By definition, driveway landscape design is the deliberate construction of a functional hardscape with a high aesthetic impact on the surrounding landscape. Walls and fences create vertical impact and style, while flower beds, shrubs, and trees soften an otherwise plain surface into a vibrant area of eye-catching presence and life.
The direction and shape of the driveway itself is based upon the size and architecture of the nearby home, the amount of lawn space in the front yard, and the design considerations of the landscape master plan as a whole. The intent of driveway landscape design is always to use the driveway to move the eye towards one or more special points of interest just like the pavement helps move the car toward the garage. Direction, size, and construction materials therefore vary widely on a per case basis.
If, for instance, a two-story home sitting on a mid-sized lot appears much taller than it does wide, a straight driveway can be built on one side of the home as an reflection of its linearity and symmetry. This, in turn, can establish a theme of order and linearity that can be repeated throughout the front yard landscape, making the entire property a symmetrical frame, of sorts, for the portrait of home architecture.
On the other hand, a home that is much lower to the ground and more spread out on either sides is better complimented by a circle driveway. Building a radial arc around a central feature, such as a contemporary garden or a custom water fountain, is an excellent way to bring the eye to the center of the home and lead the feet to the front door of the house.
If a home has been built rather far back from the street, then a driveway can be constructed that accommodates central parking in front of the home. A walkway can connect the motorcourt to the front of the home to lend a sense of entrance to any occasion.
This is a very popular style of driveway landscape design in neighborhoods like River Oaks where many home are built with seclusion and privacy in mind. Such privacy can be further enhanced by building a fence or at the entry of the walkway. An ornamental iron gate or decorative stone arch enhances security and magnifies the sense of formality even further.
Small masonry walls are also used in driveway landscape design to add vertical impact to the surface of the pavement. A wall of only a few inches on either side of the pavement will give the entire surface dimension and protect plants from vehicle traffic. The top of the wall can even be made into a planter and be used to grow herbs or plants.
Any species of ground cover hedge or shrub can be planted along a driveway landscape to decorate it with greenery. In most instances, designers deliberately use more than one shade of green to generate a greater sense of fullness and dimension. Small driveways can be landscaped with something as simple as boxwoods and mondo grass. Larger drives can be lined with sculpted topiaries.
Flower beds are very ideal compliments to any driveway landscape design. The color and geometry of flower beds are partly based on that of the driveway itself; partly on that of the home. Ornamental trees such as including Red Maple, Pear, and Crape Myrtles, can be planted along a drive. Larger shade trees are great for planting along longer driveways and in heavily wooded parts of town like Memorial.
Experts in driveway landscape design enjoy a very wide range of choices in construction materials. Popular materials include from concrete, asphalt, pavers, brick, and natural stone. Concrete is surprisingly more popular in Houston landscaping than many might assume. Thanks to new technology, concrete can be stained with a wide variety of colors, and it can be treated in a number of ways to create very decorative textures and patterns in its surface.
Pavers are a great way to create the look and feel of natural stone and save a considerable amount of money on the cost of driveway landscape design. Brick always lends itself well to traditional, Colonial, and Old World themes, and asphalt is an excellent compliment to a modern or contemporary landscape theme.