After the site for the house has been located the next provision to be made concerns the best arrangement of walks and drives. Here, as in all the other features of landscape development, we have a wide latitude and are not confined to any one particular style. Every property has its individual conditions; these must be carefully considered, for they will more or less influence the designer of the drive and walk arrangement. One principle, however, is fixed: Drives and walks must be as direct as possible without being forced or twisted; they should approach by means of straight lines or by easy, graceful curves.
The house being the objective point, the trend should always be in its direction. The approach, when from the side, should be so placed that a good perspective of the house will attract the eye as one comes toward it. If some architectural feature in the house is a dominant note and worthy of attention arrange the curve so that, at a certain point, this feature will hold the center of the picture. Some such feature may be a prettily designed window, doorway, oriole bay window, or a well designed gable end.
When the house is situated at some distance from the highway, the foreground fairly level, and the property of considerable depth, a straight approach (Fig. 16) on the axis of the portal, such as the straight, box-bordered approaches of the old Southern homes, is most pleasing.
In a straight approach (Fig. 17) there should be no circles, such as we often see, around which a detour must be made before the house is reached.
On a property of little breadth the straight walk through the center bisects the lawn, leaving two tracts which are very difficult to treat. On such a property it is better to confine the walk to one side (Fig. 10) and arrange the planting to accentuate the breadth.
In the majority of cases drive and walk should enter at a right angle to the property line (Fig. 18) and finish parallel to the house. Fig. 19 shows an improper method of intersection with front pavement.
Fig. 18. - Good entrance arrangement Walk entering at a right angle to the property line. - See page 29.
Fig. 19. - Poor entrance arrangement..
Walk not at a right angle to property line. - See page 29.
When a residence is located on a highway where all or nearly all of the traffic is from one point, the entrance drive (Fig. 20) should favor that direction. Such an arrangement is also desirable when the ground on the opposite side of the road is precipitous or dangerous.
The entrance gate should be toward that side of the property from which the greater portion of the traffic may be expected. It is a decided mistake to place the entrance at a point where it will necessitate the crossing of the breadth of the lot and then having to return to the house after entering the property. Where the traffic is likely to be just as great from one direction as from another it is quite practicable and pleasing to have two entrances with a semi-circular walk to the front (Fig. 21). This is feasible where the width of the lot is about equal to the distance (or a little less) from the front property line to the residence. Such an arrangement is more pleasing than a straight walk down the center. It gives the appearance of the lawn expanse and apparently greater breadth.
Fig. 20. - Entrance arrangement when traffic is all from one direction.
Fig. 22. - Plan showing two entrances close to party line fences.
When placing the entrance at the side (Fig. 22) a sufficient space should be left between the walk and the party line for some ornamental planting.
When it is desirable to have two entrances (Fig. 23), one may be for pedestrians and the other for vehicles.
It is well to have the service walk (Figs. 24 and 24A) somewhat removed from the front of the house if possible. The main walk leading to the front of the house should be dominant, the service walk narrower.
Where the length of the walk is sufficient it is advisable to have greater variety and beauty by having a reverse curve (Fig. 25), but this is only permissible where the distance is at least fifty feet.
Corner properties (Figs. 26 and 26A) may be entered from the corner, but such entrances are rather difficult to arrange in a satisfactory way. Where such a scheme is adopted it is best to have the piers set well back from the line, placing them tangent to the arc of the circle with the center at the intersection of the two property lines. This will leave two small grass plots on either side of the walk which may be pleasingly treated with ornamental plantations.
Fig. 23. - Two entrances; one for pedestrians, one for vehicles. - See page 33.
When locating a drive or walk where it is desired to avoid the direct line, it is well to select a point (Fig. 27), if practicable, where some formidable feature, such as a large tree, makes some deviation from the straight line necessary.
On properties where the residence is located not less than seventy feet from the front line, which distance is essential to give a proper turning space for cars with a large wheel-base, an entrance (Fig 28). may be placed on the axis of the house and the drive constructed to a true circle. This is a particularly appropriate arrangement for houses of classic design.
Fig. 24. - Plan showing the walk to service end of house somewhat removed from the house. - See page 33.
On narrow ways the entrance posts should set well back (Fig. 29) to afford an easy turn into the property. The piers defining an entrance should always be set at right angles to the roadway and where the entrance is at an angle, the fence or enclosing material, be it hedge or wall, should extend by a graceful curve to the piers. A more pleasing and comfortable approach will be provided by keeping the fence two to four feet back from the pier, and finishing against the pier at a right angle, rather than finishing directly to the center of the face of the pier toward the highway.
The question of width and grade of approaches is of vital importance. If the elevation from the highway to the residence be great, the ascent should be as gradual as practicable, crossing the contours at the greatest possible angle. To cross a contour at a right angle gives the steepest grade and is to be avoided. When laying off the drive, set the dividers with twenty-five or fifty feet between the points and run around the contour map along a possible line of ascent, figuring out the maximum of grade desired. A six per cent, grade, that is, a rise of six feet in every one hundred feet of drive, is an ideal grade. A ten per cent, grade, i.e., a rise of ten feet in every one hundred feet of drive, should be the maximum. A line in between these two should be established. In mountainous countries, of course, it is often necessary to establish a twelve to fifteen per cent, grade.
Fig 25. - Plan showing arrangement of the approach where the house sets too far back to be reached by a single arc of a circle, and a reverse is necessary. - See page 33.
Fig. 26. - Plan showing arrangement for a corner entrance. - See page 33.
Fig. 26A. - Good arrangement of corner entrance. - See page 33.
Fig. 27. - Here is an arrangement of drive adopted to save the large Maple seen in foreground. Had it not been for the tree a straight drive would have been advisable. - See page 34.
Fig. 28. - Entrance on axis of house, with drive constructed to a true circle. - See page 35.
On adjoining properties (Fig. 30) it is possible at times to have a party drive and turn, allowing an entrance to both properties from two streets, thereby affording a maximum of convenience with economy of space.
In contracted spaces, where houses are close together (Fig. 31), party drives are preferable to having two driveways paralleling each other, and where it is only necessary to provide for motor cars, two tracks constructed of cement are to be preferred to a driveway.
Fig. 29. - Entrance posts set back with hedge or wall finishing at a right angle to the pier. - See page 35.
Given a house on a higher level than the street, and only a short distance from pavement to house line, an arrangement of approach steps as shown in Fig. 32 will lengthen the walk, allowing it to come out to the lot line; in such a case the grass slopes on each side can still be maintained.
Where the house is located on a level higher than the street level but near the same, it will add to the interest, and picturesqueness as well, if the approach is placed at one side, as shown in Fig. 33. The terrace level here is eight feet above the pavement, and the approach is arranged in four flights of steps. The belt planting gives privacy and the approach is planned so that it does not interfere with this feature.
The drive turns (Figs. 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38), which are usually provided at the rear or side of the house, were quite roomy in former days with a diameter of fifty feet. The coming of the automobile has made it necessary to provide a diameter of seventy feet.
The elliptical or egg-shaped turn is more desirable than the true circle. This allows of a rather flat side next to the house so that a waiting vehicle will be standing in the proper position. This is not possible on a turn that is part of the arc of a circle.
When crossing a stream where a bridge is required (Fig. 39) it is advisable to cross at a right angle to the stream so that the wing walls may be built symmetrically.
Fig. 30. - On adjoining properties it is often possible to arrange for a party drive and turn. In this instance it not only conserves the space but gives access to both properties from two side streets. - See page 38.
Fig. 31. - In this view is shown a simple, practical solution of a driveway in a contracted space. This is centered on the party line and the semi-detached garages in the rear are easily accessible with ample turning space in front of them. An improvement here would have been to have two cement tracks, with grass between, rather than the entire driveway of cement. A little planting would relieve the harshness of the scene. - See pages 38, 39.
Fig. 32. - Plan showing entrance arrangement for house situated higher than the street level but quite near the same. Such an arrangement allows the walk to extend to the lot line, thus lengthening the walk and still maintaining the slopes on either side..
The figures in plan refer to the number of risers. - See page 39.
Fig. 33. - Entrance arrangement for house on a level just slightly higher than the pavement. - See page 39.