A Circular Driveway is Elegant and Functional!



A circular driveway makes a beautiful approach to a house and lets drivers move around your property easily. It is important that it is in proportion to the house and property and the dimensions are correct. The width and radius of the driveway curves have to accommodate the turning radius of the vehicles that are going to use it. Keeping this important rule in mind creates a beautiful driveway that works perfectly.



Circular Drive with Cobblestone Edge and Parking

This gorgeous, Southern style brick house is beautifully accented by this circular driveway. Being situated on a hill is always the optimum position for a house, so this site feature adds to its beauty. This driveway is a true circle with two car parking to one side. The parking is screened by the shrubbery on the left side of the property. Notice how the driveway lines up on the house giving it a balanced, symmetrical look (not off to one side). The outside diameter of the circle is 55 feet which is the smallest outside diameter for this type of driveway. Small delivery trucks and cars can easily use it. The center island is 15 feet in diameter and lines up perfectly with the front door. The 20 foot driveway width allows cars to pass one another anywhere along it. The cobblestone edge and paving details add to its elegance!

Landscape Plan of above picture showing circular driveway with parking to the side

This plan view of the above photograph gives you an exact look at how the driveway works. The driveway is colored in gray. Notice the two car parking positioned by the front door with the plantings around it to integrate it into the landscape.


Circular driveway on a country estate

This country estate is beautifully accented by the circular driveway. The outer diameter of the center circle is 90 feet. This is in good proportion to the 120 foot length of the house. As you can see, there is a long approach to the house (650 foot), so the circle is large enough to make an impression as soon as you turn into the driveway and view the house. To keep the property’s rural integrity, the center circle is kept in lawn. A fountain or central focal point would be totally out of character here.

Landscape plan showing ccircular driveway on a country estate

This landscape plan of the photograph above shows the easy access to the front door and the great circulation around the property that this driveway provides! It widens at the front door to let two cars pass one another. The side road off the circle takes you to the barn or the private, family parking.It is casual and elegant and works beautifully.

A circular driveway’s shape is often a definite circle like what’s seen in the two projects above. However, they do have other shapes as well, such as a tear drop or free-form. The one determining factor of this type of driveway is that it only has one entrance. In comparison, a U-shaped driveway has two entrances.

Tear drop shaped circular drive with parking off the side

The tear drop shape driveway is narrower at the entrance and widens at the house. The brick entrance gates are at the beginning of the circular driveway instead of at the entrance to the property about 300 feet away. The positioning of the gates at this location accented the house well, but also minimized the appearance of the driveway and focuses your eye on the center island and front door.

Circular driveway plan with parking

This plan shows the tear drop shaped driveway in the above photo. Notice how the parking is neatly tucked by the front door. It just gently opens up enough space for two car parking to the side of the front door.

Circle Drive Dimensions

Sorry for the small drawing! Copy and enlarge this page to make it more useful. The dimensions give all the measurements I used for this tear drop driveway design for one of my projects.





Tear Drop Circular Driveway at Historic Abingdon Church

A large tear-drop circular driveway comfortably brings visitors to the front door and to the adjacent parking of this old historic church. The center island is gracefully planted with daffodils for spring and daylillies for summer color. The view from the front doors of Abingdon Episcopal Church in Gloucester County, Virginia looks out over the grounds and shows how the tear drop shape, buff colored gravel driveway is a natural part of this serene setting.

Circular driveways are not always centered on the front door. It is more challenging to design an off centered driveway, but when done right, they are a work of art.

Circular driveway with a side approach

This classic looking circular driveway fits nicely in front of the front door. For a few reasons, the best place to enter the property was off the side road. The view to the front door was perfect and I was able to work with the large trees that added so much to the property. On this project, the wrought iron urn focal point is in keeping with the victorian period of the neighborhood and adds a great point of interest to the entry.

Circular driveway with side entrance

What a charming approach to this old house! The large magnolia and dogwood frame the view of the front door. Large oak trees are along side the circle. As well as providing wonderful shade and aesthetic quality to the site, they also give a place to mount lights that cast a soft light down on the driveway.

Free-form circular driveway on a contemporaty home

This contemporary stucco house sits at the end of a cul-de-sac where you enter the property through stucco and stone gates that match the house. A free-form circular driveway takes visitors to the front door or tennis court. At each of these points the 15 foot wide driveway slightly widens to 18-20 feet wide to assure easy passage around a parked car. The drive takes the homeowner to a spacious private parking area by the garage. The fact that this driveway does not center on the house is a unique and challenging part of the project. It had to be carefully designed for optimum aesthetic qualities and ease of circulation to the various points on the property. This shape naturally fit the size of the property and the configuration of the house.





Driveway dilemma? Driveways are challenging to design. Please feel free to ask me a question. I'll respond quickly and the topic gets a web page, so other readers can benefit. I hope to be hearing from you.




Please contact me for further information or to talk to me about my landscape design services.

Nancy Dransfield
Landesign of Virginia, Inc.
P.O. Box 15582
Richmond, Virginia 23227
Office-804-261-6773
Fax-804-264-7253
E-mail- n.dransfield@verizon.net


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Go to these related pages for more information on driveways: Driveways, Driveway Surfaces, and U-Shaped Driveways

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