should i create a circular driveway

by ryan
(Pass Christian, MS)

My wife and I have recently purchased 10 acres and will be building our first house:) The perimeter of the property is a creek and the lot is almost exactly 800 feet by 500 feet. The open portion of the lot (not in trees) is about 600 feet wide by 415 feet deep. Our house will sit about 300 feet from the street. We live in South Mississippi and I've always admired the long drives lined with live oak trees. However, I would rather not wait 40 years for the trees to mature. My original thought was a long, straight drive lined with alternating trees and lamp posts. However, after reading your site, I like the thought of a circular driveway (maybe 200 feet of straight drive with a 100 ft diameter circle). The house will be slightly raised and about 110 feet wide. We will have a pond to the left of the house, so a winding drive could also be pretty (though I have always dreamed of the allee affect with rows of trees). I have planned to use asphalt, but I don't know how well it will go with the house (white southern plantation style house).


Also, the street and house site are on a small hill...meaning that the driveway will have a dip in the middle. Should I try to level the entire drive?

Thank you,
Ryan

Dear Ryan,

Your property sounds amazingly beautiful. A circular drive would work beautifully with your wide property and ability to focus the circle on the front door. The photograph of the blue frame house on the circular driveway page of this site has about a 550-600 foot long driveway before you get to the circle. That house is 120 feet long and the circle's total diameter is about 90 feet. These dimensions may help you get some perspective. Position the circle nicely with the features of the house. It may not be necessary to grade out the low spot in the driveway approaching the house. The surrounding topography will impact how easy it is to do it. Positioning the house on a hill always gives it promenence and is an ideal situation.
The driveway surface's appearance is going to impact the project. Asphalt is one of the most economical hard surfaces for a driveway. It is used extensively with all types of architecture. The surface you see in the picture I mentioned above is called surface treatment. It is also affordable for large driveways, but is not as smooth as asphalt. Gravel is rolled into tar, so it looks like a gravel driveway, but the tar gives it extra strength.
Don't hesitate to plant trees along the driveway. Watching trees grow through their life is nice and they will grow faster than you think. Install them at a spacing that gives them plenty of room to spread out and over the driveway as they mature. You don't want them to look cramped. A minimum of 30 feet apart and possibly 50 feet apart is a good spacing.
Good Luck with building your new home. Nancy

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Jan 13, 2011
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