Curb appeal re-design after addition

lisasasa56May 10, 2013

Hi folks, I need help figuring out how to reinstall our front patio and walk after adding on a garage addition that has given our front a decided L shape. The pitch of the new layout will add an additional step down, so we are considering adding another large semi-circle step (poss even larger than the first two) and then the small step down onto a walk that tapers to the driveway. (Note the mailbox is only in a temporary location astride the driveway.) With this design idea I am still puzzled as to how to end it -- a wide walk of pavers flush to the driveway, or a bit of a serpentine path with a shrub placed in front of the protruding corner of the garage where it meets the driveway and the patio? It throws me off even more because the new garage does not line up exactly with the existing driveway. We appreciate any and all ideas, even if you think our current direction is off-base. Many thanks!

This post was edited by lisasasa56 on Fri, May 10, 13 at 23:13

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Before picture (well, partially...the ripping out of the garden, mailbox and pavers had already begun on the left side)

This post was edited by lisasasa56 on Fri, May 10, 13 at 23:14

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:09PM
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Head-on view: open rough area needing attention

This post was edited by lisasasa56 on Fri, May 10, 13 at 23:23

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:12PM
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Cluttered view because of the temporary placement of the mailbox & Welcome sign plus construction debris, but you can see how it seems left-heavy & off-kilter with the existing driveway.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:21PM
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Would eliminate current bottom step and continue from circle with uniform width walk that loops the corner of the garage to connect with the drive. The new orientation of walk should be more frontward whereas the present bottom step is oriented left toward the garage. Give clearance to the building.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 12:37AM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

I think your slope would require additional steps, as you said, Lisasasa56. This is a very quick sketch, but I would suggest as an option to continue the bottom step wrap (red arrows) of the existing bottom step to redirect the flow. Then I would continue the new walk with a roughly parallel, or slightly curved walk, along the garage side. I would then locate the additional steps near the corner of the garage, angling them toward the driveway access.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 2:00AM
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Lisasasa56, depending on the reusability of the stone (and your budget) I would consider a complete redo from the porch down. The in-place steps look left leaning from the get-go, so I think any correction to the right (from our vantage) might look just like that - a correction.

I would at least design a "from scratch" scenario as if you had just built the house and now needed to design the could be straight or a bit meandering...but further from the garage than presently...this would maximize your options for beds on both sides of the path.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 9:46AM
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts *yardvaark* and *Gyr_falcon* Yes we see that the existing orientation of that step has to change, else one be directed to walk right into the wall!! The contractor also pointed out the need for another step (or two) since the slope of just a walkway would be rather steep and inconsistent with the rest of the design as leveled plateaus.

We were thinking of swapping out the small step for another large semicircle, following the symmetry of the other two and even swinging a bit counter to the garage for balance, then curving the walkway back in with a single step or two as needed... I'll try my hand with the below for more comments... .

This post was edited by lisasasa56 on Sat, May 11, 13 at 11:02

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 10:48AM
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Thanks Chuck but, unfortunately while I would love to hire someone to come in and revamp the whole deal, that's a complete impossibility. We did the front as a huge treat when we moved the tune of about $15-18G's -- spending way more than we should have even then. We are already over our heads in the addition with more decisions to be made... we are lucky that our contractor is going to place the pavers for us in the guise of putting it back as it was & we just have to pay for the additional block... We have to accept that it's not a complete new front and just have to work with what we have.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 10:53AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I feel your pain. $$$! I love the look of the current steps, and I think your paint idea works!

Our recent property purchase is a money pit for sure. Every time we blink, the contractor says, "Oh, by the way......"

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:05AM
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I have to disagree a bit, but I think your walk, lisasasa, is starting to turn into a gargantuan waterfall of concrete. To me, this is a case where less would be more. The original "wedding cake" of steps near the stoop would me "more" if they are not diluted with the camouflage of more of the same. It would be easier, better and cheaper to re-orient the direction of the walk (by getting rid of the bottom step) and then keeping with a walk instead of a series of circular platforms. If you wish to extend that theme, though, I think you could do it with a circular platform to receive the walk when it arrives at the driveway. (Exactly how you do that would depend on how the drive will be created and finished.) This is point where you should be working out the design in plan view on paper in order to really comprehend how it works. At first, ignore the grade change. As the walk shapes up, you can incorporporate steps, as and where needed.


This post was edited by Yardvaark on Sat, May 11, 13 at 20:23

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 12:34PM
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Thank you *Yaardvark* I appreciate your dissenting opinion. That's why I asked! I'm not confident with the our current ideas as posted for similar reasons. We are trying to compensate for the off balance feel of the house being so lop-sided right now and we may be overdoing it, your serpentine path softly throws the weight to the right without being too heavy in and of itself. Neat idea! I like that there is more room for an actual shrub/flower bed, than my plan has. My husband threw a different wrinkle in tonight too, before seeing your post ..that was to leave the step but orient it to the right as needed and then make a ground level patio, perhaps adding a small bench, then swooping out as you did with the remaining path.

As soon as we get a break from this rain, I plan to level the big mound of dirt siting there after repairing the sprinklers and then either with a hose or some spray paint trying out both ideas in the actual space.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 9:47PM
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Lisasasa, the husband's new idea sounds a bit like covering an old tattoo ... the end result might be bigger and badder. I would not let the bottom step dictate the direction of the project ... only keeping it IF it fit into a scheme, but not designing a scheme around it. Again, I remind that it would be helpful to create a to-scale base plan showing the layout of the garage and existing steps and work out that new walk on some tracing paper.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 8:27AM
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I wish I knew how to do a base plan to scale... even with graph paper it never seems to right size..always looks like there is more room than there is. Your drawing looks very nice but it adds a lot more length than there really is... In actuality to create that swing we have to swing out towards the center of the lawn --making a path that I fear people would cut diagonally across for more direct access to the steps/porch. I laid out a hose in the shape you suggest. Plantings will help offset the garage and direct the traffic flow but it doesn't seem to offer the counter weight I am seeking. We are on a corner property and have a lot of landscaping beds & trees to the left plus a lighter (Birch) tree in the center. That's why the patio idea came up. My next attempt with the hose-drawing ;) is the path *Gyr_Falcon* suggested coming off a circular patio landing that swung out to the side a bit... I looked at a lot of EP Henry pictures and I don't think the pavers will create a an ugly wall of concrete, esp since we have a lot of landscaping!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 12:21PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

As if you don't have enough to consider, ;-) , I'll throw out one more. Outside of appearance, you should also consider natural walking ease. There is a stride flow when walking along an entry walk with stairs. If the flow is poor, getting from point A to B requires more effort, and results in shortcutting (as you suggested) and avoidance (too much effort to go back out to the car to get something left).

Think about entries you have walked up, and down, at other houses and in public areas. Some make a person think "Whew. Made it." by the time they reach the front door. Others with a similar grade, you don't even notice the journey.

Our house has a poor step/walkway design, so everyone naturally walks up the driveway and cuts over to walkway when they are closer to the front door, rather than using the steps. Even people visiting for the first time take the longer route.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 4:03PM
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drawing a base plan is no more than accurately measuring the garage walls, porch and driveway. For the existing circular steps, the only thing that's important for the base plan is to place the limits of their dimensions. In other words, measure the farthest dimension steps extend from the porch. (You could sketch them first as if they're square, and later sketch them--by just eyeballing--to a rounded shape.) Measure the nearest they are to the garage side wall and the furthest they extend from that wall. since the space is small, you could just use a ruler and count every quarter inch as a foot. If you measure the real objects correctly and measure the quarter inches on to the paper accurately, The plan will reflect realistic proportions. For such a small drawing, you could use the square of an index card to make sure the lines of your drawing (where porch and garage meet) are square. For drawing the walk, establish the curve of the center line first and then add the edges by measuring a uniform distance away from, and perpendicular to, the center line.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 12:28AM
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