Turn Part Of Drive Into A Patio? Advise, Please!

Posted:
in AppleOutsider edited January 2014
Hi all.



I've spent a big chunk of the summer tearing out a 30' long section of my driveway that runs along the side of my house. The driveway is narrow and is really too small for a car to use without it being a PITA. The driveway ends in a garage that is "finished" (i.e. it was built to be an office), so it's not really a garage. It has never had a car in it.



I pulled this part of the driveway out because it had cracked lengthwise and shifted, and so when water hit it, it poured toward the house. The result was that the water eroded a sizeable hole underneath our side-door stoop, and that it usually made its way into our basement. All of this, really, began as an effort to solve that problem.



I have all the concrete removed, although I've left a little as filler to raise up the eroded area.



Now, when I began this project, I was simply going to put concrete back in. But the more I think about it, the more I want to put in a 4' wide concrete sidewalk (because we need to shovel snow) along the side of the house leading to the back yard and then, in the 8' section of what used to be driveway, put down pea stone with flagstone on top of it, put up a fence, and basically turn the side of our house into a patio.



Does anyone have any thoughts about this? I ask because my neighbor thinks it's a horrible idea to lose my approach to the driveway and that I should just pour concrete like everyone else. I think that if I do that, I give up potentially liveable and interesting space on the side of my house.



Should I be worried about drainage if I do this? I can certainly build in some kind of small guttering when I pour the sidewalk.



If anyone has any advice or thoughts, I'd appreciate it.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    dmzdmz Posts: 5,775member
    Pea gravel makes me cringe, I don't know if you have young kids, but it would probably take all of 15 minutes to start tracking it everywhere. (unless you mean to cover it completely)



    Is it a side of the house with afternoon sunshine? (or you may want shade, you guys get pretty warm.)



    Also, do you have gutters on your house? That might solve a lot of problems. I have an attached garage, and didn't want the water from the back gutter dumped on the back corner, by the back door. I had a long section of downspout installed on an incline from the back to the front, so that all the water is dumped into the driveway, and then out into the street.
  • Reply 2 of 26
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dmz View Post


    Pea gravel makes me cringe, I don't know if you have young kids, but it would probably take all of 15 minutes to start tracking it everywhere. (unless you mean to cover it completely)



    No kids. No plans for kids. I'm talking about packing it pretty tightly with flagstone, too, so it would essentially be like a driveway.



    Quote:

    Is it a side of the house with afternoon sunshine? (or you may want shade, you guys get pretty warm.)



    It's south facing, but the climate here in Utah is such that by about 7:30, it's nice outside.



    Quote:

    Also, do you have gutters on your house? That might solve a lot of problems. I have an attached garage, and didn't want the water from the back gutter dumped on the back corner, by the back door. I had a long section of downspout installed on an incline from the back to the front, so that all the water is dumped into the driveway, and then out into the street.



    Part of the issue with the old driveway was indeed bad, bad, bad guttering. I'm going to fix that (routing the offending gutter elsewhere through maybe a french drain, since I've got the driveway torn out and can just dig a trench. Hell, at the moment, I'm just considering having the gutter pour into a drain, then run PVC underground and out to the edge of the drive (we are on a slight slope).
  • Reply 3 of 26
    shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midwinter View Post


    If anyone has any advice or thoughts, I'd appreciate it.



    Don't mess up.



  • Reply 4 of 26
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,458member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midwinter View Post


    Hi all.



    I've spent a big chunk of the summer tearing out a 30' long section of my driveway that runs along the side of my house. The driveway is narrow and is really too small for a car to use without it being a PITA. The driveway ends in a garage that is "finished" (i.e. it was built to be an office), so it's not really a garage. It has never had a car in it..



    First the obligatory cheapshot. Dude a 12 ft driveway is plenty wide. I could back a truck and trailer into that space no problem.



    Something I would check into is the city requirements on garages and parking. I know you haven't thought much on permit issues, but it could become a problem in the future if you ever choose to sell the home in the future. In our town a lot of garages became "finished" and suddenly it started become an issue at title time.



    Quote:

    Now, when I began this project, I was simply going to put concrete back in. But the more I think about it, the more I want to put in a 4' wide concrete sidewalk (because we need to shovel snow) along the side of the house leading to the back yard and then, in the 8' section of what used to be driveway, put down pea stone with flagstone on top of it, put up a fence, and basically turn the side of our house into a patio.



    I would make the fence a large gate instead. Also check your title. Often times there are easement issues that, even though it is your property, demand access to certain easements that run across it for city or county services. For example at one of my properties, the poles for electrical, cable, etc. were actually run on poles at the rear of all the properties. This meant that access to those poles was mandated via an easement access on the property.



    Why gravel instead of concrete? Also they have very cool paving stones that can make cool designs and they also have concrete molds and dyes. You can do some pretty cool and interesting stuff with concrete nowadays. They sell kits where you can make it look like pavers, stones, etc.
  • Reply 5 of 26
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by trumptman View Post


    First the obligatory cheapshot. Dude a 12 ft driveway is plenty wide. I could back a truck and trailer into that space no problem.



    You know, I haven't actually measured it. I looks about 10-12 feet. The issue is that there is a stoop and a window well on one side and a big flowerbed/planter on the other side that eat into it, and so when I park my Tacoma in it, I can only open the door on one side.



    Quote:

    Something I would check into is the city requirements on garages and parking. I know you haven't thought much on permit issues, but it could become a problem in the future if you ever choose to sell the home in the future. In our town a lot of garages became "finished" and suddenly it started become an issue at title time.



    See below.



    Quote:

    I would make the fence a large gate instead. Also check your title. Often times there are easement issues that, even though it is your property, demand access to certain easements that run across it for city or county services. For example at one of my properties, the poles for electrical, cable, etc. were actually run on poles at the rear of all the properties. This meant that access to those poles was mandated via an easement access on the property.



    That's actually what I'm planning and just mis-spoke. I'll do a double-door gate that will allow complete access to the area by vehicle. As I've said, my plan is to just make a different kind of driveway, so I'm not actually changing anything other than what is covering the ground. So SCREW THE CITY!



    Actually, we have no plans to sell the house or move or change jobs (finding another situation like we have would be very difficult), and my thinking is that something happened and we had to sell the house, I could just put in concrete then. It would really only be about $400 worth of mud, and I could do it in a few days.



    Quote:

    Why gravel instead of concrete? Also they have very cool paving stones that can make cool designs and they also have concrete molds and dyes. You can do some pretty cool and interesting stuff with concrete nowadays. They sell kits where you can make it look like pavers, stones, etc.



    I've been poking around on that lately. Part of why I want gravel and stone is drainage. I don't want to have to worry about the concrete cracking/shifting and shunting water down the side of my house (again), and in my gut, I seem to think that stone and gravel will drain nicely and not get into the house. Do you have any experience with anything like this, Nick? Any of your houses have gravel vs concrete driveways butting up against them?
  • Reply 6 of 26
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,458member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midwinter View Post


    You know, I haven't actually measured it. I looks about 10-12 feet. The issue is that there is a stoop and a window well on one side and a big flowerbed/planter on the other side that eat into it, and so when I park my Tacoma in it, I can only open the door on one side.



    Yeah, yeah, yeah...



    Quote:

    I've been poking around on that lately. Part of why I want gravel and stone is drainage. I don't want to have to worry about the concrete cracking/shifting and shunting water down the side of my house (again), and in my gut, I seem to think that stone and gravel will drain nicely and not get into the house. Do you have any experience with anything like this, Nick? Any of your houses have gravel vs concrete driveways butting up against them?



    Everything in California is generally on a slab. I have one home where the original attached garage was finished and a second newer garage was built on the side. I don't think we get enough rain to even discover such issues with drainage as you would have. I do know that they are much more careful about the size of concrete slabs and they tend to be much better about giving some seams for expansion both in the stucco and the concrete. As an example most two-three car garages from 10-15 years ago were just one big slab. Now they would have a few joints to allow for expansion. Again the codes are different from place to place. You should be able to ask the city for such requirements even when not pulling a permit.



    If I were going to pour any concrete though, I would look into the forms that can be used to shape it into cobblestones or things of that nature. Then you would have the best of both worlds. If colored right it would probably raise the value of the home.
  • Reply 7 of 26
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,074member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midwinter View Post


    I don't want to have to worry about the concrete cracking/shifting and shunting water down the side of my house (again), and in my gut, I seem to think that stone and gravel will drain nicely and not get into the house.



    Did the old concrete have gravel under it? If not, that might be why it cracked - I think that you are supposed to have a good bed of gravel under a concrete pad, and some kind of drainage route for the water to run (like a french drain).
  • Reply 8 of 26
    dmzdmz Posts: 5,775member
    Hold on there, midwinter, if you've got snow in the winter, don't you have to be really careful about the ground [read:any sort of drain] freezing?



    You could conceivably fool around and create a magnificent frost heave.
  • Reply 9 of 26
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by trumptman View Post


    If I were going to pour any concrete though, I would look into the forms that can be used to shape it into cobblestones or things of that nature. Then you would have the best of both worlds. If colored right it would probably raise the value of the home.



    That's what I've been thinking about today. The planter is a big rock wall, and that theme is continued in the back. I'd like to have a driveway that complemented that.
  • Reply 10 of 26
    fellowshipfellowship Posts: 5,038member
    Mid put up a pic so we can see the canvas we are working with here.



    Fellows
  • Reply 11 of 26
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    From the front:







    From the back:







    All concrete is gone up to the entrance of the garage. All the rubble is gone now. I'll take another pic in the morning to give you a better sense of what it looks like.



    PS:



    Ignore the ghetto looking stoop. I put some Saltillo tile on it last year just to see what it was like to work with, and let's just say that it didn't deal well with record snowfall.



    PPS:



    Also ignore the horrifically overgrown planter. It's getting dug out and redone. Some moron planted vinca in it, which I'm determined to kill.
  • Reply 12 of 26
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    This is sort of what I'm hoping it'll look like. The brown will be flagstone.



  • Reply 13 of 26
    shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    Fake!
  • Reply 14 of 26
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
  • Reply 15 of 26
    dmzdmz Posts: 5,775member
    So above that run is the eaves -- you're dumping all that water there? Also, that second opening past the door, is that an escapement window for your basement?
  • Reply 16 of 26
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dmz View Post


    So above that run is the eaves -- you're dumping all that water there? Also, that second opening past the door, is that an escapement window for your basement?



    I'm not sure what you're seeing, but the only relevant water dumping place is the little green tube on the view from the front. That's the one I'm going to run to the front of the house.



    And yeah, what you're seeing is a window well.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    fellowshipfellowship Posts: 5,038member
    Ok I have made my mind up as to what you should do



    Prepare to have the following poured, moulded / stamped, stained and sealed.



    It is just BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!











    Fellows
  • Reply 18 of 26
    fellowshipfellowship Posts: 5,038member
    Once the new concrete is in place (see above post) you can move on to other amenities which will make your new outdoor space a true luxurious space.



    Just for your viewing pleasure consider some variation of the following:







    and







    You get the idea, now as Tim Gunn would say... "Make It Work!" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojqvSCgLKZQ



    Fellows
  • Reply 19 of 26
    dmzdmz Posts: 5,775member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Fellowship View Post


    Ok I have made my mind up as to what you should do



    Prepare to have the following poured, moulded / stamped, stained and sealed.



    It is just BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!







    I never thought I could feel that way about concrete.





    Hell, midwinter, put the right, slight, grade on that -- you'd be all set.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    Personally, I like the flagstone idea better ... much nicer, and when/if frost heave becomes a problem, it can be re-set with one weekends worth of effort. (Figure every 4-5 years you might have to do this?... and then it'll look brand-new again!)



    Put a gutter between those two areas and fill it with golf-ball sized stones to make it level with the rest of the "patio" but it will still work as a drainage path for water (assuming it's graded properly.)



    I just prefer something a little "nicer" than concrete myself.
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