If you’ve got a home or a property, you need a driveway. In fact, it’s probably the most essential aspect of your front yard design. You need to put particular focus on choosing the right driveway because it is both a functional and aesthetic aspect of your property.
So, here are five things to consider.
Money makes the world go ‘round, and that’s why the cost is the first consideration. The amount you can spend will have a significant effect on the design and material you opt for. For example, natural stone, like bluestone, slate or sandstone are a great design option, but they are more expensive than concrete.
A simple straight driveway will also be far less expensive than a larger, or more elaborate design like a circular or horseshoe shape.
You need to have a clear budget set before you begin the project. Once you have that budget set, you can start investigating the design and material options.
What is your driveway for?
The obvious answer is that it’s a means for you to get your car onto your property but when you think about it, you may use it for a lot more than that. For example, do you have a boat? A caravan? How many cars do you have and how heavy are they? Is it a parking place or just a connecting space?
If you only own a single sedan or hatchback, a paved or natural stone driveway could be an option. However, if you have a heavier car, or use your driveway to transport or store heavy-duty vehicles or machinery your only option is concrete.
Concrete is the most durable driveway material available, and when poured correctly it will be able to handle the weight and force of heavy vehicles and machinery without cracking. Paved options are far more susceptible to fracturing than concrete, meaning you’ll have to replace them frequently.
The design of your driveway needs to suit the design of your property’s façade. If you have a heritage property, you don’t want to go with an ultra-modern design, or it will be jarring. If you have an ultra-modern home, don’t go for a heritage design.
You also need to select a design that suits your needs. Do you just want a simple one car driveway, or do you have space to create a circular or horseshoe design that could also function as a walkway or a design piece for your front yard?
No matter what design you go for, you need to pay attention to landscaping. To merely lay a driveway is a waste of design potential. Your driveway should be a focal point for you to design your front landscape around.
An easy landscaping option is to line your driveway with shrubs. These are better than trees as the roots don’t spread as far, meaning they won’t crack your driveway. You can also line your driveway with other plants, like low-maintenance Yuccas, or high-maintenance but undeniably beautiful roses.
How many of us actually get to enjoy our weekends?
Finding free time is already hard enough, so don’t make it harder by choosing a high-maintenance driveway choice. If you love pavers and natural stone, you need to be aware that you’ll have to devote some time to pulling weeds out from between the cracks, regrouting and replacing cracked and chipped sections. If you can accept that, then a paved or stone driveway is a great option.
If you can’t accept that, you need to go for a concrete driveway.
Concrete driveways are incredibly low-maintenance. In fact, they only have to be sealed every 5-10 years, and they will virtually last forever. You also don’t have to sacrifice on design if you opt for a concrete driveway, thanks to the following design techniques:
- Exposed Aggregate: This technique reveals the aggregate in the mix for a beautifully textured aesthetic.
- Coloured Concrete: Escape the grey, and use painted concrete to create your dream palette.
- Stamped Concrete: Replicate high-end finishes like marble and sandstone without the cost with this imprinting technique.
- Stencil Concrete: Imitate your favourite finish or design, or come up with a stencil all of your own.
- Slate Concrete: If you want the stunning visual of slate combined with the low-maintenance and low-cost properties of concrete this is the perfect option.
Your Gut Feeling
Remember, this is your driveway so ultimately, you have to choose what’s right for you. While concrete makes sense on so many levels if it has always been your dream to have a stone or paved driveway go for it. It’s all about making an informed decision and understanding precisely what you’ll get for your spend and what you can expect your driveway to look like in 5, 10 and 20 year’s time.