First Impressions: Choosing the driveway
Is the look of your driveway letting your property down? Is it slippery, unsafe, falling apart or is it there at all? Like a well dressed man in scuffed shoes so too is a beautiful home with an ugly driveway. The same applies to ugly front gardens, ugly front doors and ugly garages...
If you are looking to install a new driveway, the possibilities are many: grass, concrete, asphalt, gravel, paving… The reasons why one is better for you over another can vary. Your block may be steep, slightly inclined or flat; rocky, sandy or muddy… Not last, the look you're after as well as your budget is always an important consideration, always playing a part in the final choice.
Whether you prefer to call in the professionals, or you venture into a DIY project, here are a few points for you to consider:
A good ground preparation is always a must, as it will guarantee a long lasting and durable finish to the driveway.
For a block which is inclined, the steeper it is, the greater the need for thicker texture. This will allow your car's tyres a stronger grip as well as making it safer to walk up and down without slipping.
Considering your water flow is also essential. Uneven surfaces may cause puddles, growth of moss and slippery surfaces. A solid surface driveway will stop ground water absorption and in heavy rain this will cause a large amount of water to flow down along it with force. Where will the water end? Are drainage gutters needed? This is especially important if the driveway inclines towards the house.
Finally the aesthetic choice, which will influence the overall look and value of your property. Have a walk around your area, take pictures, search the web and start picking the finish that will work best for your own home. Once you have found a few favourites, focus on what would better suit your property and consider the neighbouring ones too. Blending in with neighbouring properties will be visually pleasing and ultimately add value to your home., it doesn't mean you all have to look the same, as similar but different styles, will add interest as well as continuity to your street.
Following are a few examples of paved driveways. I have taken these photos in display home villages which provide a never-ending display of product choice and new aesthetic solutions.
There are many finishes available for driveways these days, all coming in different prices and looks. Remember that what suits some properties may not suit yours. Ask your neighbours and friends, learn from others’ mistakes, and consider if the expense of a professionally built driveway isn’t after all a safer and better investment than a DIY.
Finally, remember the importance of a good first impression. Whether you wish to sell, rent out or live in, there is no doubt that the right or wrong driveway is an investment that will ultimately add or detract from the overall value of your property. It will also provide you with a safe, practical and beautiful looking home.
James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James Treble has more than 25 years of experience in the Building Industry and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from. Interior Design For Profit is now available online.