A motor court is not the same as a driveway.
It designates a special area for vehicle parking. Equally important, it is often a much more sophisticated hardscape that contributes function and form to a residential landscape design by providing a stylish transition space for guests approaching the front of the home.
In some cases as well, it is absolutely mandatory for homeowners living on narrow Houston streets where street parking is either impractical or completely unavailable.
A motor court is normally either round or square. The geometry will be based on what best compliments the particular architecture of the home. In most instances, it is built in front of the home between the driveway itself and the front door.
As guests exit their vehicles and move toward the front door of the home, the quality of the hardscape increases, creating a sense of drama and grand entryway. This effect can also be used in landscape designs where an entry garden is the preferred entry point to the property. In such cases, the guest will immediately transition from the world of the streets to a manicured blend of gardens, fountains, landscape lighting, and custom patio design.
Motor courts are recommended for any property with a circle driveway. There is always yard space between the driveway and the front door that can be set aside for parking. This enhances the curb appeal of the property, because people facing the home will be drawn into the scene by the curvature of the driveway. The upgraded parking surface that then introduces the home only lends additional aesthetic to the façade of the house.
Professional landscapers often use materials that are a step up in quality from the materials used in driveway construction. This makes the parking area look more sophisticated in essence and immediately identifies it as a special place. Further decorations can then be added to make this surface one of the most premier hardscape designs on the entire lot. Structures such as seat walls, custom fountains, built in planters with flower beds, trellises, hedges, wrought iron furniture, and even small trees for scaling can make the front of any Houston home look like the entrance to a grand estate or five star entertainment venue.
A motor court is not just for the super rich who have multi-acre lots. It only needs to be proportional in scale to the driveway and to the home. Technically speaking, a driveway is just an entrance to the property and does not have to be any certain size. All that is really necessary is sufficient space to accommodate the anticipated number of vehicles that will be attending home events. This lies within the control of the homeowner, so consequently, the size of the hardscape can be customized to fit the lifestyle and event planning of the individual.
The adaptability and scalability of motor court design makes it very well suited to patio homes and small landscaping design. Materials chosen for the parking area will be based on what looks best with the house and surrounding landscaping design, making it adaptable to everything ranging from Old World aesthetics to the ultra contemporary.