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Long Driveway/Flag Lot

Posted by deedee_2008 OR (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 23, 08 at 15:09

Hello all,

I am in the process of purchasing a flag lot, upon which I will be building a new home. The driveway is 250' long x 10' wide, and the entrance is directly between two houses. We are going to check with our neighbors to see if they are amenable to us purchasing a few additional feet to make the driveway wider, but for now let's assume we only have 10' in width. I love that the beautiful private lot, and that we are so far away from the main road. However, I want a pretty way to spruce up the entry to our lot, and separate us from the two houses. I would love to plant some trees or shrubs along the way, but our driveway will be so narrow as it is, that I don't really have space for planting. I was thinking that a large arbor would be make a beautiful entrance. However, it would obviously be bigger than the average garden arbor (it would have to be fairly tall too, as my husband has a work truck with a rack). I'm wondering (a) what are you thoughts on this - am I way off base here? (b) where could I start looking for what I am assuming must be a custom made arbor - nurseries? (c) Any other suggestions for my driveway?

Thank you!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Long Driveway/Flag Lot

  • Posted by annz PNW (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 23, 08 at 16:06

You're not planning on doing this before the house is built, are you? There will be many large trucks bringing in building materials and they will need all the access they can get.

Keep in mind that large trucks may need to use the road in the future once you have built the house..........garbage, delivery, maybe propane?, and large, heavy materials needed for landscaping.

Got any pics?


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RE: Long Driveway/Flag Lot

Thanks, annz. This will definitely be done after the house is built. I have months and months of planning, but this is one of the few things my mind keeps coming back to. I don't believe garbage trucks will make the drive in (which means we'll have to drag the garbage aaall the way out- fun!), we don't generally have deliveries as we have a P.O. Box but there's always a first, and I didn't really consider gas, etc. Maybe an arbor isn't the best route. Le sigh.

No pics with me unfortunatly, but just picture a 10' wide driveway, with a house approximately 20' (?) on either side of the driveway. If I get some taken I'll post.


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RE: Long Driveway/Flag Lot

Without seeing it, maybe instead of an arbor, how about a couple of substantial pillars to mark the entrance to the driveway? Do you own the driveway, or is it a right-of-way? If you could purchase more space at the sides for a reasonable price, or if the neighbors will allow it without a formal transfer of ownership, a hedge that separates the drive from the flanking properties might be enough to add some separation. Whether you need to "decorate" the driveway is another question.


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RE: Long Driveway/Flag Lot

I was also thinking of something like some abbreviated low stone walls or some other marker that doesn't go over the top of the driveway. A hedge is another good option, can be low and narrow but does the job. But I would like something clear like a pillar on which you can put your address, since I imagine visitors will have some trouble finding it. Lighting might be an idea - you'd have to think of wiring.

I would also think less of the opening than of the delineation of the whole driveway itself. it is a 3D thing.

By the way whatever you build, someone will hit. If possible you might make a flaring line of stones or hedge or whatever to make it easier to navigate the opening.

The legal property division is an issue, as is what preferences the neighbours have for their separation from a driveway running up the side of their house. This sounds like a decision best made in consultation, and if it is to be plants, the maintenance and eventual root spread should be planned for.

All in all, however much your mind is dwelling on this, it is a decision to be deferred, except for preparing for what your needs out there might be. If you think lights or an intercom or some such thing will ever be needed, an electrical conduit just might be worth incorporating.

In making your plans, think of the function of the area, not just the look. When you've driven it a hundred times and seen all manner of vehicles do it, when you've directed a whole bunch of people there and heard whether they had trouble finding it, when you've come late at night and tried to drive in in the dark... then you'll know what to do.

KarinL


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RE: Long Driveway/Flag Lot

We have an old customer that had the exact same issue that you're having. All they did was place a couple of old-fashioned light poles surrounded by bricks half way up them. (You know the type I mean, the ones you see in old London - used to be gas fired and lit by hand?) Then they put some perennial plantings around them with black mulch. Looks really nice.

The electrical conduit from the house to the entrance is a GREAT suggestion that KarinL made! Nothing fancy is needed for that.. all you need would be a line of 4" underground PVC run on each side of the drive... great idea to do it while building as you will probably want some sort of light down there once the house is built.

HTH
ttfn
Mystic.


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RE: Long Driveway/Flag Lot

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 27, 08 at 15:53

It sounds like the driveway easement is currently unfenced? Would you or your neighbors want to add a fence to give them more privacy? If so, a wire fence with vines could go a long ways to enclose/define the space without encroaching upon it. I wouldn't suggest an arbor over the entry, either, as you will at the very least, want to be able to provide clearance for a moving truck/van to get nearer the house.

Simple accent plantings of ornamentals such as clumps of Phormiums, Dwarf Pampas Grass or Astelia chathamica at intervals along the driveway could help delineate the drive, without getting too large or needing pruning like other woody shrubs or trees would. Narrow columnar growing things like Italian Cypress are often used here in California, but are a bit too formal for my own taste. A row of Trachycarpus fortunei palms could look really cool, and are probably hardy in your area, although they might need summer irrigation.


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