It’s a pretty quick and eye-catching affair – to discuss the design, container planting, and the possible and hopefully lavish result. The satisfaction of planting and growing them is a pleasure in one summer season. However, landscape projects can take months of work and progress can be slow. Every large landscape project in which several contractors are involved requires a lot of patience. I am in the second year of this particular project. I admit that the first time I drove to the house and looked down the driveway, I was shaken. On a large lot was a house on a hill in the far corner of the lot. This hill fell dramatically in all directions. Significant parts of the country were below the level of the adjacent roads. Knowing that human interaction with the landscape depended on a flat floor to stand on, I was discouraged. I would even say that it is an alarmingly difficult page. My customers weren’t worried in the least. They were there in the long run. They loved the house and were interested in creating a home inside and out. My first visit to the property was not her first. They were already well on the way to spreading their presence, cutting down dead trees and shrubs, and dragging debris away. They had planted some white pines.
The driveway was in pretty bad shape and had to be replaced. In my opinion, the location of the drive was a bigger problem than the condition of the surface. It wasn’t particularly functional since it came to the house at a very steep and awkward angle. It would be necessary for both vehicle and pedestrian traffic to keep it ice-free in winter. But even in good weather it was a nerve-wracking train and a nerve-wracking brake party on the way down. The distance from the road was considerable, so adequate parking near the house was a must. The existing driving space was too flat to allow parked vehicles and access to the garage at the same time. The driveway was too narrow to let 2 cars pass. Last but not least, it did not offer a beautiful and evolving presentation of the house on the way up. I suggested moving the driveway overall to a less steep place. The curved curve would provide views of the property. And it would be wide enough for 2 cars to use the long drive at the same time.
Do you understand what I mean? Much of the property is covered with trees. This forested look was perfectly adequate and would thrive with some cut and care. There was very little landscaping near the house as there were few planting opportunities. My customers decided to continue renovating the driveway and creating a larger drive court at the top. The contractor for the driveway ensured that the plan was drawn up and approved. It was not the easiest or quickest process. The grades were extreme, so several retaining walls had to be built to hold this drive.
An enlarged driveway and planting space on the street side would require a third retaining wall. The amount of natural flat space around the house was minimal. The drive court was up there in the tree roof. A landscape buffer would keep a vehicle away from the drop point. Fortunately, the ground was on the sandy side, which made earthwork pretty easy. Another advantage was that the work was not stopped by rain and the water drained quickly. Work in a location with heavy clay soil can be reset a week or better after a drenched rain. A lot of work would have to be done before we could talk about a landscape installation.
The actual construction was very interesting. The new drive was completely disconnected from top to bottom. Once created, my customers could run it and see how they liked it. The layout was very similar to the drawn plan because approval was given for a specific location and configuration. During this work, my customers could still use the old driveway to come and go. From the picture above it is easy to see that the slope of the new drive would be significantly less steep than that of the original.
After being laid out, the retaining walls that were supposed to support the driveway were built from huge boulders that were built with the help of an excavator. In the picture above it can be seen that the degree of entry is considerably higher than the degree of the country in which the trees are planted in the background.
This picture shows how the house comes in halfway up the driveway. This is the welcome home and the welcome to our moment at home. It’s hard to see the old driveway on the left, but it’s still there.
As soon as the grade was satisfactory, one truck load after the other was delivered and unloaded at the construction site of the new drive.
The heavy device at the top of the drive signals that the last gravel has been laid. This gravel would be compacted thoroughly. Shortly afterwards the first 2 inch thick asphalt layer was applied. The last two inches will not be installed until the front and back landscape is finished. The weight of heavy devices can damage a drive. Once the new drive was operational, the old drive could be removed.
A gravel floor had been installed and stamped for the supporting wall of the driving area. This is a great view of the level of the new ride that is at the level of the base of the house. The slope away from this driving area is not sustainable without a certain retention.
Rock ledge panels were individually attached to support the ground next to the ride area and create an 11-foot planting bed.
Once the wall was in place, the bed was filled with earth again. There would be room for a landscape to mitigate the size of the Drive Court.
After the old driveway was removed, the entire open area had to be reassessed. The first picture in this post makes it easy to see that the old drive was installed on its own hill. Much of the floor under the driveway was classified and smoothed in the direction of the new driveway. This is a very large area – so the bulldozer makes the rough grade.
There are situations where you start over, and balancing the landforms will make the difference in the world to the landscape result. I was really excited to see the progress at that point. This was a huge change, but everything for the better. The driveway contractor, Ralph Plummer, who owns and operates GP Enterprises, has sent me the following stats for installing the driveway.
– 6,100 sq. Ft. Asphalt removed. 200 yards from the top floor and reinstalled in the low area along the driveway. 400 meters of sand installed. 500 tons of 21AA crushed stone added and compacted on the spot. Installed 10,000 sq. Ft. of asphalt on the first base layer. The new walls along the driveway accommodated 184 tons of stone, in addition to 84 tons of existing stone that was being relocated. Angry.
At the end of last summer we were ready to start the landscape.
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