505-238-7678  david@abqbuilder.com

Custom Driveway Lay-Out

Rarely do we have the opportunity to do a straight and level driveway that simply runs from the street to the garage.  I suppose that really the only thing that I can attribute this to is that as a Custom Builder, my clients do not generally have flat, square lots.  I must admit though, part of the joy of building comes from the challenges of building one-of-a-kind homes.

As you can see in our video, we essentially have three drainage planes on the driveway, as well as four canales that drop water into the sidewalk area between the outside wall of the garage and the retaining wall.

One of the things that we have working in our favor on this site is that the crest of the driveway is nine inches above the bottom of the street gutter, so it is very unlikely that we would ever accept water from the street onto the driveway.  However, the drive does slope downward to the garage door and the client wanted to have a turn-around area for getting out of the driveway as well as for guest parking.  This turn-around area had to be created above the elevation of the garage door and below the elevation of the crest of the driveway, and it has two planes of slope on it.

One of the things that we always do is create a three-quarter inch door pocket for the garage door and this not only serves to prevent driving rains from entering the garage, but it also serves to prevent any potential standing water from entering the garage as well.   Additionally, we always slope the driveway away from the garage door opening itself, typically at ¼ inch per foot for three to four feet.

In studying the lay-out of this particular driveway, we determined that a four-inch wide grate drain would provide the greatest assurance that we would never have issues draining water off of the driveway and/or any issues with standing water anywhere near the garage door itself.

We installed the drain to capture water from in front of the garage door and then divert it around the garage and down the sidewalk along the exterior of the garage itself.  The edges of the sidewalk slope  ½  inch to the grate drain, which we centered in the sidewalk.

Additionally, there are four canales that will drop a significant amount of water onto the sidewalk and we needed to be sure that this water would be properly captured and diverted as well, thus we ran a slope in our drain of ¼ inch per foot.

Prior to building the retaining walls, we installed about seven four-inch drain pipes at the base of our retaining wall, at strategic locations, yet above the retaining wall footing.  Due to this drain pipe installation, we have more than enough pipes available and already in place that we can use to divert water to our ponding areas.

In this instance, we will connect one of our “pre-installed” drain pipes to the end of our channel drain and we will easily be able to capture and divert all of the water from our driveway, as well as the water from the four canales.

Water capture, diversion and control is really not that difficult, as long as the specific site considerations are taken into account prior to the commencement of construction.  The four-inch drain pipes that we strategically placed in our retaining wall were really the simplest thing that could have been done to ensure proper water control upon completion of the home.

Forethought.  It is required in every aspect of a Custom Home.

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