A Circular Driveway Landscape Design

Got a circular driveway? Don’t let this prime island of space go to waste.  Showcase a WaterSaver landscape!

A circular driveway is a great location for showcasing your WaterSaver landscape. Often this prime island of space is wasted; with the exposed location surrounded by asphalt, adding a grove of trees is a way to define space and provide shade for visitors and vehicles.

Sweeping curves add natural interest and help define the limits of the project. Instead of spending time and money installing metal edges and borders, just add mulch or other topdressings over the entire site, all the way out to the existing drive and/or curb.

A typical circular drive encompasses a lot of square footage. The SAWS WaterSaver coupons are designed for 200 square feet, but by combining the larger plant material it can be spaced over a larger area; in this case, 1600 square feet. In this example, a hedge of fast-growing Texas sage is paired with four mountain laurels — tough specimens that can endure the reflected heat of nearby pavement. Existing plant material (like mesquites) have been retained.

This leaves plenty of room for specimen plants and accents. But instead of a mixed border or small perennials, here the designers have opted for fairly open plan with well-spaced large native plants — open enough to walk through. They’ve accomplished year-round visual interest, without the worry of cutting back perennials. A trip to the mailbox provides a pleasant walk through a scene right out of the Texas Hill Country.

Plant your small tees in the fall  and use the WaterSaver Landscape coupon for small trees, its companion plants help provide contrast for the little leaves of many xeric natives. In the sun, century agaves provide classic shape and big evergreen scale; in the shade, sago palm, yucca and beargrass provide the same strong geometry under an existing mesquite, taking advantage of one of the site’s micro-climates. A line of rosemary trails along the inner curve of the driveway.

Picture of Brad Wier
Brad Wier
Brad Wier is a SAWS conservation planner. Years in South Texas landscaping and public horticulture gave him a lasting enthusiasm for native plants that don’t die when sprinklers -- and gardeners -- break down. He’d rather save time and water for kayaking and tubing. He is a former kilt model, and hears hummingbirds.
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