The family car to most people is a significant purchase. They are washed, vacuumed and insured as a method to maintain its worth.
When driving or parking, care is taken to avoid accidents and scratches.
However it is interesting to see people parking under trees that drop heavy fruit, sap staining leaves and limb dropping trees. Additionally poorly designed and landscaped driveways often result in dints and scratches.
A driveway should not restrict the natural movement of a car. Curved driveways should be arched to facilitate the turning circle of the average family car. In fact it is better to be on the generous side and make the arch much larger.
Additionally, constructions such as retainer walls should be well back from the edge of the driveway. Too often cars are damaged by awkward driveways navigating steep driveways. Ideally any permanent raised structures should be at least 50cm away from the edge of the driving surface.
In cases where the existing driveway is precarious, the best option may actually be to destroy one of the retainer walls and reconstruct it with more space provided for vehicle traffic.
Of course, correct construction of the driveway when it was first built would have foreseen these problems and adapted accordingly.
Steep driveways should be finished with a non-slip surface to guarantee traction in all weather conditions.
Driveway edges should not be overlooked. Gravel, grass and other low spreading plants up to a width of 50cm provide a buffer or ‘extended driveway’ zone. As people sometimes misjudge the edge of driveways or disembark from the vehicle along the driveway as opposed to the designated drop off location, these ‘extended driveways’ are convenient and great safety nets.
Plants are frequently overlooked near driveways, however their scratch marks are not. It is advisable that only soft foliage plants be placed near driveways.
Features of good plants near driveways and carparks are that they:
* need to be resilient in case they are driven over
* need to have no brittle woody stems
* need to have no thorns, spikes or spurs
* do not spread out to hinder car traffic
* do not drop excessive leaves or fruit causing slip or stains on the driveway
Plants near carparks and driveways should also be resilient to pollutants.
Great soft plants near the driveway include:-
Lomandra – dwarf forms
Storm lilies, agapanthus and other warm climate bulbs
Plants to avoid when parking under:-
Mangoes and bunya pines
Article written by Paul Plant FAIH, freelance horticultural and landscape writer.