation. A load of gravel does not go far at all. Plus it takes time to really build a good base. Plan on needing to to gravel the drive multiple times as the layers begin to compact and sink down.

  • Terrence Sharpe
    Original Author
    last month

    @shead why won't it??? what's the standard gravel price in the USA.

  • shead
    last month

    I don't think there's a "standard gravel price" in the USA. It will certainly vary by region. One load of gravel does not go far, especially the loads of larger gravel that you usually start your base with. In my rural area of Kentucky, a load is over $400. I've bought three loads in the past week just to repair ruts down a long gravel driveway and repair a culvert to a cabin where we are living until our house is built. Over half of it washed away this past weekend with a heavy rain.

  • Terrence Sharpe
    Original Author
    last month

    @shead 25 tons for $350 here in Oklahoma

  • shirlpp
    last month

    Where are guests going to park? Do they have to walk through gravel to get to your front door?

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    My comments are geared toward the benefit of other first time builders and those that will build in the future. Building in response to the site is paramount and vehicular traffic is a big part of that, and often overlooked. Consider landscaping and possibly phasing sections of the drive if need be. To keep the garage clean, the longer the apron the better.

  • shead
    last month

    @shead 25 tons for $350 here in Oklahoma


    One dump truck load is 20-25 tons, I believe, so that's not too far off KY prices. Does that include the hauling? I'd find out how much of the $2350 bid is for the excavation work which runs about $100/bulldozer hour here and how much is allotted for gravel. Also find out what size gravel they intend to use as your base layer. My concern is that your bid will get you measly layer of gravel on top of dirt and within a couple of weeks, it will be pressed down into the dirt and you'll need ANOTHER layer on top of that with a repeat of multiple times. Of course, it depends highly on your soil content, but gravel can be very deceitful in how far you think it'll go vs how far it actually goes. You could end up with a mudhole very quickly if not done correctly.


    DH estimates every bit of $5K for the driveway at our new house which would probably be about the length of yours and that's just extending from an old existing driveway that's been there for 50 years. (Our home was destroyed by a windstorm in January so we tore down and rebuilt in nearly the same spot so we have some salvageable driveway.)

  • Terrence Sharpe
    Original Author
    last month

    @shirlpp its going to be a standard walk up from garage to door. I only drew the drive to figure it out the position

    @Mark ok cool 👍🏾

    @Housann thank you so much!! you provided exactly what I was looking forward without all the extraneous over thought some people can't seem to comment without. I appreciate it✊🏾✊🏾👍🏾

  • fissfiss
    last month

    So, we have the circular configuration at our house...but it is not a true circle....and this su x for the plow guy, and oversized deliveries....so if you do the circle, make it a true circle.

  • littlebug zone 5 Missouri
    last month
    last modified: last month

    This looks like an expensive, elaborate home. I understand you’re trying to work within certain perimeters here, not the least of which is cost, but it seems incongruous to pour extensive areas of loose gravel right in front of your beautiful new house.

    It would have been so much easier if the garage doors were at the front of the garages rather than around on the side.

  • suedonim75
    last month
    last modified: last month

    How many guests needs front door drop off? I really think that this will be a waste of money. And not just upfront. Gravel driveways aren’t maintenance free. and one that large will be a nightmare.

    My comment isn’t to criticize, I just know from experience what a PITA they can be. And the drop off area wouldn’t be worth the extra hassle.

  • Terrence Sharpe
    Original Author
    last month

    @littlebug I like that word "Incongrous" I'm gonna use that. Whatever we decide to do It'll be in the best taste and won't jeopardize the the look of the house.

    @suedonim thats hard to answer. I have a large family and a couple of old battle axes that won't like the walk-up from the driveway. So it could be easily 6-8 cars at my house for the holidays and technically a round about would be more efficient than a straight one. But outside of that maybe not so much. I can't say that I know what I'm going to do yet though

  • JuneKnow
    last month
    last modified: last month

    You’re talking pit run, not road base. Pit run won’t do it. Direct from the gravel pit, 8 miles from my house, as a business, that amount of quality washed road base would be $500 here. But that doesn’t include delivery or spreading. I have a dump bed farm truck, so $0 for that for me, but that’s an extra $75-$150, for you for the dump truck, depending on location, access, and other logistics. So, $600 per load. That’s 4 loads, and you’re already over budget.

    25 tons is 2 trucks worth. We used 100 tons of road base in front of the barn, for a small parking pad and wash station. That’s your 4 loads and $2400 right there, and the parking pad isn't even done. Much less the dirt work before hand, or spreading and compaction. We did the top soil removal and dirt work and spreading and compacting the gravel ourself, with the 30 hp diesel tractor, box blade, scraper blade, and roller.

    You don’t even have a barn. Where’s your big 30K worth of tractor and equipment going to live? Not a lawn mower. A real tractor. You’ll need one for the maintenance that gravel needs. As well as general property maintenance, like a finish mower or bush hog. A tiller if you want to garden. A front end loader if you want to haul soil amendments or mulch to planting spots away from the dump load site. A dump trailer truck pays you back in big dividends too if you really want to garden. You’ll need a ton or two of soil amendments.

    Your builder is not giving you a realistic allowance for a properly built driveway. Not even close.

  • suedonim75
    last month

    I was going to mention needing a tractor for the maintenance grading. And you will have to fill in potholes and low spots pretty much every year.

    My driveway base was not done correctly by the previous owners. So between sandy soil and a high water table, stone just sinks after a while.

    (I plan on having concrete put in next year because I’m tired of potholes, weeds, and raking stones out of the grass every spring.)

  • Comoelita Melendez
    last month

    Houssaon, Was just about to say this. I would move the exit of the "circular" driveway over to the right just a smidge in your design. More of an aesthetic for me but the same function. :)

  • Terrence Sharpe
    Original Author
    last month

    @june I'll inquire into that with my GC and see if that is in fact a realistic number for a quality drive, If it sounds like BS then I'll owe you one.

    @suedonim I've seen some done right so I'm a little optimistic about it. Im still trying to figure out the best thing to do for my house and my pockets

  • houssaon
    last month

    I centered the entry drive, so that guests will be looking at the house.

  • dan1888
    last month

    This house wasn't designed or sited to use or present the front entrance. That's a strong fact. Why try to cobble or invest in it now? Everyone who matters will park and use the side entrance. Some concrete outside the garage as a parking pad would be my choice and get my money. Partly angled drive. A decorative stone path with landscape planting to the front door or eventually some kind of outdoor use space at the front location for the owner's benefit depending on sun orientation and climate.

  • bpath
    last month

    Put the new driveway on the left side of the lot. Send it past the front door, then around the garage to the garage door. This makes the house the star , as it should be, not the garage. The driveway becomes a lane, more welcoming home than a utility road.

  • shirlpp
    last month
  • SashaDog
    last month

    To the point on the driveway cost, my brother is currently building a driveway himself for his future house, located in rural northern NY. He owns the bulldozer so he’s doing all of the prep work. He excavated 1’-2’ down, put down fabric, then large rocks for a base and drainage. Eventually the smaller crusher run goes on top. His driveway so far is less than 100ft and he’s got more than 100ton of stone without the small crushed run on top. He’s doing all the work himself and he’ll have more than $3k in his driveway.


    Houssan’s configuration is nice, but do you have to plow snow in the winter?

  • Anna (6B/7A in MD)
    last month

    Mark's initial list of questions are all the right ones to ask when looking at driveway placement.

    My thoughts: if you install a circular drive and people park on the drive (assuming no parking pad for guests) you'll want to have enough room that another guest parked behind them can still leave without having the person in front move their car. So person A arrives, then person B and parks right behind A. B gets a call that forces them to leave the party early, A doesn't have to move their car, B can just drive around them. Unless you use that inner grassy circle as the "bypass."

    Are you expecting to park your cars in the garage and guests to park outside of the garage on the parking pad? Or will you use the garage as storage and park your cars on the parking pad (as 90% of America seems to do) and have your guests park on the circle? If you have a lot of "old biddies" you'll want an easy way to drop them off at the front door--make sure you have railings on the steps.

    You ask for assistance/advice, people give that to you and more because there is a lot to consider. You'll be grateful for putting more thought into this now as it will avoid spending the next 5-10 years trying to implement "patchwork" solutions.

  • tyest1989
    last month

    Juneknow is salty af. Cost around here is $22 a ton for aggregate and delivery. Rent or borrow someone’s skid loader for the weekend and spread it yourself. Just don’t skip the stabilization fabric. It’ll pay for itself.

  • Terrence Sharpe
    Original Author
    last month

    @Anna I asked for assistance in orientation based off how I had already envisioned it, which I clearly stated in my initial post. I didn't ask anyone to rethink the whole process while being pretentious at the same time.

    @tyest that's definitely in the cards.

  • tfitz1006
    last month

    I think you should consider how older people/disabled people will enter the home. Give them the least amount of steps and something to hold onto if there are steps to climb.

  • sheepla
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Terrence, I live in rural Oklahoma and have an existing circular gravel driveway. We didn't build it but we do have to have gravel brought in periodically to fill in puddles/holes. I think your estimate is too low and I'm not sure if that includes grading or base layer. It takes more gravel than you think (speaking from experience here) to get a thick another layer that just doesn't press into the ground and disappear immediately.

    I love our gravel driveway and wouldn't change it to something else even if I was willing to spend the money to do so but it takes A LOT of gravel to maintain it. When we have a full truck load brought in to spread on top of it, that truckload covers only maybe 20% of our driveway (which looks to be about the same length yours would be) and that's not even starting from scratch. To echo what @JuneKnow said above, you'll need a minimum of 10 loads and likely more.

    I love @houssanon's suggested layout above.

  • Terrence Sharpe
    Original Author
    last month

    @sheepla if you don't mind could you upload a pic so I can see your layout

  • sheepla
    last month

    These were listing photos so as you can see, the driveway needed a lot of work at that time (the circle didn't even close all the way with gravel!)


    Our front door faces sideways due to a long ago closing in of the front porch (the house was built in 1930) so we don't have the challenge you have of needing front access until we tear this down and rebuild. Sorry the trees are blocking part of the view.

  • di0spyr0s
    last month

    Do you have a topo map of your place? Your drive will require less maintenance if you can locate it on the top of a ridge line so less water will flow along it.


    Our drive is about a 1/4 mile long and cost us $9k in labor and machine rental and about the same in gravel. This is in Indiana.

  • rrah
    last month

    One other option, not quite as attractive as the circle shown above, but less costly and less long term maintenance is to build a parking pad off of the main driveway.

    Our landscape architect (yes, a real architect) wanted us to add a circular drive to the main driveway. For a number of reasons we didn't want a circular drive. Primarily it would have required removing some trees we wanted to keep. We ended up adding a parking pad about half way down the 200 foot drive and a sidewalk from the parking area to the front door.

    People don't see some huge expanse of concrete in front of the house, but they can easily park, get to the door and back out when they leave.

  • Terrence Sharpe
    Original Author
    last month

    @rrah that's actually a great idea. We briefly discussed it earlier in the process..didn't go away from it and its definitely a possibility. Thank you for your input