Parking Issues?

MoccasinMarch 14, 2011

Nowhere have I found a discussion of how we accommodate the vehicles which we use every day, or maybe just weekends, vacations, or when traveling.

Has anyone changed their car to a smaller one because a big hulking machine seems to dwarf your space? If you have two cars, or more, are they kept in a garage, under a carport, in the driveway, or on the street?

Do you have a utility trailer you pull out when buying appliances or hauling plants or trash to the dump? Where is it parked when not needed?

Do you have a motor home or a travel trailer that sits somewhere in your yard blocking the view and use of your yard, yet you have to keep it secure and plugged into a power source? Do you have it in the open or covered up?

And, could it be used for those extra guests who show up for an extended stay?

Is there also a work vehicle, like a business delivery truck, or a company vehicle you bring home every night? And how about the teenagers with motor bikes, or your own motorcycle, is it in the garage, or like one person I heard about who parked his beloved bike inside the living room and took it outside through the French doors? (Bet it was not a Harley with oil on the floor)...

And I haven't even begun with the boats. How about one on a trailer? Or a canoe or kayak which is hung from overhead in the garage, or on a back wall outside the garage?

We invest a lot of money in these machines or joy rides, and so we need to find a way to protect them, without having them take over our whole lives. So tell me, have you said NO to a boat because you don't want to see it when you open your front door, or look out your kitchen window?

Just curious. And here is why.

I am thinking of what car to get that will NOT take up a lot of space in my driveway. And I know DH was thinking about a VAN in case we continue driving 1500 miles one way from Alabama to Massachusetts, and he likes his comfort while I like to do the driving. But I don't want to see a big honking van all year round in the way of garden views. Also, I have a canoe hanging inside our Garden shed from the rafters. I might move it into the Teahouse, just so I can see it and think about paddling around on the bayou. And I have a derelict (note I appear to like derelict things?) pirogue (flat bottomed double ended skiff) that I adore, and will end up painting PINK and using upside down as a garden seat outdoors by the banana trees.

So that's it for now. How do you deal with the transport equipment around YOUR home?

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Great topic! This is a big issue at our home.

Our driveway can fit three cars deep but only one car wide. So, as you can imagine, we play a lot of switcheroo since I come home first at night but leave first in the morning, too. DH has to move his car out of the way every moring.

As for visitors, they end up on the street. We can fit three cars deep, but the person parking first would have to backtrack, walking the full depth of the house and around the front to the door. Crazy.

We've talked about getting a trailer for hauling construction supplies and whatnot, but we just don't have a place to put it. We'd love to build a garage some day, but we'd have to put it at the back of the yard, causing us to walk all the way back to the house and around to the front to go inside. In the rain? With strollers and diaper bags and groceries some day? NO WAY!

Size? Well, I must say, DH got a Scion XD last year, and I think the size suits the house. It just seems more to scale.

DH would love a boat, but we have nowhere to put one. I did, however, see a very cute one in this month's issue of Coastal Living. It was quite girly. I told DH I'd be OK with a boat if THAT was what he had in mind. :)

I LOVE the pink seat idea! Too cute!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 3:45PM
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Ah- A subject near and dear to my heart! Our driveway can (just) handle two cars end to end, and it's two cars wide. The problem is that the three drivers are on widely different schedules, so we can only park one deep. Besides, parked two deep, it blocks the sidewalk.

My wife and son have the nice cars, so they get the driveway. I park my truck in the street. That just leaves the utility trailer and the boat! Luckily, I can just get a vehicle into the side yard, behind a privacy fence. Right now, the boat is back there, and the utility trailer is on the lawn next to the driveway. I'm enclosing it so I can haul stuff to SC, so it has to be where I can work on it.

Oh- Did I mention the classic truck in the garage?! It's one of those projects that seemed like a good idea at the time..... It will have to go soon, so I can concentrate fully on our new place in SC. Without a basement or attic, most FL garages fill up with stuff, and ours is no exception. Only the most organized folks actually park in their garage around here.

All of this should take care of itself once we get the new place built. There's plenty of room, out of sight of nosy neighbors. The small attached garage will be for my wife's car ONLY! I get the big barn, and if needed, I'll build sheds to house other stuff. Hopefully, we are getting to the age where we can start letting go of stuff. At some point, you realize that you are never going to get around to half these projects (like the old truck) and you can streamline a bit.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 4:55PM
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no shed, no garage - but 2 cars. 1 doesn't exactly work. it was working ok but the key got stuck in the ignition and I didn't have a I could drive it, just not to anywhere where it might be stolen - like a parking lot since I'd have to leave it WITH the key in it.

so I got the other one (old) - it's in shop down the road today. otherwise the 2 of them set somewhere on my 2.5 acres. in the open, there's lot of space for that. wish I had at least a carport and a shed. maybe 1 of those will happen this next yr.

no boat or anything - but dbf does have a trailer to haul stuff out here. sometimes his dozer - oh, and the 'forks' that make it into a forklift. but the dozer is being used elsewhere right now. The 'forks' are still here.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 5:55PM
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We have a wide frontage. Two car shop/garage and right now one 10 by 30 attached carport. Waiting on the snow to go away to build the second carport on the back side of the shop.

So we have two trucks. One inside garage one outside garage but will eventually go into one of the carports.

We have ford focus car and it fits nicely in the garage so in front of it DH has his work bench and beside it is freezer and large storage cabinet.

We have a 16 foot trailer we keep at friends ranch as he needs to use it more often than we do. Joe used to haul his skid steer on it but we sold the skid steer.

Then we do have a small boat on trailer in the carport now. And the Polaris side by side we use for work plowing snow and play in good weather. So yes I look out my kitchen window at a boat.

My flower/veggie gardens are scattered all over the yard on half an acre and some I have to be actually out in the yard to see. So the yard is blocking the view of the yard.

I do have a garden shed I keep the mowers in.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 6:02PM
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Hmmm, just as I thought. It is difficult these days, in the suburban experience, to keep control of the vehicle parking. Jay is about to solve his problems, by moving away from the confinement.

Young-gardener is only beginning to taste the issues which come with raising a family. If anything like my DH's daughter's house, up in New England, they now have a new concern. My granddaughter turned 16, and she got a VW Bug for her birthday. Used. Their house is dug into the side of a rockbound slope, barely enough space for the parents two cars. Now the bug. No driveway behind the parking pad, it is just the blind entry into the street going backwards out of the garage. So they have a little space down a long walkway, their lot comes to a point at an intersection, so down there will sit the little bug, pending creation of a new pile of rocks big enough for the bug. Hopefully out of the ice and snow, since they get so much of that.

Anyway, that is what prompted me to think along these lines. No one has the wherewithall to do major construction to park a car these days. So I am waiting to see what the daughter wants to do. She is so very H&G with everything perfect all the time, we'll have to see what happens next.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 7:47PM
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Our suburban "Pig Snout" home has room in the garage for two cars - if we were not living here with a, ll of our junk! I never got the mess from the kitchen remodel cleaned up before the cold weather hit! Add to that all the cardboard and the wooden pallet from the sauna that was delivered at New Yewars, and the garage is quite full. Oh - and DH's new desk and the old bookshelves that I am waiting to FreeCycle!

Outside the pig snout garage door, we can park four smallish cars, two by two. If the cars are small enough, the sidewalk will not be blocked. We have my PT Cruiser and DH's Chevy Impala in the driveway when we are at home. My friend parks in the street when she comes by. If we do not have snow, that works fine. If we have show, all cars must be in the driveway. I had visions of getting the garage clean enough for my car to park there this winter, but the cold weather caught me unprepared, so the garage is waiting until Spring to be cleaned again.

No boats or cycles or lawn tractors for us. Not even a pick-up truck.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 10:54PM
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We're lucky to have both a basement and a garage (neither of which is standard issue in our older urban neighborhood), so we keep all the bikes and bike trailer in the basement and the car and DH's scooter in the garage, for the most part. Our driveway is like young-gardener's---you could fit three cars, but you'd have to move them all to get in or out. Fortunately we only have one car, so it works most of the time---though the scooter is a pain if it's parked in a bad spot. We do have to walk outside from garage to house, but that's pretty common around here, where lots of garages are detached---you get used to it pretty quickly. About a quarter of our neighbors have garages, I'd say; the rest park on the street or in carports. Our city does enforce rules about commercial vehicles and motor homes parked on the street (they can't be there more than a certain number of hours) so I know people who have those have a lot of trouble if they don't have off-street parking, and sometimes have to rent spots. It doesn't snow here so our friends with boats keep them in the water year-round. There are only a few kids in our neighborhood who are old enough to drive, but none of them has a car, that I know of.

I do really like having a small car both for the space it saves in our garage (garage is a "two-car" circa 1920, so very small by today's standards, and we have laundry and all sorts of yard supplies in there too) and because there's a lot of parallel parking in city life, so it's nice to nab spaces that others have to pass by. Where we live, there's car-sharing, so we have a membership to that and can reserve a pickup truck or van or other larger car when we need one if our car is just too small. My husband would really like to go car-free when this car dies (hopefully no time soon!) and use the garage as a workshop space instead, but that might be overly optimistic---we'll see!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 11:47PM
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Well yes, I have brought this topic up before but it didn't seem to go anywhere. I also mentioned it during a recent discussion of the practicality (or lack thereof) of many of Ross Chapin's neighborhoods where you park a good distance away from your house and haul everything in. Again, not much reponse.

If I could build from scratch I would be targeting about 1,000sf of well laid out space. But all of the sketches I have played with don't seem to work well with an attached garage, it just kills the aethstetics. I have a detached carport now with no walkway connecting it to the house, just grass. I have to sweep every other day and the harwood floors still feels gritty an hour later. Not a good arrangement. But with the location of the carport and lack of a hard-surface driveway a concrete walkway would look out of place. Stepping stones, a hassle to mow around. I want a concrete driveway back! But these are things you endure while paying for a divorce.

So yes, I agree, covered parking and small home design does create a contradiction.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 7:05AM
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I have a long 1-car width driveway going to a detached garage. The driveway itself fits 4 cars with plenty of breathing space. 5 cars if parked tight.

Rarely have that many guests...and my street has plenty of room for parking.

I park in the garage only over winter, and everything has to be put away like a perfectly-packed suitcase to park in there for easy entry/exit. Rest of the year, I park 1/2 way up the driveway. This leaves plenty of room at the top half (with privacy thanks to my parked car) for playing with sidewalk chalk, kiddie pool, and sitting area.

Also, I'm a big spring/summer when not parked in the garage, I use it as my space to spread out the tools and "stuff" without feeling pressured to keep everything neat and organized 24/7.

I've got a good layout where my backdoor path leads to the driveway and the plants are cute, so a driveway setup for guests and play is actually really nice.

No boats or other big things. If I were to ever get something like that, I would make sure my budget allows for off-site storage because implements like that would junk up my place. The driveway area would be no good, and I'd have to park/store those things in the yard.

That's my story.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 8:41AM
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LOL. Interesting topic that DH and I have squabbled over. We live on 3 acres and have....a barn with horses...which leads to a horse trailer....a tractor....a flatbed trailer for hauling hay...a small dump trailer for hauling away "stuff"...a 3/4 ton truck to haul all of those. We also have a camper for our truck...a camper shell which we switch on and off with the camper....a small car...and an SUV. Oh wait....and a boat. And DD is turning 15 this summer.

And we do not have a garage:( So they all look like little ducks in a row out by the barn. *sigh* This year is the year for our garage. It's going to have to be hidously huge to house half of it. Wish there was a place that rented "parking" space so I didn't have to look at it!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 10:12AM
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Hi, Scott, not sure if I was around when the parking question came up before, I do not recall any. But then, I've not been here as long as you have either.

I have a lot of bricks bordering flowerbeds now, and most of them I turn flat so that I can put the lawnmower wheel on them. No problem, because the blade is set for its highest position, we need the grass blades shading the roots here in the summer heat. Then I have in the past continued the flat bricks as a narrow 2-brick end-to-end our double row of flat bricks walkway to get to the garage , and that little walkway also wound up being a flower border too. We removed it when they poured al the cement, and I'm about to lay it back in a curved pattern to allow for a 3 tiered fountain to go in front of that end wall of the garage. To keep algae from growing on the garage wall, I will plant only leriope, and maybe position pots of geraniums amidst them as they fill in the space. I love leriope, never needs cutting. I will also have to get some cement pavers to create more pathways, because DH tracks in grass clippings and clumps of sawdust and doggy poop, and I must keep that from happening so frequently. If you play your cards right, those pathways cause no problem with the lawnmower.

Of course, you can always mix up a bag of Quikcrete and pour it into forms and make your own sidewalk as well. But that is a lot of work. I go with the cement squares from Home Depot/Lowes laid end-to-end and high enough to keep my feet out of the puddles.

LV7310, I have a friend with horses, and am familiar with that situation. Just having a structure with "bays" for the vehicles would be an improvement. They have some of those quonset hut looking things, tube buildings? forget what they are called. But you can drive straight through because big doors at both ends. and work on your vehicles inside under cover. Also, what I like is a traditional looking thing with the bays, but instead of a long building, make it have bays on both sides. Tin roof would be the most expensive part of it. The rest just posts holding it up, and a trim to make it pretty. A gabled huge carport. A white board fence would really make it look like a ranch.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 11:11AM
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Here in FL, they have created their own problem. Many homes were built for retirees or snow birds, who only have one car, and relatively little stuff to store. Lots are tiny, since a big lawn is a liability when you're retired and living in a hot climate. As the area developed, families arrived, and bought the same houses. First you have two cars, then the kids grow up, and you've got cars all over the place.

The next problem is the laws that they have passed. The town north of us passed an ordinance that you couldn't park a trailered boat anywhere in the front of your house. In Florida??! Since most houses are built to 6' from the property line, you can't get the boat in the side or back yard, so people were forced to get rid of their boats, or pay to store them somewhere else. Another law they passed is that you couldn't have a vehicle more than 17' long in your driveway. Some intrepid reporter discovered that the Mayor's large luxury car was in fact 17'6", and thus in violation of the law!

And so it goes here in the dense suburbs of west central FL. I had a run-in with the law over an unregistered vehicle once. The law here (and actually in most states now) is that an non-operational or unregistered vehicle has to be kept inside a building, not even in the back yard. My business had gone under, and in the pandemonium, I brought home a perfectly acceptable pick-up truck, but it was not registered. Knowing the law, I backed it up to the garage so the plate would not be visible from the street. Within a few days, the code enforcement officer showed up, telling me I had two weeks to move the vehicle or get an active tag on it. I asked how he knew it wasn't registered, and he said he looked at it. I asked if he went snooping around checking every vehicle in town. No- Someone, a 'good' neighbor had reported it. That means one of the local busy-bodies went on my property, without my permission, just to see if I had a current tag on the truck!

OK- That's enough of a rant. I guess I was born too late- I don't react well to the myriad rules and regulations dictating every small detail of my life.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 4:43PM
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DH and I started thinking about this issue recently. We love our current house and its three acres. But we're thinking of eventually moving back closer to town, which would put us in a typical neighborhood lot of some shape or fashion. Nevermind all of the stuff we'd have to get rid of, we have five things with wheels on them that would need to park somewhere: My SUV, his vehicle, his Karmann Ghia, a 6' x 10' cargo trailer, and a 5' x 8' utility trailer.

We saw a wonderful bungalow on a hilly city lot this weekend. We could simplify and work with the house quite well. But the parking was, in a word, absent. The current owner parks on the street, some 20 steps below the front porch. There is an alley in the back, some 20 steps above the back porch. But this house has not had a garage or parking pad put in, and to do so would consume all or part of the small grassed backyard area, and would cost $$$. That, and I'm just too old and cranky to be doing all that climbing.

And I don't want to be the one responsible for making a neighborhood look ghetto with all my vehicles. Some good friends moved into a new garden home community three years ago. All the houses have 2-car garages, but most folks have junk in the garages, so have to park in the driveways, which are only one vehicle deep. That means folks are parking car #3/trailer/boat either on the street, or on the grass next to the driveway. It just looks bad, and I wouldn't want to be the one doing it. For that reason, DH and I agreed we'd steer clear of houses/lots that don't allow for fairly hidden parking for the cargo trailer, and that we'd probably get rid of the little utility trailer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Adorable bungalow with impossible lot

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 6:22PM
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OH My friends just sold a to die for house in Birmingham. Gave the place away because they moved to TX. Was a gorgeous house with gorgeous yard. Anyway this house in the link is also gorgeous.WOW Love it. too bad about the parking.

Some thing just triggered a remembrance from my childhood. We had a house in Los Altos that actually had what they called a boat yard. The people did keep their boat in this yard beside the garage behind a 6 foot privacy fence. And there was another fence behind the backed in boat. So it really was just the boat yard. LOL We always called it that even though the people took the boat with them. was a great place for the garbage cans and what not. Was not covered but protected from dogs and view.

At this point it does not bug me to look out and see the boat in the carport. If it does I can always screen it off with shade cloth. A solid wall might get caved in with the snow sliding off the roof. But then we are really rural here and all of this is acceptable. I would prefer to look out and see nothing but lovely but it is what it is. Maybe I will try some morning glories on the carport.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 7:41PM
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ML- I should take a picture of the house across the street. THey turned the side yard into a parking area. They have 4 kids and one has started driving since we moved in. So, between parents, child, and child's friends, it's a parking lot over there! They fill the parking area and usually have someone on the street. THere is a garage, but the kids have their drums set up in it. :) I'm not excited about that part of family life. LOL!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 10:08PM
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Oh boy, drums in the garage and a parking lot to the side.
My middle granddaughter plays guitar and has a drum set which is in her bedroom. I keep thinking of HEART, you know. Maybe when she gets old enough to date, the drums will go into storage, but also her friends might just form a rock group and need to practice somewhere. I forsee that some good headphones may be nice Christmas presents for the whole family. :) This GD is not the one who just turned 16 and got a VW bug. What I'm wanting to see is what happens when MY littlest GD grows up, she is the wild child. They say she is a lot like me, for some reason.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 10:28AM
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We don't have a garage. We did have a carport but DH decided to use it for other purposes, so we park our cars outside. We do have a tight turn at the house, so when DH got a new vehicle, he got a smaller one that could take the turn easier.

A year or two ago, we added extra parking along the driveway for guest parking. It works out nicely.

Here's an aerial shot, I outlined the two parking areas in white:

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 10:20PM
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We have a circular driveway which I pull in, almost out the other end, and then I back the car in alongside the sun porch. It thus leaves the circular part free. When we put in the privacy fence on the sun porch side, I had a 12 foot-wide gate area to access the back yard, very wise to do so, because the contractors use it a lot. I also widened the parking pad about 3 feet so both driver and passenger could get out of the car and not step into the dirt of my flowerbeds. Now, I just move over as far as I can to leave a wide walkway to the big gate, only one side of which we use for passage.

But I'm wanting a very small car when we HAVE to get another one. My SUV is 8 years old but only 70K miles on it, and DH's car in MA is 12 and has only 45K miles on it. He uses the SUV to haul lumber and building supplies, so I see it staying with us. We hardly need TWO vehicles, not cost effective, but geewhizz you cannot haul stuff in a small car. That car sharing plan sounds mighty interesting, never heard of such a thing before. How does it work, Artemis78?

And Jay, you'll soon be moving away from the "good" neighbor who turns you our next door guy. In fact, first day back from his vacation, he gets on his roof to leaf blow, and sat down w/legs hanging off where he was facing our yard. He is so curious what we are doing over here. This time I took pictures of him up there with nary a leaf anywhere. Maybe lots of pollen, but nothing else.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 10:52PM
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