Mind the gap

Project Overview

Access to your front door, garage and other access areas to a property should always be efficient and aesthetically pleasant at the least.

This project gave us plenty of food for thought regarding the above statement. We were asked to provide improved access to the side of the property and lower elevation of back yard. That was the easy part. The real challenge was to provide a new, durable and attractive driveway access to their walking path and garage door. 

The current drive was cracked and uneven asphalt. The surface was also several inches lower than the new garage requiring a makeshift ramp in order to get their vehicle in and out. This was accompanied by the property being located perpendicular to a steep hill with four different elevations to blend a seamlessly as possible.

Project Details

  • Water run off must be managed due to natural grade running into garage.
  • Signature look that compliments the property.
  • Ease of snow removal a must.
  • Project budget: $20,000 – $30,000

After years of structural issues with the carport and an eroding driveway. Our client was loving their new enclosed garage and was looking forward to the final piece of the puzzle.

Worn out drive
The old drive - worn out and ready for renewal
Cracks and uneven tarmac
Cracked, uneven and getting worse every year.
A ramp to access the garage
The drive, was several inches too low, and required a ramp to get the vehicle into the garage
Pulling up the surface
Making ready for the new subsurface
Leveling the base
Ironing out the bumps to ensure a perfect surface for the bricks
Laying the paving stones
A beautiful surface that can withstand the local winters
Finished Project
A drive the owners can be proud of
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Meeting in the middle

The most complicated part of this project was dealing with the 4 elevation changes at each corner of the driveway. We have a set elevation at the entrance of the garage and a sloped set elevation at the streets sidewalk curb. A considerable difference of 5.5 inches on one side and 11 inches on the other. What ever finish we used we would have to create to comfortable walking and driving transition from slope to level grade. This confluence was achieved by excavating ample material from then area and replacing with firmly compacted sub surface material to distribute the elevations as gently as possible.

Key Design Features

All about the base

The longevity of any driveway surface weather finished with Concrete, Paving stones or even gravel depends on the subgrade being flat and compacted enough to endure the repetitive pressure of vehicle weight, ground water and the temperature swing we considerably see in the climate we live in. The base is as is important as the final finish.

The surface choice

After discussing the issues with the current asphalt which ultimately came down to the inefficient sub base it was decided that something with a little more visual appeal would be preferred to new blacktop being placed.
This gave us 2 obvious options, concrete, or paving stone. Both open many doors with what’s available on the market today. We are spoilt for choice in finish and surface texture for either concrete or stone.
Concrete can be dyed to many colors and the process of finishing can provide an exposed aggregate and other texture throughout or in specified areas of the pad through sweeping techniques or stamps.
Paving Stones also come in a vast range of sizes, colors and textures. All the way down to permeable options for areas that see high levels of water flow that need managing.
After discussing options and reviewing concept drawings we decided to go the paving stone route. The main driver for this decision was a particular pattern and colour picked from a shortlist. This option also came in at a lower cost to other pavers and any concrete placement.

Surrounding access and drainage

After the construction of the new garage the surrounding area was left to settle and required finishing. Taking into consideration the finished landscaping of the rest of the property used locally sourced stone slab steps and flag stones to create a path from the new driveway to the lower elevations of the rear of the property which would see heavy use in the Spring, Summer and Fall.

Below the surface of the new path lay the drain pipe that caries the driveway surface water collected at the entrance via the storm drain. This pipe daylights at a safe distance away from the building foundation and to the side of any foot traffic.

An Alternative to Grass

Once the new path was in place the ground needed to be covered. Our client had seen a product that attracted their attention due to its low maintenance and flowering pasture appearance. The product was Bee Turf. Produced by West Coat Seed in Vancouver. The product is a slow growing lawn alternative that produces a pasture appearance with Sheep Fescue, Western Yarrow. Microclover, Baby Blue Eyes, Sweet Alyssu,, English Daisy, Roman Chamomile and Perennial Ryegrass. We paired this seed with West Coasts Enviro lawn mix which produces even more small colorful flower.

Our client is a keen gardener and will see the benefits of providing pollinators like bees and butterflies with these attractors close to their garden beds. This lawn alternative only grows to around 5 inches and can be mowed as little or less than once a month.

“Blue Spruce Landscaping crew work very hard to have this project finished in a timely fashion and the driveway and walkway to the back garden are absolutely stunning! ”

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