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I am considering buying a house but am put off by lack of garden and massive amount of space taken up with a driveway. my question is can a large section of the tarmac be lifted?
I would then be looking to cover with soil and lawn. can the remaining tarmac drive be rekerbed??
Should you feel it necessary to decrease the size of your driveway, you must ensure that, at a minimum, it remains large enough not only for your car, but also to allow for the opening of the car doors and walking easily past the parked vehicle.
In the case of reducing the area of a tarmacadam driveway, the unwanted area should be separated, by cutting the pertinent line with a diamond bladed saw and excavating all waste material including surface wearing course, base coat and sub-base material. The remaining hard-standing must be retained with raised kerbs, flush path edging or brick-work bedded on and haunched with 1:3:6 mix concrete. This procedure is not ideal, but is the most viable alternative to installing a new smaller driveway.
Modifying a front garden can be extremely hard work, both in design and construction. It will often need to be a complementary setting for the house; a combination of both hard and soft landscaping coming together to create an attractive viable space comprising driveway, pathway, lawn and garden beds.
Firstly, you will need a clearly defined path to the front door. Select a material that is safe underfoot, and complements the house and its surroundings. Gravel looks good in a country setting, whilst a brick path suits a brick house. Make the path at least 1m wide, and install lighting for safety at night.
Also it is important to design an arrival area at the front door. This should be a space that is wider than the path, adding importance to your entrance. Create a welcoming atmosphere, with attractive planting in pots or borders and a light, so you can see who is outside in the dark.
A beautiful green sward is everyone’s dream. However, owing to lack of sunlight, exposed ground, clay based areas, pollution, pets, children and general heavy usage, it is not always possible to maintain the one hundred per cent perfect lawn. Needless to say, in most front gardens, an acceptable lawn can be created and easily kept in good condition.
Plants will soften the space and link the house with the garden. If you're looking for low maintenance, use plants which will not grow higher than the windows next to the house. Evergreens like hebes are a good option. They are of interest throughout the year, and their rounded shape anchors the house to the ground. Additionally, it is advisable to include some scented plants, to enhance the welcoming atmosphere. Sarcococca and Daphne bloom in the winter, and have powerful scents to greet you on a gloomy day. Finally, if you are using climbers, make sure the flowering plant's appearance complements the colour and texture of the house walls.
The front garden is the first thing that visitors see, and you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Take time to design and construct your front garden and you will enjoy the results every time you step out of the door.
Answered 21st Nov 2011
When I worked in Germany and Switzerland it was very common for us to dig up tarmac around mature trees in urban areas and replace the soil substrate with more appropriate material in order to create more green space and more suitable living spaces for the trees. It is similar with areas surrounding houses. If utilising heavy machinery to dig up the tarmac and sub base just ensure that no utilities are likely to be affected by the works. The work can be done by breaking up the tarmac and hand digging if the area is relatively small and this is less likely to impact upon utilities. Depending on the area involved this can be costly as, not only will you have to "recycle" the existing tarmac and sub base, but you will also have to bring in fresh substrate, create a proper edge to the remaining tarmac and landscape the area. Hope it goes well. Its great to create new green space!
Answered 22nd Nov 2011
Hi, any type of surfaced driveway can be changed/resurfaced and or taken back to install soil borders, grass etc.
A tarmac drive can be cut into and edged with a variety of product now sold.
Be aware before any digging where depth is involved on any property that yourself or your contractor have surveyed the work area and have located (if any) underground pipework/gas/water or in some cases electrical supply into the property.
Breaking through or damaging the above can lead to large call out or repair costs.
(not to panic you) But early location of these can lead you to a final design of your garden without disturbing any at all.
I hope this helps.
Answered 15th Nov 2011