Tear Drop, Circle, or U shaped??

We are building a house and trying to design a driveway. The yard is 240 ft across. The garage starts the beginning of the house. It sticks out about 34 feet from the house on the left side of the house with the garage doors facing the outside. The house is 103 ft wide, but not symmetrical on both sides of the front door. We want extra parking spaces in front of the house (not in the drive space) and a turn around area coming out of the 3 car garage.


Our questions are

1. What do we center the driveway on?
2. What shape uses the least amount of yard space?
3. How wide should the driveway be in proportion to the house?

I really appreciate if there is any help you can give.

Van1116

Dear Van1116,
The 240 foot wide parcel with the house being 103 feet gives you plenty of width to have a circle or oval. You do need to have depth from the street to be able to have the circle. If the house is close to the street a "U" shaped driveway would be better. It sounds like the garage faces the side, so whether you use a circle or "U", you can have a drive peel off the main driveway to the garage. If you have 40 feet of paved area behind the garage doors, you have a very comfortable area to get out of the garage and turn around. I always center a circle or oval on the front door even if the house is asymetrical. I have made circle driveways all different widths, there is no set rule. You want them to be comfortable and easy to use. The architecture of the house can dictate where it looks best. You need a 50 diameter minimum. This is a tight circle and would be easiest for cars not delivery trucks. A "U" shaped driveway can look nice sweeping across the property from one corner to the next, or lining up with an architectural feature on the house. A "U" shaped driveway uses up less space than a circle or oval.
You can add parking spaces by widening the driveway to an 18-20 foot width in front of the house or putting a parking space or two off the main driveway. See a picture and drawing of this concept on the Circular Driveway page.
Hope this information helps!

Nancy

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Oct 20, 2015
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Aug 16, 2012
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The Extra 35 Feet Makes the Circle Drive Work!
by: Nancy

If you have the additional 35 feet, I think the circle will work fine. Look at the distance from the house. Remember that a walk needs to come from the front door to the circle. You want to have enough space for planting, but don't want a walkway that is too long. I hope your project goes well!

Nancy

Aug 15, 2012
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lot area redo
by: van1116

I think I may have explained things wrong based on the answer. I have 135 ft from the front door to the curb of the street. The 100 ft is from the edge of the garage to the street....but if it is centered on the front door it opens up space I hope. I really like circle or tear drop instead of u shaped if possible. Does the extra 35 ft make it more reasonable. We did a rough sketch and it looks like for a 20 ft diameter inside circle and 50 ft outside circle and 15 ft drive space it would leave us about 50 ft from street to circle. It is also about 45 ft from the front door. Is that too cramped or do those number sound unrealistic. Any help you can give me is greatly appreciated.

Thank You

Jul 20, 2012
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distance from the street
by: van1116

The house (garage) will start 100 ft from the street. Is that enough distance for a teardrop to be a good choice. I really like the teardrop, but don't know if there is enough space street to house.

I think 100 feet is too close. You want to allow a nice amount of space between the house and the driveway. I would say a minimum of 10-15 feet, so you can have whatever steps and stoop are necessary for the front door, a short walk, and planting area along the house. I reviewed and measured some of my drawings for tear dropped shaped driveways and for a minimum radius the distance out from the house was 80 feet. You don't want it to look cramped or over power the space. Does a "U" shaped driveway appeal to you? I have done this style of driveway when I only have 50 feet between the house and the street. In urban situations, they are done with even less than that amount. They are elegant and functional. You can add parking spaces off it, but surely widen it at the front door to 18-20 feet so two cars can pass one another.
Hope this information helps!

Nancy

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