The Old Fashioned Concrete Driveway

Hardscape · Written by Roger

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Do you remember the old concrete driveway that had two bands of concrete and a strip of grass in between? They’re not the most practical, but have a certain charm and nostalgia about them.

This would be the style our homeowner would like for a newly constructed garage for vintage cars. This new driveway would be the second on the property. The main driveway for the house is asphalt and leads to a garage on the left hand side.

The final line design was established by creating a center line that the cars would follow to the garage.  By calculating the average tire span on the cars we could determine the appropriate spacing and width for the two concrete bands.

With the line design for the new drive mapped out in chalk (it’s actually granulated lime), the areas were excavated for the gravel base. All the site-work and concrete driveway preparation was done by Dave Kennedy, one of the contributors here on LA.com.

The height and grade of the two concrete bands were critical and were preset with grade stakes and string lines. PVC sleeves for irrigation and lighting were installed beneath the base work.

At this point in the project all heavy work involving machinery was complete and all that remained was hand work. It was time for the masons to do their thing.

Using our grade stakes, string lines and markings, the masons built wood forms.  Steel reinforcement rod was then cut and installed over the gravel base.  Six inches of concrete followed.

We anticipated the new concrete would visually stand out in the beginning, but were confident that over time it would weather and have an older look.

The homeowner likes the fact that the concrete driveway with its grass strip in between helps distinguish it from the main driveway. It does look less prominent than the main asphalt drive so people are less likely to mistake it as the primary one.

Although the concrete bands were designed with plenty of room to drive on, it does take a little getting used to. Already the homeowner drives up and down like it’s been there for ages – just as they did years ago when these driveways were common.


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