Going The Distance—The Do's And Don't's Of Landscaping A Long Driveway

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Living in the country—or even near it—can come with some unique landscaping and design challenges. One such challenge may be a long driveway. While many homeowners enjoy the privacy and space afforded by a long drive, it can be daunting to figure out how to complement it with the right landscaping. Here are 4 do's and don'ts to help you along. 

Don't Crowd It. When planning what to place around your driveway, keep in mind that it may get a lot of traffic—both car and foot wear. Keep plants and flowers at least a foot away and trees 5 feet away from the concrete or driveway edging. Make sure any circles or curves in the drive itself have plenty of turning radius so cars don't end up driving on the landscaping. 

Do Consider the View. How much privacy you want for your driveway will be one of the biggest deciding factors in many landscaping choices, so be sure of your needs and wants early on. If you have a good view, keep landscaping to a low height—perhaps shrubs or flowers no more than 2 or 3 feet tall. If, on the other hand, you are seeking privacy, evergreen hedges or small trees (including colorful species like the festive fringe tree or a crepe myrtle) are a good choice. 

Don't Mismatch it. While you are focusing on the driveway as a separate area, be sure to keep it in sync with the rest of the yard. If your yard has a casual, fun vibe to it, don't make the driveway stick out like a sore thumb by lining it with formal hedges, stone walls and classical sculptures. Instead, have some fun with wildflowers, colorful trees or eclectic lawn ornaments. Try to create some harmony as well by continuing themes from the rest of the yard, planting similar flowers and using the same type of hardscaping materials. 

Do Protect Cars and People. When choosing what to place around the drive, think about the good of those using it as well as beauty. Avoid trees that might damage cars with falling fruit, sap or large seed pods. Keep the pavement in good shape by choosing trees without aggressive root structures. And be sure to keep plants well away from parking areas where they could be trampled by opened car doors, pedestrians or people exiting the cars. 

Finding the right landscaping border to complement your driveway is an opportunity to bring the entire yard together harmoniously and give guests the best impression from their arrival. And if you make your landscaping choices by considering both beauty and practicalities, the result will be an entrance you can enjoy for years to come.