plan and pics - need input on paths

raro(7)June 29, 2011

Here is an annotated plan of the terrace and paths. I hope you can make out that I propose to shift the driveway towards the west property line. Near the garage there will be two cars parked side by side. These will be shielded from the porch by a tall privacy fence that has an entrance for yard tractor and paths on the north edge. Long term plan is to have cedar trellis with espalier apple and pear to separate driveway from side yard extending from the privacy fence. Sand stone paths are to lead from kitchen entrance (really our main entrance) to the driveway and to wind back to the trellis on the south end of house.

Here are some pics of these areas. Please give me feedback on the driveway and the paths from the kitchen. Is this the best way for the two paths to merge in front of the entrance? Or does this chop things up too much? I had meant for the sandstone paths exiting east and south to dissolve into stepping stones. The workers made one exit very regular and the second more like the effect I was looking for.

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I'm having a hard time understanding the layout, but my vote for any path is to lay them based on where you want to walk, not on what looks pretty (but could be really inconvenient). I like functional paths more than pretty ones, but I could be in the minority here.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 1:41PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

I haven't any opinion on the driveway. Moving it over seems fine, if you don't mind the trouble and expense.

I know this isn't what you're asking about, but I think it's a pity the stairs up to the entry porch aren't on the west -- and wider -- side; that would simplify the approach to the house (fewer right-angle turns getting inside). Besides all the turns getting to the stairs and then in the front door, the chimney kind of cramps the approach to the current porch stairs -- at least that's the impression I get from the diagram and the first photo. It all seems awkward.

And while I'm re-designing your house -- 8-) -- even if you keep the porch stairs where they are, it would help to remove the half-walls on the west side of the porch. Why conceal the view of the main door(s) to the house?

Because that's really what it's about. This is the welcome-to-my-house area. So be welcoming, and keep it simple. Make it plain this is the entrance. One of the ways you do that is with a path from the driveway that clearly indicates the visitor should go to the front door rather than continue around the house. So the path to the front door should be emphasized; perhaps wider than the path that leads south.

Give yourself a good-sized hardscape at the bottom of the entry stairs. You don't want any bottlenecks at the entrance to the house. This is where groups of Christmas visitors will pause on the way into the house. This is where you'll dump the boxes you just carried from the car while you go back to the driveway to get the rest of the purchases. I have no idea what shape the hardscape should be; it's a tricky area.

The path south to the back terrace should start at the front door rather than at the path from the driveway to the front door, and that's just what you've done. It puts the emphasis on the front door; visitors aren't confused about where they're to go.


I think you haven't gotten much response either because people are fine with your design, or else because they're confused. The photos aren't really identified; some we can figure out, some not so easily.

Photos 4 and 5 ... apparently they are the sandstone paths exiting east and south, but I've no idea if that's the east and south side of the terrace, or the east side of the terrace and the path south from the bedroom (?) on the east side of the house.

It's also confusing because, to me at least, "sandstone" is solid stone, whereas you seem to be using the word for the fine material of the terrace.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 1:29AM
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