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Bellow is an arial photo and a road-side photo of my new house.

enter image description here

enter image description here

As you can see the driveway is an awkward curve especially when backing out of the car port to the side of the garage - you have to do a slight "double S curve" to avoid the house and a parked car/truck. Worse yet, it come dangerously close to the house! [more info about the vehicle and parking at the end of this post]

I'm sure that after a few weeks of practice it will become second nature to navigate it in reverse, but for guests and for those rough mornings without coffee, I'm worried that a car could graze the edge of the house and cause damage to the car and the house.

So I'm wondering what my options are. What would you do? Thanks!

[edit] here's some more info for those interested: I drive a truck and the lady drives a car. She will park in the car port as shown, and I will park my truck in the driveway. The outbuilding is actually a workshop with a wooden floor and cellar underneath it, not a garage, so no parking in there. The car is a compact Toyota, the "truck" is not a truck at all but a Jeep Cherokee so not too large either (I only wrote truck because that's whats parked there now but I'm selling it soon. It's a short bed full-size '83 chevy)

closed as primarily opinion-based by Tester101 Feb 1 '17 at 15:59

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Please post the actual dimensions of the current driveway. – Carl Witthoft Jan 31 '17 at 18:56
  • @CarlWitthoft 10 ft wide at it's narrowest point. 23 wide at it's widest point. About 70 feet long. – Dan Mantyla Jan 31 '17 at 21:21
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    Wow! Houses in the US have a lot of space around them... – Tim Feb 1 '17 at 0:13
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    Protect the corner of the house with a very big and visible stone, tree trunk, statue, whatever. – RedSonja Feb 1 '17 at 9:56
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    @Tim Well, out in farmland they do. :-). In cities, not so much. – Carl Witthoft Feb 1 '17 at 13:12

11 Answers 11

10

I would go the other way from Michael Karas. I'd eliminate the double S-curve, and make the entry to the carport a steady curve of same radius. That would cause it to miss the house entirely, and move "where the driveway meets the highway" west a bit. And get the ugly driveway away from the front of the house. Add a curb and you shouldn't have any house hits, it also gives you a place to throw snow.

Excuse my terrible photoshop skills.

enter image description here

Or, since 2 people duplicated my answer while I was drawing it, how about this novel minimum-pavement approach that puts your daily life more "in the green". Also improves sight-lines backing out (though I wouldn't back out; I'd back in.)

enter image description here

  • Your first pic is the most sensible. You could add paving in front of the storm cellar and park the Cherokee there. – A. I. Breveleri Feb 1 '17 at 19:51
  • @A.I.Breveleri In fairness, cano64 and Dan Mantyla were writing similar answers to my #1 at the same time, in fact they posted while I was writing/shooping. – Harper Feb 1 '17 at 20:30
15

My suggestion is to add to the size of the concrete drive way in the following manner:

enter image description here

This gives you the option of backing up out of the car port in the new area toward the rear yard. Then you can drive in a forward direction which would be far easier to navigate by the truck and the corner of the house.

Additionally the part added onto the side nearer to the street view will allow the truck parking area to be moved over a little to alleviate the congestion posed by the parked vehicle in its current spot.

Adding onto existing concrete like this is certainly doable but there can be some downsides including looks and joining the new to the old slabs. If those are of concern to you then you would be looking at taking out a good portion of the existing slab and replacing with all new. Cost factors can be a good aid in the decision path.

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    @isherwood - I am not there building the forms!! The idea is approximate at best. – Michael Karas Jan 31 '17 at 18:43
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    No, but surely you can picture what I described. A pickup would extend almost to the far side of your turnout before clearing the carport, right? Otherwise I like your plan. My dad and I used to pre-drive all layouts with a full-size pickup before forming anything. It's the only reliable way to do it. – isherwood Jan 31 '17 at 18:45
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    I've added some description about our two (three, pending sale) vehicles that will be parking there soon. Oh and one more thing: that big square bellow the driveway and the truck parking is not more concrete, it's a cellar storm door, like the one in Twister lol – Dan Mantyla Jan 31 '17 at 18:58
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    You can get interlocking plastic tiles with lots of holes in them, for reinforcing turf. You dig up the turf, lay the tiles, roller the turf back down on top of the tiles or just fill them with earth and grass-seed. Once the grass has recovered or grown you can drive over the reinforced turf a few times per day even when it is wet, without leaving ruts or dead grass. – nigel222 Feb 1 '17 at 9:11
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    If you make the turning area bigger then visitors can park there too. – RedSonja Feb 1 '17 at 9:59
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I'd leave the driveway as it is. I'm not a fan of half-acre concrete slabs. I'd install some "rumble strip" edging pavers or small boulders (partially embedded in the ground) to give drivers a haptic warning that they're in danger of encroaching on the architecture.

  • That's what I was thinking too. Large rocks or pavers that would check the tires but not tall enough to damage the car. Thanks! – Dan Mantyla Jan 31 '17 at 18:51
  • I would actually put rumble strip on the bottom section - to give you something to aim at when backing out. – DMoore Jan 31 '17 at 18:56
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    That's probably what I'll end up doing, and then seeing how we like living with it and if it's bearable or not. But I want to know right now because I'll be planting lots of trees this spring and I don't want to have to dig one up or wait another year to plant one – Dan Mantyla Jan 31 '17 at 21:00
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    Any added driveway section could be done with Grasscrete. – Jim Stewart Jan 31 '17 at 21:11
  • @DanMantyla I would install a concrete curb instead... – dalearn Feb 1 '17 at 15:53
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Whether you add on extra concrete or add rumble strips - both really good ideas - I would protect that corner of the house.

My neighbor has very very similar rebar sunflower lawn art in their yard as the picture below.

enter image description here

You station 4-5 of these around that edge and your house is well protected. If someone is backing on - they will actually hit something that will give them a bump so that they know not to keep going. Also if a car hit one of these there should be little to no damage on the car or the sunflowers.

  • Exactly this. I'd use a few large, ceramic, plant pots with tall plants perennial plants in. Any accident will occur with the plant pot rather than the house and this avoids the need for costly re-landscaping. – Jack Aidley Feb 1 '17 at 10:29
  • I'd use plastic planters as they're less likely to damage anything if bumped. Just make sure that they're got something tall enough to be easily seen from the cars – Chris H Feb 1 '17 at 11:31
8

I'll throw an answer out there, answering my own question but not necessarilly the correct answer.

Remove the existing driveway and build a new one that makes more sense:

enter image description here

This has the upside of removing the driveway entrance from right in front of the house which I hate. Now I would be able to plant a big tree here! Downside is I will need to hire a crew with heavy machinery to dig out the old concrete and haul it away at the very least. I could replace it myself with turfstone pavers which I'm fond of, or just gravel which is just fine with me. Oh yeah and the 220v power going to the workshop from the house is going underneath the driveway somewhere and I don't trust that it's been burried with conduit or warning sand or anything.

And just becuase, I illistrated @MichaelKaras answer a little more to my liking, and add a paver curb at the driveway near the house, and this might be the best option:

enter image description here

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    To avoid losing too much grass, make the turning area with those paving stones with holes in for grass to grow through. In German they are called Rasengittersteine, if you google it you can see the different types. – RedSonja Feb 1 '17 at 9:53
  • Oh yeah and there's another reason to shift the driveway to the left. Directly across the street from where the driveway currently meets the road is the driveway for a trailer park. Would be nice to have them offset a little to further the divide between my property and the trailer park – Dan Mantyla Feb 1 '17 at 16:09
6

Move the driveway like this, plant some trees and shrubs in front of the house

enter image description here

4

I see the ridge of the garage roof toward the street, suggesting the gable faces the street. So the street-side wall is not load bearing. How about opening that wall, closing the old garage doorway, and moving the driveway entrance to the new doorway?

Guest parking could be a new drive going straight between the garage and the house, after removing the old driveway entrance.

  • It's not a garage :) it's a workshop with wooden floors and full height cellar. So no car parking in there – Dan Mantyla Feb 1 '17 at 16:15
  • Ah, OK. You might want to correct your original post, which did say "garage". You've got a tough problem with the driveway -- good luck with your improvements! – donjuedo Feb 1 '17 at 18:08
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Well, the whole thing was designed very stupidly. You have two fundamental options: shoehorn some more driveway in place as @MichaelKaras suggests, or tear down the garage and build one more sensibly oriented, -- and preferable attached to the house! For example, draw a plan with the existing garage rotated 90 degrees and attached to the house roughly at that close corner. Use the area where the garage is now as your turnout space.

Or I suppose there's a third option: pave/gravel all along the front, parallel to the road and opposite the existing garage, and use that for your turnout space. That won't help with backing out of -- or into-- the garage, but it'll get you pointing forward to enter the street at least.

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    If @DanMantyla does decide to follow your suggestion it would also follow that the driveway would be moved over to line up as a straight shot into the garage. – Michael Karas Jan 31 '17 at 19:10
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    tear down the garage and build a new garage attached to house? Come on, get real... – Dan Mantyla Jan 31 '17 at 19:11
  • @DanMantyla I am getting real. Just because it seems drastic and/or a waste of money to you doesn't mean that everyone else thinks so. People put up or knock down additions to their houses all the time. I did say it was an option, since you were all antsy about not chewing up any more unpaved area. – Carl Witthoft Jan 31 '17 at 19:37
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    Just build a new one for the truck and leave the existing one as is. – Matthew Whited Jan 31 '17 at 20:38
  • The house was built around the year 1900. Then workshop was built shortly after that (when "horseless carriages" where for fancy people on the east coast). Then they added the driveway. Then the sunroom addition was built in front of the house. So it wasn't like someone was like "I'll put the driveway 1 foot away from the house!" it just happened that way over time – Dan Mantyla Feb 1 '17 at 16:13
2

A less radical solution, perhaps temporary.

awkward driveway

  • hmm, maybe the most sensible – Dan Mantyla Feb 1 '17 at 15:18
0

Based on your picture, I have an answer for you.

Drive in a straight line instead of randomly turning for no reason

Put a ruler on your picture. You will find there is an absolute straight line from the corner of the truck, along the driveway (and well away from the house), to the left-hand side of the entrance. The only reason you have an S bend is because for no reason whatsoever you've drawn the car as entering the driveway on the extreme right of the entrance. Unless the concrete on the left of the entrance is so damaged that you can't drive over it, there is no reason to be doing that. And if it is, fix it and you're done.

  • Trust me it doesn't work like that. The driveway is very awkward to backup like that and it takes a lot of maneuvering. – Dan Mantyla Feb 1 '17 at 15:59
0

Assuming that the car is smaller than the Cherokee, switch parking spots.

By parking the smaller (shorter and narrower, I'm assuming) car closer to the street, the Jeep will have less vehicle to avoid, and can start the turn to miss the house sooner.

If weather is an issue, a simple steel car port over the current "truck parking" spot will provide some weather protection for the car, and will likely be much less expensive than concrete work. Even a fully enclosed all steel car port (which is what the existing one looks like from here), should be much less expensive than concrete work.

If some sort of marker is necessary, a few very inexpensive driveway markers like this Driveway marker http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/1000/4f/4f58545a-f0c3-42d1-aed5-d77bf9e51615_1000.jpg
Image courtesy of Home Depot. No particular brand or vendor recommendation expressed or implied
should do the trick for finding that edge, especially when leaving before dawn. It may not be the prettiest thing in the world, but if that's an issue, someone with some craft skills could dress it up while still being visible (especially the reflector). Hitting it would cause no damage to the vehicle, but would cause enough noise and motion to be noticed, and allow for a second chance attempt.

Finally, unless you have a house full, guests should be able to pull straight into the driveway and not even have to start the turn, yet still be able to get (all but the largest trucks) completely off the road. It looks like there may even be enough room for two vehicles to park side-by-side there.

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