Planning a driveway is no simple task; where do you start? How do you choose the right material? Are there regulations that you need to conform to? Your driveway will give the first impression of your house to any visitors and the right one will greatly increase both the curb appeal of your property and improve your ease of access. This article outlines the five critical elements that you should consider for a well-designed, functional and attractive drive.
If you have a lot of land, or are designing the entire property from scratch then you will likely have more flexibility with regards to the layout than if you’re remodelling. Smaller plots of land lend themselves to a straight driveway; people with larger plots will have more opportunity to play with the layout. This does not necessarily mean, however, that a straight driveway won’t be ideal for a bigger property as the layout will affect the feel of the property and the appearance of the house.
The most common layouts are:
- Straight – a straight line that leads from the road directly to your garage or the front of the house. Great for small properties or those with little space between the road and house. Straight drives also give a good view of the house.
- Curved – A simple curve that is particularly helpful if your garage doesn’t face the road or you have a tree blocking the way.
- Horseshoe – A semi-circular drive that removes the need to turn around or reverse in/out of your driveway. Curved and horseshoe driveways, if well designed, can add heaps of character.
Choosing the right material is paramount for both appearance and performance. The material must provide enough traction even when wet, and fit visually with both the drives of surrounding properties and the character of your house. For example, if the surrounding driveways are concrete then an asphalt surface might be too much of a contrast. Whereas, a large home in a historic, upper-class neighbourhood would be better suited to a brick or cobblestone drive.
Other common materials include:
- Exposed aggregate
- Stone paving
Despite making a huge difference to how well your drive lasts and how easy it is to live with, maintenance is often overlooked. Different materials require different maintenance; cobblestone requires less maintenance than gravel but will cost more. A larger up-front cost may save you money and time in the long run.
Gradient and Width
Chances are that you won’t have much choice with regards to gradient as it falls to the topography of the property. A flat driveway isn’t always best as it won’t have as good drainage. If you don’t have much choice, however, consider raising the centre so water can drain to either side. Your local council will have a minimum and maximum for both gradient and width. Generally, driveways will be between 2.5 and 3 metres in width (5-6m for double garages).
Street access is key as it will dictate how easy and safe it is to enter and exit your property. This will need extra consideration if you live on a busy street or one with restricted view. A smaller property doesn’t allow for much leeway. However, planting smaller plants or installing a mirror or lower fence can also help.
With 21 years’ experience, Simply Driveways is an expert with all things driveways. Contact us today for an obligation-free quote or to simply chat to one of our friendly team members.