Renovation Detail: The Ribbon Driveway

This week my husband and I will be presenting our ribbon driveway plans to our township zoning board. This timeless driveway layout includes green grass running between two parallel strips of pavement. Dating back to the 1920s, the layout was created before the days of paving. After extended periods of parking the vehicle ruts shaped, leaving only a patch of grass down the center. Eventually the ruts were filled in with concrete, and the ribbon driveway was created.

Nowadays the layout is making a comeback because of its environmental advantages and nostalgic appeal. Environmentalists are drawn to the layout for many reasons: It demands less impervious substance, features added greenery and means much less water runoff.

In Fullerton, California, the town’s preservation principles say that citizens are invited to have a ribbon drive to break up the expanse of paving and to provide increased landscaping. I enjoy the way you think, Fullerton!

HartmanBaldwin Design/Build

Ribbon drives have the capacity to shape to property limitations, natural obstacles or homes, as shown here.

Madson Design

With individual concrete pads, this modern spin on the ribbon drive has an increased amount of green space and eases water drainage.

Gast Architects

Rather than the standard concrete and grass ribbon, this California drive includes pavers, slate and greenery in a grid layout.

Brooks Ballard

This house’s driveway pays homage to the ribbon’s Craftsman roots. Additional historical characteristics include the house’s gable dormer, brick porch pedestals and prairie-style window muntins.

Without the landscaped portion of this ribbon drive, water runoff would be a major concern for all these property owners. However, the grass aids in relieving water toward the home.

Engineered green grass is great for climates that do not need snow removal, such as this La Jolla, California, home.

Avondale Custom Homes

Encouraged by The Beatles, I can’t help but inhale “the long and winding ribbon” while admiring this drive.

FGY Architects

Opening up onto a carport and parking pad, the landscaped center portion of this ribbon driveway breaks up what would otherwise be a large, impervious area.

Brooks Ballard

Leading to a two-car garage, this ribbon drive includes extensive landscaping, an environmental plus.

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