Should I add a "U" shaped drive? How to add privacy to garage area?

by Daniel Ramos
(Coppell, TX)

Nancy, hope you can help me with a driveway dilemma. I have attached two documents, one showing the current layout of the house, driveway and trees (highlighted in yellow), and another document where I drew what I think may be a solution or at least one alternative. Please let me know what you would do in my situation.


Currently, there is one straight driveway into the garage area that is approximately 100-foot long. The house is set at 50 feet from the street. The main issue is that visitors, 99 percent of the time, drive to the garage area and call me to have the garage door opened, so they can get in. Nobody parks on the street and walks the concrete path towards the main entrance. Even worst, I have had some people open up the backyard gate and knock on my backyard sliding doors by the pool. Can you believe it?

First of all, I want to show a sense of privacy for the garage area, I don't want every visitor pulling up to this area. I want them to use the main door. Because of the long driveway, people think it is appropriate to park by the garage even though you are allowed to park on the street. I should mention that there are not sidewalks on my street. It is just a paved road that transitions into my front yard lawn. I was thinking I can create a "U" shaped drive that connects with the current driveway inviting visitors to use it instead of driving all the way to the garage area. I also have in mind that I can plant several narrow trees in line in the west section of the current driveway (currently filled with grass) leaving some parallel parking space for visitor along the trees on some white/gray gravel I am planning to add.

Note: The property is a ranch type house, 1 story, with a modern style in mind.

Thank you so much for your help.
Daniel Ramos
Coppell, TX

Dear Daniel,

Your current driveway is certainly leading guests right to the garage and back yard. People will go where the driveway leads. I think the idea of the "U" shaped driveway is a good one. The 50 foot distance from the front door keeps the "U"short so that cars can back out of the driveway easily, if another car is blocking it from continuing around the "U". On longer "U" shaped driveways, I would recommend have it be at least 18 feet wide by the house, so cars can pass one another. Be careful to not let the driveway get too close to the left side of the house. Leave plenty of planting space, so that the planting around the house can be continuous. Remove the existing sidewalk because guests can now come to the front door on the driveway. Install a front sidewalk that gently curves to the front door from a place on the driveway that gives the best view of the front door. People will stop where you put the sidewalk.

Planting does wonders for screening garage parking areas. Put too tall evergreens on either side of the driveway immediately in front of the parking area. Layer smaller evergreens in front of the tall ones. Have the mulch line from this bed be a continuation of the mulch line that is around the house. Plant a specimen tree or interesting bed where the "U" starts off the existing driveway.

The real success of a project is if it looks like it has always been there, as well as be an attractive and functional improvement. Use the same driveway surface on the entire driveway, so it all looks like one driveway, not an addition off the old one.

Thanks so much for submitting your question. I hope this information helps! Let me know how your project develops and send a picture, if you like.

Nancy

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