Front Sidewalk Design: Straight Or Curved?

The carport is finished! Well, not really. The contractor’s portion of the carport is finished. What’s left is up to me, and that includes all of the caulking and painting, among other things. But the contractor is coming over today just to be sure that everything is truly finished, and that there aren’t any little details that were overlooked.

While he’s here, we intend to talk over a couple of future projects — the driveway and the front sidewalk that goes from the street to the front porch. And that means that by now, I should have already decided exactly what I want. But in true Kristi fashion, I’ve changed my mind about a thousand times, and I still remain unsure and afraid to commit. We are, after all, talking about concrete. Once it’s down, there’s no changing it.

The driveway has been decided. It has to be curved because there’s no other option. In order to get from the existing entrance at the street, around the pecan tree, over to the side of the studio, and around to the back of the house, it has to be curved.

I don’t have a current picture of the front of the house showing the driveway entrance and the whole side of the studio (I’ll work on getting better pics soon), so this old picture taken while the new siding was being installed will have to do. But you can see what I mean about the driveway entrance, the pecan tree on the right. That driveway is going to be very curvy.

But what I’m unsure about is the front sidewalk. Part of me wants it curved since the driveway is going to be curved. But part of me wants to keep it straight, just like it is now, to serve as a juxtaposition to the really curvy driveway.

When I build the new front steps (which I can’t do until the new sidewalk has been poured), I plan to widen them considerably so that the extend past the columns that flank the front door.

And then the handrails will extend directly from those columns. So if I keep the sidewalk straight from the door to the street, I would have to widen the part at the porch considerably, and then curve it in and narrow it to the sidewalk width. That would look something like this, where it’s wide at the steps and then curves in and narrows to the sidewalk…

If I go this route, I do plan to widen the entire sidewalk just a bit, but I can’t widen it too much because I don’t want to take the risk of getting too close to my huge oak tree in the front yard. But I do think it can be widened about six inches on each side.

The other option would be to curve the entire thing, making it more natural and organic in shape. This one is a little too curvy and swoopy for my taste, but you get the point…

If I went with the curvy option, I’d have the sidewalk meet the street on the right side of the mailbox, whereas now, it’s on the left side of the mailbox.

So I just don’t know. Each option has qualities that I like. I like things to be orderly, symmetrical, polished, pressed, tailored, etc. The straight sidewalk fits into my need for those things. And yet, I also like things that are whimsical, fun, and relaxed, so a curved sidewalk would fit that bill. And I do think that the shape of a sidewalk affects the overall look of a house. A curvy one looks more relaxed and cottage-like, where a straight one has a more formal look to it. So do I want cottage, or do I want formal?

*Sigh* If only I knew. 🙂

What I do know for certain is that I want to include a connecting sidewalk between the front sidewalk and the driveway.

What I also know is that I want both the sidewalk and the driveway to be 100% concrete (as in, no stone/concrete mixture, no concrete driveway with a stone sidewalk). And I want the concrete to all have a rock salt finish on it. My bonus sister’s new house in the Dallas area has a rock salt finish on the sidewalk and the driveway, and I absolutely love how it looks.

So at least three decision are made regarding this massive amount of concrete — the driveway must be curved, the driveway and front sidewalk will be connected with a sidewalk, and I want a rock salt finish.

But what about that front sidewalk shape? I’m stumped.



Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I like the symmetry of the straight sidewalk to the street, and then a curved sidewalk to the driveway. The curve will allow for some curvy landscaping which will accentuate the straight lines of the house.

    1. I agree completely. Curvy front walk to road takes focus off of the beautiful entry/door. I don’t like that!

    2. Yes. You already have a curved driveway, might as well go with a straight sidewalk. It seems like it reflects your home, too–casual ranch on the outside, formal inside. Better have straight and curvy!

  2. Print out a photo of the front of your house and throw some trace paper over it to explore the different options! I think that a curvy sidewalk would be a nice contrast to the linear ranch-ness of your house, but it’s hard to picture both a curved sidewalk and driveway. Maybe a straight sidewalk, and use mulch/edging/plantings to create curves around the sidewalk?

    I see now that my comment is no help. Sorry! 🙂

  3. Does it have to extend to the curb? What about just doing a curvy knee to the driveway? Personally, I’ve never liked the walkways to no where, where clearly very little guests who come to visit use. It seems like a waste of continuity of landscaping to me.

    1. It’s always so interesting to read about different tastes and preferences. I personally don’t like it when a house doesn’t have a sidewalk going to the street, and all that’s there is a walkway from the driveway to the front door. Everyone who comes to my house (with the exception of family members) parks on the street and comes up the front sidewalk.

      1. Is that because that’s what the sidewalk suggests though? Having it go to the street seems to tell people “here is where you park, not in the driveway”. I think it’s regional/age driven thing too though. Houses in my suburban area, where most things are 1950s or newer, only have driveway to door sidewalks. But if you go to the older areas in the nearby city street to door sidewalks are common.

        1. I don’t think it’s regional or an age thing. I think it’s completely dependent up on the style of the house. Most houses I see where the only side walk is between the front door and the driveway, and there’s no sidewalk to the street, are houses where the garage is a front-entry garage that is very prominent on the front of the house, although occasionally they’re a side-entry garage. That generally means that the front door is fairly close to the driveway, making a separate door-to-street sidewalk excessive. Like these:



          But my house isn’t like that at all. My front door and driveway aren’t just 10 or 15 feet apart. They’re 60 feet apart. It just doesn’t make sense to me to have that as the only sidewalk, because just to get the mail, we’d have to go 60 feet across the yard to the driveway, then another 40 feet or so to the street. That seems silly when we can just walk straight down a sidewalk to the street.

          1. Would people perhaps be more inclined to park in your driveway as opposed to the street once has concrete as opposed to grass/mud? Not that it matters, as you will have a sidewalk form drive to door either way… Just think things might change as to where visitors park once you have a solid clear drive area distinguished from your yard.

          2. Move the mailbox closer to the driveway! It would look better to have it off to the side, than front and center in front of the house.

            1. This is what I had thought when you did the mailbox. Wondered why it was not near the driveway, but figured that is how it is done there. I see your point on having two walkways, but I think you could get used to taking the trip to the driveway to get the mail. Ours is a side entry garage ranch, and our walkway just leads from the front porch to the driveway, with a serpentine shape for interest. I personally think straight to the street is a formal look, more suited to non-ranch styles. A ranch is relaxed living to me.

      2. I dislike cars parked on the street as it blocks the view of your home and is also a safety issue. I think a slightly curved sidewalk from your driveway is my choice. I also think you could be more creative with your landscaping this way. You’ll figure it out. You are so talented.

      3. I think when you have a driveway that could change. At the moment they probably feel like they are parking in your front yard.

    2. I have always hated having to maneuver around parked cars to get to the sidewalk to get to the front door.

      1. Yes! And cutting across the lawn anyway because it’s so awkward to get to it unless you were the one who got the only parking spot that made sense to use it right from the start. Even if one person parks wrong, you may end up with a car right in front of the walk and then are forced to use some lawn or tightrope the curb. Ive always thought pathways to the curb look very odd when there are no sidewalks on the street, especially when the curbs are squared and not ramped. My vote is for long curved elbow to the driveway and move the mailbox over.

        1. Yes. I have a ranch with the garage positioned exactly like Kristi’s. My walkway is a straight concrete covered walk from driveway to front door; I have a new wish to creat a raised porch just as Kristi has done, with a curved walkway to the front door. Here my mail is delivered right to my box beside the front door. But, I used to live in a rural delivery area and my mailbox was near the driveway at street end. Unless there is a lot of foot traffic from the street, I would do a concrete or gravel drive and a slightly curved walk from front door to driveway. Move the mailbox to the side of the driveway.

    3. I totally agree with this. I wouldn’t park in a dirt driveway either, but once you have a nice new driveway, I think people will park there. A sidewalk to the street seems to go to no where, especially since there isn’t a sidewalk along the road. I agree to move the mailbox next to the driveway once its there, and have the sidewalk go to the driveway.

  4. Kristi, i have my sidewalk like your photo, wide at steps and then straight. It curves as it is meeting front sidewalk to driveway…if that makes sense! I wish i could add a picture here.

  5. There are a few curved sidewalks in my neighborhood and I have to say, I’m not a fan. Since your driveway will have to be curved, I think a straight sidewalk will be a good complement to the driveway.

  6. Ok so you need a new sidewalk from the street to the front door and one to the driveway, right? Why not do both straight and curved. Have the part that comes up from the street go straight to the house, widening in a nice curve to the steps on the left side and then widening on the right into a sidewalk to the driveway? So it will look a little like those round driveways some people have at their homes, the ones that are straight from the road but then go up to the garage and curve over to create a rounded yard area in the middle and additional parking in the round driveway. So that but with your sidewalk and it won’t be nearly as wide as driveways and you get the best of both worlds.

    1. Yes, exactly what I see her doing. I hope she plans to do a concrete drive. I’ve had asphalt in the south and it melts in the summer heat! Concrete or white pea gravel (but weeds are an issue; I fight them all summer).

  7. I think you need to curve it because I feel like your house isn’t on either end of the spectrum where a straight walkway would make sense. I think straight walkways work great for very large, formal homes, which your home is not. And I think straight walkways work for subdivisions where there is a similarity of design across all of the homes. Your house is neither. In your case, I think a curved walkway would make your house look much more custom and well-loved, like someone put some thought into creating something that accentuates the lines of the house and welcomes a guest. I would curve it in a gentle swoop so that it meets up with the driveway entrance near the curb and move your mailbox over to spot, as well. You could then put a mulched landing with a bench and some landscaping under your oak.

    I commented in another post that I think it might be time to invest in a landscape design, so that you have have a full vision before proceeding with more of your outside updates. But, I do love the tracing paper idea! You could probably mock up a few ideas that way, too.

  8. I live in a development of all ranch houses. All of the sidewalks to the front doors branch off of the driveway. If you did away with the sidewalk coming directly from the street, you would have less concrete and the focus would be more on your pretty home and not on all of the concrete. Just my to cents! Haha. Love your blog!

  9. I favor the straight but widened front walkway and a more softly curved pathway linking to your driveway closer to the house, maybe just two feet or so from the porch to allow for some planting/flowers. It think it will balance your more linear home front and give you some other options when you decide how you want to landscape down the road.

    1. I think this idea has some merit although it will take a little planning to get it right. Really the only reason you need that sidewalk that goes to the street is to collect your mail. You don’t park on the street – and depending on your comings and goings I don’t know if you are going to want to drive around to the back all the time.

      You will likely want a more direct connection between your driveway and your house for guests especially unless you want them travelling through your workshop into the house.

  10. I reallly dislike curved sidewalks. Unless it is the natural path to the door, I do not see the point. I say go with the straight!

  11. When you say the sidewalk to the driveway and the driveway will be real curvy, I have a suggestion. Don’t make so many curves, and those you do have, make them gentle curves. You will want to be able to mow within those curves. Don’t forget you will be landscaping at some point from the left of your house, so maybe you can include a gentle curve from there and incorporated a gentle curvature from the house to your mailbox area. Hope I’ve explained it somewhat understandable. The main thing is very gentle curves, baby. After it’s all said and done, you’ll probably realize that you overthought so many things during your remodel. That’s been my experience and hindsight is 20/20.

    1. I agree with this and encourage obtuse angles rather than acute ones. Acute ones will require hand detail (with a small mower or weed trimmer) whereas obtuse ones can be ridden through. It is possible to plan a landscape design so that you never have to bring out a trimmer at all.

  12. My mind works too much like yours. One minute I would suggest straight, and the next minute I would suggest curved. I don’t think you can go wrong either way. I also know it drives the mind a bit crazy when you can’t decide and this is a big decision. Good luck in your design.

  13. I’m just thinking that both a curved driveway and a curved sidewalk might be too many curves. They could “clash”?? So my vote is for a straight sidewalk.

  14. As a minimum, extend the entry sidewalk; to the front door, by taking the measurement from the left column base (looking straight at the entry from the street) plus the left porch floor edge and duplicating that same measurement on the right column base. Extend out from the porch a minimum three feet. The PAD created, whether with square sides or curved to the sidewalk, will allow for substantial planter pots to flank the entry and bring seasonal color. Visual dimensions are clearly needed. Grab some stakes, metal flag markers, spray paint and/or an old hose to lay out/mark out your ideas ~ that’s what a professional landscape architect will do!

  15. While I understand the need for a curved driveway, I don’t see the “need” for a curved sidewalk from house to street. The point is to bring people into the house, so why would they have to follow a curved path? Just seems silly to me in terms of function. Plus, the big, curvy driveway may be enough “ curve”, and a straight line might counterbalance it.

    You mention that your guests currently park on the street (instead of on your front lawn.) Perhaps when the driveway is finished they will park on the driveway? So my vote is a path from the driveway to the house and forego the walkway from the street to the house altogether.

    However, your vision is so much better than mine, so whatever you choose will be gorgeous.

    1. I don’t want non-family-member guests parking in my driveway. Maybe it’s a regional thing, but I never pull into a person’s driveway unless they invite me to. That just seems strange and presumptuous to me.

      1. Not trying to be argumentative, because I suspect it is regional, but when/if you eventually have clients coming to your studio how will you feel if they parked in your driveway? Here it would be odd to park in the street if there was an open spot in the driveway.

      2. I could not agree more!!!! Especially when a contractor pulls up on the driveway! I make them move before I will even deal with them. (I can still hear my dad’s voice…”who do you think you are….the big cheese around here?”) 😂😂

      3. I think that must be a regional thing, or maybe just a neighborhood, by neighborhood thing. I’ve lived in some older neighborhoods with very narrow streets. Parking the street blocks the flow of traffic, so we prefer to pull into someone’s driveway. Also, I figure I’m enough of a guest that they invited me over and I’m there, so if they need me to move, I can always back out to let them out. 🙂

      4. Where would you want future design clients/art customers to park if they were using your studio entrance? This might help inform your decision making. If you want them to park on the street you might want to shift your mailbox/sidewalk entrance from the street closer to the driveway and then have it “y” at some point toward the front door and the studio door. This will help guide your customers. Otherwise I would expect them to pull right up your driveway to your studio entrance. Especially if that seems to be the “public” part of your driveway and the more private part continues around to the back.

      5. Very strange – must vary by city/neighborhood or something b/c I’m in Texas (originally from OK) and NEVER park in the street if a driveway is an option. And get a little irritated when others do because it makes navigating the roads more difficult and presents more opportunities for children and animals to “hide” before ending up in the middle of the street. Plus, as others have mentioned, when multiple cars are in the road, it seems you often end up with people walking in the lawn to some degree because the sidewalk isn’t easily accessible due to the cars. If the sidewalk went from driveway to patio, even if they are parked in the street, the natural thing to do would be walk up the driveway to the sidewalk vs. walking across the lawn. With all that said, my first vote would be connect the patio to the driveway and eliminate the sidewalk to the road altogether. Since that doesn’t sound like the right option for you personally though, I’d stick with a straight sidewalk. I think the curved sidewalk will be too much with the curved driveway.

  16. I realize that visitors currently park on the street, but will that change once you have a nice, long, real driveway? If so, the sidewalk to the driveway may be the only one necessary.

    1. Sorry, I just saw that you preferred the walkway to the street. In that case, I like the straight shot walk vs the curvy one. Some people will walk across the grass instead of staying on the walk (I may or may not know some of those people!!)

  17. A lot could depend on how you plan to use it. If it is the main entrance to your house that you use all the time then you would probably keep it straight for quick access. Now if it’s actually used seldom then a curvy walk for appearance sake would look nice.

  18. The driveway and walkway are big investments and should be part of an overall landscaping plan. Even if you don’t have the money/energy to do a plant-by-plant plan or landscaping install right now, it would make sense to consult a landscape designer on these expensive hardscape ideas.

    Maria Killam (, who is based in British Columbia, used a landscape designer, Maryanne White,, who is, I think, based in New York, who does e-consults and e-design. Her work is fabulous. There are probably others who are Texas-based or specialize in hot, dry areas.

    While I do ok inside the house, I have no feel for landscape design. When I get to that point with my own home, I plan to call in a professional.

  19. I personally would have the walkway to the front door come from the driveway and eliminate the walkway going all the way to the street. If you had an actual sidewalk in front of the house in addition to the road i would leave it straight but it doesn’t look like you have one. Guests can still park in the street and walk up the driveway to the sidewalk that will branch off leading to the front door.

  20. If it really is a functional sidewalk that is used often then I would say straight for sure. Why make people walk in a longer curvy line in order to get to the door? It would be like this picture where the sidewalk curves around, but everyone just walks in a straight line through the grass anyway

    I know your sidewalk wouldn’t actually curve that much but the principle is the same. Curved lines might look good in theory, but from a practical standpoint people prefer to walk in straight lines.

  21. Don’t you think this is a decision Matt should make since he is the one in the wheelchair? What is easiest for him to navigate.

      1. What would he do in an emergency situation, um say, a fire? Do you have an alternate plan if he couldn’t get out the back of the house? Just curious.

        1. To be clear, Matt can’t get anywhere by himself. He requires assistance to get into bed, or to his wheelchair, or sometimes to get from one end of the house to the other, or to get out the door. He spends quite a bit of time in the bedroom, about five feet from a door. It doesn’t have a ramp, but in an emergency, I would do my best to get him outside. Or to get him down the ramp from the music room and out the back sunroom door. Or to get him out the back doors of the studio. Or to get him out the front door. But regardless of how he gets out, he can’t do it on his own without assistance, regardless if there’s a nice ramp or not.

  22. Ideally, you would have a landscape architect design the walkway, the driveway and the connecting path, as well as flowerbeds and plants around them, so it all creates a landscape that you will like and be able to maintain in Texas. In my opinion, curved and organic will be much, much better for all of the elements.

  23. I would do a straight sidewalk since the driveway has to be curvy. I just don’t think you would like acurvy sidewalk. And, like you said, once it is done, that’s it . 😊

  24. I agree with Theresa P. Gentle curve to driveway meeting somewhat near the drive and move mailbox. I think three swaths of concrete would be too much. A curve might give you a chance to landscape so you feel like you have a bit of privacy from the street to the glass front door. When doing concrete ( or flower beds) I always take a hose or rope and lay it out in the yard. If you try this run the mower along your edges ( no need to start it😛) to make sure the curves are easy to mow.

    1. Do a google image search, but only if you don’t have trypophobia. I’d never heard of it before and googled it, and although I can see where it could be considered attractive, it creeps the heck out of me. I realize this is 100% my problem.

  25. I like the straight sidewalk to the mailbox. Too many curves, Imo. That way, if you want curves after the fact, you can landscape with some curved beds along the sidewalk. I do like the flare out where the sidewalk meets the porch.

  26. I personally prefer straight. I am lazy and I want to walk the most direct route. Also, I live in a snowy city so a curved side walk would mean more shoveling. Another thing I would consider is the amount of space between the house and the main sidewalk – do you think there is enough space to have both driveway and sidewalk curve without visually clashing with each other? I am sure which ever way you go, it will look fabulous though!

  27. Psychologists say a curved walkway indicates a welcoming or feeling to those approaching. For what it’s worth!

  28. One word in your description of the curved sidewalk stands out like a sore thumb- “cottage”. You’ve said time and again that you are not going for a cottage look in your home. I’d agree that you are closer to formal or transitional inside and I don’t think you want a cottagey look on the outside.
    Second thought- imagine that Matt was going out every day to get the mail. Whether he actually does or not, wouldn’t a straight, no-nonsense sidewalk to the mail box make more sense? Ours is curved and goes from the front of the house to the driveway and not to the street nor to the neighborhood sidewalks in the easement. This causes our mail man to walk across the yard and through our flower bed (I’ve added a stepping stone, but I don’t think he uses it) every single day to get to the mailbox on our front porch. Folks will usually walk the straight line unless the eventual plantings force them to “observe the curve”. (I just came up with that- I always laugh at my own jokes- so at least I think I’m clever!)

    1. That last point is a really good one. People will always take the most direct route. If you did a curved sidewalk, and didn’t do plantings along the entire edge, people may be inclined to step off the sidewalk, in a straight path, and trample your grass. Maybe you should do a little study- start at the street where a guest is most likely to park and see which way feels most natural to approach your front door. Maybe it’s perfectly straight or maybe there will need to be one or two curves!

      The more I think about it, any time I’ve had to walk on a curved walkway, I feel stupid, like I’m making Pac-man turns. So if you end up with a curvy sidewalk, maybe it just should curve a little, so that a person could end up hugging one side or the other and still be in a relatively straight line. Does that make sense?

      1. That makes sense. Your comment made me laugh. I got an image of people being forced around curves and turns like rats in a maze. 😀

        1. HaHa! So funny, this is also the amount of curve I was thinking. The straight line arguments have me thinking though about people cutting across grass just as often to get to a poorly planned straight sidewalk as a poorly planned curved one. It doesn’t seem to be a valid point.

  29. I’m not a very formal type, so I think a gentle curve to the right of your mailbox, that branched off about mid-way to your drive, so there is an area for planting in that corner. Keep your drive wider on that side to allow a parking car. Wish I knew how to draw it for you.

    You could get your garden hose and lay out the curves, and see if you don’t/do like it. Might be a better visual that way, and a bench under the tree is a great idea!
    I think curves are much more welcoming, than strait lines. JMHO

    1. I like the idea of including a car park area. But like I mentioned above, I prefer parking in someone’s driveway and not on the street. 🙂

  30. “You mention that your guests currently park on the street (instead of on your front lawn.) Perhaps when the driveway is finished they will park on the driveway? So my vote is a path from the driveway to the house and forego the walkway from the street to the house altogether.”

    I agree with the above, for two reasons. You haven’t any municipal sidewalks, so a “front walk” leads to…nowhere, it would be “just for looks”. A generously wide walkway (48 inches) curving from the driveway to the front door would be more in keeping with your home’s style IMO.
    In the older areas of the East and Midwest any “gap” between municipal sidewalks and the curb was usually concreted over. This allowed guests to access the front walk without getting muddy. Parking on the street was necessary because there were no driveways…if you had a garage it was accessed through the alley. What we assume as “proper / standard” was practical…at that time.

    1. I’ve lived in the northeast or Great Lakes midwest almost my entire life and I haven’t see the lawn extension paved over except for some businesses. That would kill the tree that is almost always planted there! I occasionally see someone fill that area with gravel. I do concede, however, that having plantings in that area makes getting out of the car tricky anyone exiting on the passenger side. Our local ordinance said the lawn extension should only be grass but so many people violated it (often to beautiful effect) that they either rescinded the ordinance or just stopped enforcing it.

      1. My birthplace, 16 miles south of the City of Chicago, was established in the 1830’s. As the town developed trees were planted in the space between the sidewalk and curb. The trees were American Elms and were magnificent. Unfortunately, during the late 1950’s they were infected with “Dutch Elm disease” and all were removed (hundreds of them). The town decided to forbid any replanting of trees in this location (the common term used was “parkway”) which prevented the sidewalks “heaving” because of roots.

  31. Straight with a widening at the steps and the street….that way it’s easier to access if someone parks directly in front. Also, easier to reach your mailbox.

  32. I would take the opportunity to completely change things. I’d eliminate the sidewalk to the street altogether. I’d do a slightly curved sidewalk from the front door to the drive way. I’d make the area where the driveway meets the street slightly flared out on each side so that you could have some interesting landscaping on each side and I’d relocate the mailbox to one of those planting areas, adjacent to the driveway.

    In my subdivision there are no sidewalks to the street. Everyone’s mailbox is adjacent to the driveway and we just walk down the driveway to get the mail. It’s nice having a large, uninterrupted expanse of lawn in the front yard. Makes for easier mowing, too.

    1. I agree with this suggestion. If most people coming to your home are going to park in the driveway then having the front steps go to the drive makes more sense. I’m guessing it was the same Karen who posted the Pinterest page below with the nice photos.

    2. I’d be interested to know what style of houses are in your subdivision. Do they have front-access garages where the driveways are relatively close to the front door? In that case, I could certainly see eliminating the door-to-street sidewalk and just having the one connecting to the driveway. But that’s not my situation. A walkway from the front door to the driveway on my house will have to span the front porch, the breakfast room, the studio and the steps on the side of the studio before it meets the driveway. That’s about 60 feet. So to get the mail, I’d walk out the front door, 60 feet to the left to meet the driveway, and then another 40 feet or so down the driveway to the mailbox. That’s terribly inconvenient.

      1. Maybe a bit off topic, but I live out in the country in the midwest with lots of farm houses and there’s rarely a real sidewalk, just a gravel driveway that is close to the mailbox. I think our own mailbox is around 200+ feet away from the front door. So the idea of a sidewalk that only leads to a mailbox seems strange to me! 😀 Guess it’s just what you get used to.

  33. I hate to throw you a curve, but while you are considering all this are you also considering a concrete walk connecting your driveway to the walk to your front porch so that people who park in your driveway don’t wear a bare spot when they cross the yard to your front door? We’ve had this in most of our homes and it usually defines a front foundation planting bed. I vote for the straight walk that flares attractively to your new wider steps.

    1. That first picture demonstrates my point. That house has a front-facing garage with the driveway in close proximity to the front door. From the curve in the walkway to the edge of the driveway, that can’t be any more than 10 feet. But from my front door to the edge of my driveway, it will be 60 feet, and then another 60 feet to the end of the driveway where my mailbox would be. I can assure you that FedEx and UPS wouldn’t make that trek, especially not after years of having a direct walk to the front door. They’d be traipsing across my front yard if I didn’t have a sidewalk there.

      In order for the no-sidewalk-from-the-door-to-the-street option to make sense at my house, my breakfast room would have to be a front-facing garage, and the driveway would have to lead right up to the front of the breakfast room.

      1. IT seems like you aren’t considering a diagonal direction, where you come off your front porch and headheading a somewhat direct line to just before the end of the driveway. The diagonal being a very GentLe curve. Connecting to the driveway does not make sense if you are envisioning it happening near the studio. It has to happen near the road so that it makes sense for the he the ups guy and guests to have somewhat off a straight shot to the door.

        1. I agree with this. How bout telling the UPS and FED EX guys, “ please don’t walk across the lawn” 🤨

  34. What if you sort of do both? I think you’re right that you have to widen the sidewalk at the steps, but what if it’s a straight path with curved sides? So widened at the steps and the street. It’s hard to describe what I’m meaning, but sort of like two Cs placed back to back, only a very slight and graceful, “open” C instead of one whose width is radically different between the top and middle.

    Also, I have no idea what the cost differential is between straight and curved. If it’s a whole lot, I wouldn’t worry about it at all. I don’t think anyone will see your lovely house and even notice the sidewalk.

  35. Lots of decisions, girlfriend. Of course, I am either going to make it easier or harder with “things to consider”, as if you don’t have enough already. First of all, I think your idea of adding a walk from the driveway to the front entrance is great. Otherwise you would probably end up with a path through your grass anyway.

    Consider your landscape options as part of your sidewalk plans. The walkway to my front door was already in place when we bought the house so I am stuck with a straight, narrow and very typical front walkway. But the bed which goes both up the side of the driveway and then continues over beside the sidewalk to the door. I hated it. Of course the beds and plantings were straight too. Well, no longer. Couldn’t curve the side by the walkway but I certainly could all the sides that go out into the lawn. So, that’s were the curves are and of course the layout is echoed by the plantings. The change is amazing and I wish I had done “before” photos.

    I like your idea of widening the walk and wish I could have done but I don’t have as large a front lawn as you do. I also like your example of the wide front door area of the sidewalk. I think it looks very welcoming. Although I love the curved sidewalks I agree that they look out of place unless they appear a natural occurrence. Also, usually part of the reason for curved walks is often to showcase a landscape feature, special plantings etc. That gives the curves a reason for existence if the topography doesn’t.

    One route we took with this house, since they will probably have to remove me feet first, is to get a landscape architect to draw a plan that could be implemented over time. I contacted several to set up meetings and talk about the things I wanted somewhere in the landscaping. Then should be able to tell you what they charge for a complete plan. If they won’t name a price just for the plan, then move on to your next contact. Also, most of them in our area will do the first visit and assessment of your property free of charge. Then when you decide on the one you like, they will do the first version of the plan. You review it and make any changes you want until you have the final plan that works for you and fits your vision for your property. It is worth every penny I spent. Be sure to have photos of different landscapes you like and I also had a list of the type of flowers, plants (for instance we like evergreens) and I hate tall plants at the front of the house around the foundation, especially in front of windows. Plants that are too tall or big will weigh the look of the house and kind of weighs it down. Look around the next time you are driving around. Lots of mature plants are probably not what the owners envisioned when they planted them. The area in front of the windows in your studio? They will have great ideas and will know how to make it like you want yet also integrate it into the rest of your landscaping. Our landscape architect was also very honest about some of the things we were thinking about, even the plants. He always said that, yes, we could do that but here are some things to consider…we’ve had some problems with that plant in areas with as much shade as you have in that spot even though it is supposed to be okay with partial shade…you get the picture.

    Kristi, this is your forever house. Believe me, its worth the time and money to do it right the first time. As much as you have to do inside the house (except for your shop) you don’t want to spend your time later redoing landscaping.

    Sorry this is so long guys, but my experience goes back a ways. lol

  36. With the straight lines of your columns, front door, shutters, and steps, I think a curved path up to the house would look very strange. I personally dislike curved paths, especially if they are so curved that someone walking up them has to “meander” up to the front door.

    For those suggesting a path from the driveway to the front door, once the driveway is poured, it seems to me that family/personal guests would be more likely to come in the back entrance near the carport, or through the studio door rather than all the way to the front porch, unless they all still park on the street. Either way, I think a straight front path is the way to go.

  37. My vote is a curved sidewalk to go with the driveway and also to soften the look. I love the edges of your house but I think a curved sidewalk gives it a balanced look overall. Also as someone else suggested the landscape will look better with the curved sidewalk.

  38. Why not install stepping stones to the street/mailbox? They could be sunk a bit to allow them to be mowed over and still give you access to the street for the mailbox and for the folks that park on the street. They could also be widened at the steps as much as you need. Then you could install a curved sidewalk to the driveway that will soften the straight lines to the front of the house if that’s what you want.

  39. If you like the look of the floor door in the straight walk picture, keep it straight not curved. A curved walk and a curved driveway is too busy.

  40. I vote straight.

    Ask your contractor what he recommends. He would have the best suggestions since he does this more often than most. Also, if cost is a factor, I think a curvy walkway would cost more. Due to digging out and framing the structure would be more labor intensive.

    As always you will make it look incredible.

  41. I like a straight path from the house to street. Widening it would be good. I think adding curved landscape beds takes the straight path from looking too formal.

    1. I had asked about that a while ago after the studio conversion. I literally have no idea how you would go about making that kind of change. I think the driveway cutout can work where it is, especially given the location of that pecan tree. But, it would be fun to know what would be required to make that kind of change.

    2. It would just require a permit and an inspection. But it would also increase the cost of the project quite a bit. If I keep the entrance where it is, no permit or inspection is required, according to the city inspector I spoke with two weeks ago. According to him, if the street entrance is already there, then I can pour concrete wherever I want to as long as I don’t pass my property line. It’s only when I start building something on top of that concrete that the city gets involved. But if I go moving the entrance, the city will need to be involved in that as well.

  42. Can you move the driveway’s curb cut further to the right? That would allow a gentler curve of the driveway around the pecan tree.

    1. I can, but I’m not really inclined to do that. If I keep the entrance where it is, I don’t need a permit or inspections of the driveway. As the inspector told me, they don’t inspect “flat work.” But if I change the location of the entrance, add an entrance (i.e., for a circular driveway) or build something on top of the concrete (like a porte-cochère), then that would require permits and inspections. It would also cost a lot more to change the location of the entrance.

      1. Maybe spend the extra dollars to change the location of the entrance. Start new driveway to right of pecan tree and straight back, past studio and turn into carport.

        1. This is an interesting idea! I wonder how much space she has on her lot to the right of the pecan tree.

          I’ve commented on this post about 6 times now. Not sure why this topic is grabbing me so much. I think I’m just really into practical curb appeal.

        2. That’s not my property. 😉 My property line is just about four or five feet past the trunk of that pecan tree on the other side.

      2. Lulu your idea would also minimize the “studio looking like a converted garage” issue. If the driveway entrance was all the way on the other side of the pecan tree, it would definitely reduce the change that an observer could line up the entrance with the studio and conclude it had once been a garage.

        1. My property doesn’t extend that far. Giving the tree the space it needs from the edge of the driveway, putting the driveway on the other side would put my entire driveway on my neighbor’s lot.

  43. I would go with no sidewalk from the street and just have one extending from your driveway to the front of the house. In my neighborhood there are no sidewalks from the street to the front, they all branch off the driveways. A few houses have added those and I think it breaks up the front yard too much. I wish you had a drone picture of your house that you could play with adding sidewalks and such, I’m such a visual person it’s hard to imagine what it would look like. Either way you do it adding the Kristi touch with make it look beautiful, I haven’t been disappointed in anything you’ve done yet 🙂

    1. I took some of your pictures and did a bit of photoshopping to them, I would love to send those to you but I can’t figure out how. 🙁

    2. I don’t think I would consider that option with my house simply because of the layout. Generally when I see houses where there’s only one walkway that leads from the front door to the driveway, it’s because the front door is in close proximity to the driveway (i.e., a house with a front-entry or side-entry garage). My house isn’t like that. Right now, to walk out my front door, down the sidewalk to the mailbox, it’s 55 feet. If I removed that sidewalk and just did a sidewalk to the driveway, the sidewalk from the front door to the driveway would be 60 feet, and then there would be another 60 feet down the driveway to the mailbox at the street. That’s just very inefficient. And I can guarantee you that UPS and FedEx wouldn’t make that trek. They’d be traipsing right across my front yard.

  44. Where I live it would involve moving water and sewer lines, which come in by the driveway. Good reminder, though, to check with your utility companies about where pipes and lines are located.

      1. That’s good!

        I printed the photo to see if I could sketch a design but perspective is difficult to judge. It looks as if that lovely pecan tree is very close to where you need to put the driveway.This convinces me more for the need for expertise, perhaps even a consult from a landscape architect or whomever can advise on how to do the least damage to that tree.

  45. I think a straight sidewalk will be fine. Keep in mind you can add curves, “movement” and balance with flowerbeds and other bushes, ornamental grasses, etc. flanking the walkway. I’m sure whatever you do- will look fabulous! 😀

    1. Ditto! And you will want a direct path to the mailbox….unless you plan to move it curvy makes no sense. Add interest with landscaping.

  46. It seems to me that an H design of concrete in the front of you beautiful house might turn out to be overbearing. When I say “H” I am also including the connection you seem to want from your driveway to your front door. Wouldn’t it make more sense/save money and be visually pleasing to have a curved walkway start somewhere about a 1/3 into the straight driveway and curve gently outward and in to meet the front front door steps??? The otheways mentioned would chop up your beautiful front lawn considerably. I can’t wait to see what design you come up with!!!!

  47. Definitely curvy. There are enough straight lines and angles with the house and porch. A curvy walk will allow more interesting landscaping as well in my opinion.

  48. From the photo, it doesn’t look like a very long walk from street to door? If that’s really the case, a curved walk feels very forced to me. Maybe make the shape of the walk curved by having the width of it vary. Sort of like what you talked about with having it widen to the front steps? Maybe you could throw in some more curves by keeping the actual path more or less straight but not making the path a uniform width? Wider by the street maybe? Perhaps a section that widens off to form the curving walk to the other driveway?

    I did a quick drawing to sort of illustrate what I mean. The sidewalk could allow someone to walk directly to the door without being utterly straight. These are wild shapes – you would probably go a different direction but I thought it might give an idea. I agree with others this is probably the point where a landscape designer would be a huge help.

  49. I would widen a straight walk about 6-8″ on either side. That way two folks, or a wheelchair and a person could use it side-by-side. Then, I would plant some CURVED flower beds along the walkway? Just a thought.

  50. I personally prefer curved paths, especially when a house is fairly asymmetrical (and i think a curve to the right would help balance the weight of that gorgeous tree) BUT I think curved paths look best when there are curvy, landscaped beds around at least half of the path closest to the house. I’m not crazy about how they look with just grass on both sides. To me a curve invites you to pause and enjoy the plantings around the path. How much landscaping do you intend to do around the path? How much will tree roots near the surface limit your landscaping options? I’d give that some thought before deciding on a path, because the path will dictate your landscaping options. Some garden centers around here will create a landscaping plan for you for a relatively small fee (often applied to the cost of the landscaping later if you buy the plants from them or hire them to do the work) – you could consider that option. When planning your path and driveway, also consider the shapes of the lawn that will be created, and how those shapes might look from the house and the street. I’ve learned this from experience creating my own garden over 15+ years.

  51. We’ve never had a walk that goes to the street, just a sidewalk that goes from the driveway to the front door. Even when people parked on the street, they would walk up the driveway to the sidewalk. Funny how we all have different preferences, seemingly based on locale.

  52. I can’t insert a picture here (whomp-whomp), and a quick Google search isn’t helping. I have a friend with a cute, straight sidewalk from street to porch like you, but about half-way down (her front yard is MUCH smaller than yours so your placement would probably be closer to the house) the sidewalk opens into a wide CIRCLE, with an empty space/dirt in the middle for landscaping, and then back into a regular sidewalk again as it approaches the porch. It gives symmetry, cute rounded whimsy (a nod to your curved driveway) and a chance to add color/landscaping, a small water feature/fountain or even an inlaid brick/stone pattern opportunity.

    I WISH I could insert a screenshot or find a decent image – can you visualize it lol?!

    Sort of a marriage of these 3 pins but with concrete (none of these are right, the one with the fountain is ridiculously oversized but I hope it helps you kinda visualize what I’m trying to suggest lol):

  53. I am clearly not going to be much help here as i like both curve and straight but I can tell you it is a pain to mow around some curves.

  54. I used to read the comments before I posted but I think it alters my opinion so I don’t read them until after I post these days. That being said, I’m sure someone has already suggested this but, here’s my two cents: do both! Have your straight sidewalk out to the mailbox but then go for whimsy with the sidewalk connecting the driveway to the front of the house (side of the porch or sidewalk).
    Things are really starting to come together so nicely!! But be careful working in this crazy summer heat!!

  55. I’m surprised you haven’t mocked these all up in Photoshop yet. 🙂 I feel like that would definitely give you a better idea of what you like/don’t like.

    1. I tried and it’s just hard to get the right perspective on a two-dimensional picture. What I’d like to do is purchase some of that spray paint that sprays upside down (the kind that utility companies use to mark where underground utility lines are) and just play around with spraying some different shapes and options. I could take pictures of each one after it’s sprayed.

      1. Kristi, use cheap garden hoses. Spray paint is so permanent and you will start to get confused if you want to see different designs. Cheap hoses are very flexible and easy to manipulate.

      2. In a pinch, we used a bright yellow rope once to plan out a backyard before we moved to a smaller place. We used it then to fine tune the edging required to a specific length (so we wouldn’t have to cut edging). Stake it down, Once you like it then paint it.

  56. Others have noted a lot of great thoughts that I’ve had. The sidewalk will frame areas (and create more to edge). If you are going to garden yourself, create a shape you want to work with. Decide if you want straight lines or gentle curves whenever a bed hits grass.

    At school they had a variety of utilitarian walkways. When you looked at it from above it was a series of circular patios with straight sidewalks, A favored path was wider. Curves can be natural, but be cautious excessive ones are too showy in my opinion. The paths I favor (in order) are 1. Driveway to porch, 2 Street to porch.

    If I was doing it, I’d try a wide swoop (maybe a car’s width so it can double as a parking spot or patio) to the driveway from the porch stairs. Then have a narrow 4′ sidewalk from the swoop to a side of the mailbox (whichever side is natural walking from porch to street).

  57. Parabolic – widen at both house side and at road side with the center being straighter. Best of both worlds! I wouldn’t do curves in both the driveway and the sidewalk, but a parabolic shape kind of echos that without being overly curved.

  58. Kristy, Unlike any other blog that I read, I LOVE to read everyone’s comments here because of the great ideas and most of the time MOST people are respectful and kind. I am 52 years old and I’ve lived in about 8 different residences in Tennessee and I’ve never had a sidewalk that went to the street from the front door. Only from the front door to the driveway. BUT the oldest homes in Nashville do have sidewalks that run straight from the front door to the street. It must be a regional thing what you said about being presumptuous parking in the driveway unless asked. (I would die of embarrassment, because I would pull right into your driveway and not think a thing about it. LOL!) No one ever parks on the street here unless it’s a party and the driveway is full… the only other reason would be if there is no driveway. I can’t wait to see what you decide. I’m for one curve (not curves) to the driveway incorporating the pecan tree, bench, landscaping and mailbox beside the end of the driveway…like the one comment I read above… but we would have to get you on board about people parking in your driveway…LOL! Can’t wait to see what you decide!!!

    1. Just to be clear, if you ever visited my house and pulled into the driveway, there would be no reason to be embarrassed. 🙂 I don’t get upset or anything when people do that. But for some reason, in my mind, that’s something that people do when they’re “at home” at your house, i.e., close friends, family members, etc. So when someone pulls into my driveway, I just automatically presume that it’s someone with whom I have a very close relationship. It’s just a quirk of mine, I’m sure, but it’s not something that I get upset. Now if FedEx or UPS started pulling into my driveway to deliver packages, that would upset me. 🙂

  59. One thing I will add about that rock salt finish. I do love it. Just keep in mind that those divots will get mildewed and dirty and will require pressure washing every couple of years. And it’s a more intense pressure washing than a flat surface, because you’ve got to get into those divots. That’s not to say that you can’t do it. It’s just that you’re talking about a large expanse of concrete (between the walkway and the driveway) that will need intense pressure washing.

    1. Hmmm…I wonder if an exposed aggregate finish is easier maintenance. I like both of those finishes pretty much equally. I just don’t want a plain broom finished concrete.

      1. Probably. Something that bumps up instead of down will be easier to maintain. I just know (from experience) about those divots in a hot and humid climate. I love the look! Just know that it can get gunky.

  60. Well, since you asked….

    You may wish to have a sidewalk coming off the driveway to the front door, for guests who park in the driveway. And a sidewalk that goes from the front curb at the street to the door. So those two would likely meet somewhere. To tie these two together with the curve of the driveway, I would recommend a gentle curve to all of them.

    First, do an arc of walk that goes from the porch steps to the driveway in a curve, bowing out away from the house to make a curved flower bed between the walk and the house in front of the breakfast room. (could put shrubs, birdfeeders, birdbath, a fountain, or a specimin small tree in that as a main focal point)

    And then have a curved walk that starts out as part of the walk from the porch toward the driveway until you get to about the end of the porch, and then veers in a gentle curve to the right, heading toward the street.

    The curves of the hardscape would soften the many corners of the house. The offset, curved approach to the front steps leaves the ground immediately in front of the front steps and walk for more gentle landscaping to soften more edges.

    Something to consider, anyway.

  61. I’m in the Kansas City metro area and every neighborhood that I have lived in here have the front porch connected to the driveway with a sidewalk. Never had a porch to sidewalk to the street. (always all concrete)

    1. Out of curiosity, how close are the driveways to the front porch? Generally when I see that configuration, they look like the photo that Karen linked above, where the distance from the front porch to the driveway is about 10 to 15 feet. My sidewalk from the front porch to the driveway would be 60 feet. (I don’t think people realize how wide and sprawling my house is.) And then it would be another 60 feet down the driveway to the street where the mailbox would be. I don’t see any chance that UPS or FedEx or USPS would make that long, winding trek to the front door. They’d just traipse right across my front yard right where the current sidewalk is.

      1. Oh, currently my front porch is about 20-30 feet from the driveway. I have a ranch also. And, I’d imagine that UPS drivers walk in my yard though I’m at work so haven’t noticed. Our mail is still delivered to our on porch mailboxes so we are used to people traipsing through our yards. I have noticed that most worker type people do park in the street and walk up the driveway to the sidewalk. I have one friend that lives on a corner and has a straight sidewalk to the street and then her driveway is around the corner and there is also a sidewalk that goes along the front of her house to her front door connecting the driveway. Sometimes I park on the street and sometimes I park in the driveway. Interesting conversation. I never would have considered parking in someone’s driveway as being presumptuous. I do normally consider if there may be someone at home that could come or leave while I am there beforehand. Interesting.

  62. I like the straight. I think both being curvy would be too much. and don’t know if mowing is your job or a hire out, but it is a total PITA to mow around a lot of curvature, especially when it is concrete. Plus, i don’t see a real architectural reason to make it curvy (i.e. a tree, or lamp post, or some such thing), and curvy without a purpose sometimes looks a little strange to me.

    Just an opinion thing, of course. I have no doubt that whichever way you go, it will look fantastic!

  63. I keep thinking about a straight sidewalk from your steps to the curb. It would have the wide front steps like you want from column to column and a wide landing before the sidewalk narrows for its run to the curb. Then, in the middle of the sidewalk, maybe add a circle with a fountain or a statue or something, that people would walk around. I lean toward a fountain b/c of the lovely burble, but a boulder with plantings, or a statue on a pedestal would look great, too.

    Don’t forget, when you install the sidewalk, whatever the shape, to include PVC pipe under it to accommodate future wiring for lighting or whatever you need electricity for. It’s cheap to install conduit before a pour and really expensive afterward!

  64. We have a straight concrete sidewalk and I hate it. going to add some brick to the sides to mimic some curves. Not very interesting for landscaping….

  65. Landscape architect Fredrick Olmstead, who designed Central Park and the Biltmore’s surroundings never used straight lines. He said you shouldn’t see the end from the beginning. He also designed a neighborhood here in Lexington, and it has no straight lines. Go with the curves.

  66. I think your readers are very very astute. I think you just attract good talented people! My two cents is a wide and straight .

  67. I wouldn’t curve the sidewalk going to the curb. The idea of the flare at the steps is great. I’d keep that sidewalk straight through the middle, and flare it once again as it approaches the curb. That gives you the marriage between sidewalk and the curvaceous driveway without creating a contrived yellow brick road type sidewalk between porch and curb. From porch to drive, and based in what you’ve said abt the way ppl park/enter whichever door when they visit, I’d keep that section of walk as small and insignificant as possible -just enough to keep ones feet out of the dewy grass whilst on the way from the driveway to the front steps. You want practicality, but shouldn’t want a sort of “network” of concrete trails out there. You are doing such a great job, and following on your journey is wonderful.

  68. If the sidewalk going to the front door is straight from the street, it will encourage people to park on the street, especially if it is wider at the street and the porch steps. If the sidewalk going to the front door is curved toward the driveway, it will encourage people to park in the driveway and walk from that point. Which door do you want your guests/clients(?) to use? What about the side door to your studio? Will guests be using that door? What about the future garden with a fountain in front of the breakfast room windows? will guests be walking by there to get to the front door? Just a few thoughts off the top of my head.

    1. I’d prefer that guests park on the street. But I’d instruct clients to pull into the driveway, right up the studio, and enter through the portico door.

  69. Kristi, I think a lot of the houses that don’t have sidewalks to street are those dang tract houses that don’t have much front yard to begin with and like you said, the garage is part of the face of the house. You have the traditional home that requires a sidewalk to the street for the very reason you explained, getting to the mailbox and guests getting to the front door. Even if nobody EVER uses the front door, the house would look naked without the sidewalk. A modified straight, meaning the widened area at the front steps and widened at the street with straight in between seems the best. Nothing worse than having that narrow sidewalk at the street so you still have to walk on the grass just to get to the sidewalk after getting out of the car. That’s another tract housing simplistic solution; they don’t want to have to install and spend any more money on concrete than is necessary.

  70. Kristi! For your clients (whom you will specifically instruct to drive in and park on) the driveway, I see a very fun and whimsical opportunity! Burma Shave Signs!!!!! Oh what fun this could be!!!!

  71. I love the idea of gentle curves at either end of a straight walk like this )(. I also am a fan of a connecting walk to to the front door from the drive. That does a couple of things, 1 Big planting bed opportunity, 2 Matt can get around in the front yard with the wheelchair.

  72. Straight. Nobody wants to walk the curves.

    Is there no option of moving the curb cut for the driveway?

    1. Because of the pecan tree, I wouldn’t be able to move it over much, so I don’t see the point in moving it at all. I won’t entertain the idea of cutting down the tree. Even though that would make my driveway look much better, that pecan tree produces a huge amount of pecans every year. There’s no way I could bring myself to cut down a mature tree that faithfully produces a huge amount of food for humans and squirrels each and every year.

  73. I like the idea of tracing the property and buildings then drawing the different possibilities.
    What is the shape between the driveway and sidewalk, and what do you want to do with it? What landscape can tie all those pieces together, what repeated plants, themes, focal point?
    You could have a lovely little feature between the two paths, with a fountain, rockery, special plants or whatever you like,

  74. As long as the road cut is in front of your studio, it is going to look like a garage conversion. Since you are going to pour a new driveway, I would cut down the pecan tree, and create a new entrance from the street, curb over the current entrance, and do a straight driveway. (and straight sidewalk from the front door)

    1. There’s no way I’d cut down that pecan tree. It produces a ton of pecans each and every year. I’ll deal with a funky looking driveway to save a tree that faithfully produces food for humans (and squirrels).

      1. So agree! Less for the source of food (never has a fresh pecan!) but it would be a SIN to cut down that BEAUTIFUL tree for any reason other than disease or safety to the house! I am appalled at how easily someone could make such a flip comment to just remove this beauty, as if it was unimportant. It almost hurts to think about. Obviously this commenter is not familiar with Joyce Kilmer’s poem:

        by Joyce Kilmer

        I think that I shall never see
        A poem lovely as a tree.

        A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
        Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

        A tree that looks at God all day,
        And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

        A tree that may in Summer wear
        A nest of robins in her hair;

        Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
        Who intimately lives with rain.

        Poems are made by fools like me,
        But only God can make a tree.

        1. Exactly! With my “air conditioning” tree near the end of its natural life, I feel very protective toward all trees. Don’t make any decisions without expert advice–perhaps from several experts, as Susan suggests: arborist, contractor, landscape architect, landscape designer.

          I wonder if a mixed media driveway would be possible. Further from the tree and its roots, regular concrete. Nearer the tree and its roots, use a permeable surface, such as the cement pavers that allow for water to get through and grass to grow.

          I hope the daily driving over the tree roots doesn’t cause irreparable harm to the tree. It is a beauty! My great uncle had a pecan tree and we loved the big basket of fresh pecans he sent us every year.

  75. Hey Kristi!

    For years, I have been finding articles on your blog that match up with things I am doing/want to do. Finally, I have gone back and put you in my favorites so that I can catch up on your old blogs and follow your new ones.

    Better late than never???

    Anyway, I have a ranch, tract house with a large front yard and a garage facing the road. Our only sidewalk comes from the garage to the front door.

    I HATE it!

    I don’t know why some of your guests here are saying things like, “nobody parks in the street,” “it isn’t safe to park in the street,” etc.

    Lot’s of people park in the street when they come to my house. Goodness, don’t these people ever have more than one or two people over at a time?

    My front lawn is walked across ALL THE TIME. I want to put in a walk to the street (like we had in the old part of town I grew up in), but I am afraid of making my house look different from all the others in the neighborhood. This place has been here since 1968 and the whole neighborhood still looks the same! lol!

    Anyway, I just wanted to say, “HI”. And, I love your blog. And keep doing you!!

    Oh, and if I was to put in my vote, which I know will only be one more confusing voice in the pile of confusing voices, I would say to keep the straight walkway to the curb, but give it some curvy flower borders. Then, put a swooping walkway connecting it to the driveway.

    Love, love, love your blog!! Your house is amazing.

    Thank you for sharing it and yourself with us.


  76. Isn’t your home on a corner lot? Can you do the driveway from the side street instead of the front street? All that curving around the house to the back sounds like a lot of concrete visually, not to mention dollars. Regarding the sidewalk from porch to street/mailbox, gentle curve. Your home is amazing!

  77. Not that you need yet another idea, but have you considered a gentle curve coming off the front porch that curves to the right toward the driveway but then continues to go straight into the curve that is required for the driveway to wing around back to the carport? The ‘straight’ part of the front would be parallel to the house and as your guests are walking up to the front door with a slight heater turn to their right they can gaze upon the area in front of the breakfast room (where you once thought about highlighting with a possible fountain, if I recall? But that could have been hundreds of ideas ago/I can’t keep track of your endless good ideas!) Guests to your house would have to walk up the driveway to the front door and turn left, clients to your studio would turn right- but the driveway sort of becomes a central area, a ‘plaza’ so to speak. Seems more thought out and planned to me this way than a separate walkway to the front door and a separate walkway to the side/back. Just my 2 cents…

  78. I only have a couple of comments to throw into the mix….
    #1 DO NOT let any contractors run any heavy equipment over the ROOTS of your trees. The trees may not recover even if they are not damaged in any other way. The circumference of the roots can be from one-and-a-half to two times the circumference of the tree’s canopy, depending on the age and type of tree.
    #2 lots of cities have requirements regarding easement for regular sidewalks. You may want to check on that before you make your final decision.
    Your ideas sound great and I like the Coat’s Homes inspiration picture!!

  79. Since you can’t alter the concrete once it’s been laid, I’d say to keep the sidewalk straight and you can add the look of curves with landscape beds. I think that would would be the best of both worlds. You can always change the landscape if you don’t like it.

  80. Maybe keep the front path straight, but widened at the porch and curb to create “landing areas”, curve the driveway as needed to get around the pecan tree and keep the curb entrance as is, and then create a mulched or (nice) gravel or shell walkway that curves gently between the “landing” near the porch and the driveway. Making the walkway through the yard more natural will definitely reduce the feeling of concrete overload.

  81. I like the idea of the front pathway being wider at the front steps then straight and perhaps with a little wider at the curbside to mimic the other wider part. Both of the wider areas will create great landscaping areas too!

  82. What my Dad did was to just have grass for a while and let a trodden down path form naturally. He then took that path as guideline on where to install the paving stones. It turned out great. The pathway has a slight curve at the start and continues straight from there.

  83. You are much more computer savvy than I am, but I wondered if you could take a picture of your house [maybe from across the street to get the entire lot in] and then play around with some of the design programs and see how you like various options. I’m such a visual person, I would need to see and mock-up before I could even begin to decide.

  84. Probably too late to comment but I think large concrete rectangles (say 6’x10’) placed either prependicular or horizontal or both to the house would solve your problems. The straight lines would compliment the lines of the house. The overlaping parts would allow two people to comfortably walk side by side yet not be as massive feeling. THey can be placed in aa curve away from your tree’s drip line yet still read as straight etc. it would give guidance for landscaping, complement the lines of your house, allow for a side walkway to driveway. I could go on but you have had so many comments I’m sure your head is spinning.

  85. I have a curved front pathway and I hate it. I wish it was nice and straight one so that I could do an adorable archway covered in flowers. I too like the symmetry of a straight pathway. Also if you need curves, do it with your garden landscape which will help with visual interest.

  86. This post and the comments are SO INTERESTING to me! But they also make me dislike our front sidewalk even more! Our 1916 home has a somewhat formal, and traditional, exterior style. The front door is on the right side of the facade (not centered). There is a straight, skinny concrete sidewalk running from the street to the front door. Not six feet away (seriously), there is the straight concrete driveway running from the street, perfectly parallel to the sidewalk, continuing past the house to the garage, which sits behind the right side of the house. The sidewalk and driveway are linked by a concrete “mini-sidewalk” directly in front of the front door. Literally no one uses that sidewalk – It is the most pointless pile of concrete ever – plus it cuts up the front lawn, leaving a not-even-six-feet wide strip of grass between two runs of ugly concrete!

    For you, where there is much greater distance between your front door and your driveway, my vote is for a straight, “graciously wide” sidewalk from your door to the street with gently curving flares/widening at the points where the sidewalk meets the street and where it meets your steps. If possible, consider having the “angle” of the flares match the “angles” of at least one of the curves in your driveway for a cohesive look. (Don’t know the geometry terms!) Love the idea of a pretty finish for the concrete. Can’t wait to see what you decide! Thanks!

  87. Hi Kristi,

    There is no sidewalk along your side of the road, but that doesn’t mean it will always be that way. We’ve had many upset people because a new sidewalk was put in so people can walk on it rather than the road, and they complain it…cut into the garden, made me move/take down my tree, etc. They forget that the city has the right to do this. So, a long sidewalk to your front door makes sense to me…I especially like the one in your first picture. It’s also good if someone just needs to drop something off and will only be a minute. Second, when deliveries come, they don’t always like to ‘park in the driveway’ either. It is more convenient for them with a straight front walk, especially for really large deliveries, eg: beds, fridges, etc. I agree with those that say to also put in a walk from the porch steps to the driveway, and it can be so gracefully curved to suit your taste. I absolutely love your blog and it is the only one that is constant for me. God bless.

    1. I absolutely agree with the above. I don’t understand all the people commenting to eliminated the walkway to the street! I live in a city that tries to be walking and biking friendly, and housing is getting more dense all the time – Eugene, Oregon. I think there should definitely be a walkway to the street, for deliveries, visitors who park in the street (I live near a school and there are always cars parked in the street so it seems normal, not a pain to me), or people who may walk or bike up to your home. Personally, I’d rather not have to use the driveway as a walkway. I would even consider adding a sidewalk along the street, if the cost is not prohibitive or if there are any others in your area. Then, there is a nice “landing area” for visitors parking in the street or neighbors walking over for a visit. This might be more of an issue in Eugene where lawns are often muddy 3/4 of the year, though 🙂
      Lastly, I also like the straight walkway, curved driveway idea. Especially after reading about how much you prefer symmetry, I think the straight walkway that widens at the porch will you give you that nice look.
      Good luck to you!

  88. Late comment but, I would DEFINITELY invest in a landscape architect- just for a plan. I don’t think it would be terribly expensive. Have done this before and they come up with different ideas. You wouldn’t have to implement all at once. ❤️