Driveway ideas range from regular gravel to asphalt. Learn different types of the driveway and why you must have one.
The driveway is a must-have feature in most modern homes, and not just because of its function. But, many driveway ideas offer not only entryways but also special aesthetic.
Regular driveways may be small, narrow, wide, or long, but different materials make them special. Whether you choose gravel, brick, concrete, or asphalt, make sure each choice is the best for your home.
Why You Need Good Driveways?
Homeowners or home buyers often neglect driveways when it comes to choosing house features. They think that driveways only serve functional purposes.
However, a poorly-constructed driveway can reduce your house’s visual aesthetic. It can also reduce its value and create future difficulties around the house.
Driveways may add costs to your house-building plan, but there are several benefits of constructing one. They are:
- Following the residential regulations; Some cities, especially in North America, require houses to have driveways. Depending on where you live, there may be requirements about the sizes and materials. Regardless, building a driveway is a way to follow regulations.
- Easier to store vehicles; Driveways allow your vehicles to enter smoothly to the garage, especially if your home has uneven ground texture or height. Without a driveway, you will have difficulties in bringing your car smoothly into and out of the garage.
- Clearing extra space on the street; If you live in a neighborhood with the narrow street, having a proper driveway is important to clear some space. It is important in a place where individual parking space is coveted.
- Adding value to your property; A driveway will add value to your house, even if it is small. A well-built and properly-maintained driveway can increase the cost of your home when you decide to sell it.
- Guiding the guests; If you live in a house with a large lot and yard, your guests may be a little “lost” when they look for a place to park their vehicles. Adding a driveway (and maybe fences) can help in to guide them when visiting you.
- Creating a nice first look; A driveway will “lead” your guests’ view toward the house, creating more inviting visual. It can create a positive impression, especially if your goal is to attract a buyer.
- Protecting your yard/lawn; The driveway will give your car a reversed path to go into and out of the garage. It means the other areas of the lawn/yard are untouched. You can plant border flowers or create landscape gardens and even vegetable beds around the driveway.
- Distinguishing the properties of different homeowners; If you live in an area where homes are not bordered, driveways help to tell the difference between homeowners. By installing a driveway, you create a visual clue that the path leads to your personal property, not someone else’s.
- Providing additional space for outdoor activities; Many houses with wide driveways use the extra surface for outdoor activities. In North America, using a driveway as a place for a garage sale is common. Some homeowners may install a basketball hoop on the garage wall and use the driveway as a place for playing.
Driveways don’t require too much cost to maintain. With little spending, you can improve your property’s value and get all these benefits!
Types of Driveway Materials
There are numerous materials available to make driveways. Some of them are cheap, while others boast durability and luxurious feeling. Make sure you know the characteristics of each material before choosing one to make a driveway.
Gravel Driveway Ideas
Gravel (crushed rocks) is one of the most popular cheap materials to make a driveway. It creates a rustic look and looks perfect even in a modern house. You can combine it with a lawn or garden beds.
Depending on your home design, you can find the gravel mix that has specific shades or gradations.
Your gravel options are usually limited to local minerals. Dusty crushed stones are perfect for a rustic look, while washed stones are cleaner.
If you have extra money, you can choose pea gravels or marble chips for more upscale looks.
- Cheap and easy to find
- Easy to install, does not always require professional service
- The maintenance is inexpensive
- Uneven surface provides good traction for the tires
- Numerous material options (especially if you aim for local materials)
- Less slippery, perfect for a house with children or the elderly
- Not stable enough to hold heavyweight due to loose rock fragments
- May experience drainage and erosion problems, especially during the rainy season
- Poor placement can result in an untidy look
Crushed Shells Driveway Ideas
Crushed hard shells may not be popular, but it is an interesting alternative to regular gravel. Crushed shells are usually available in coastal areas, and they are as cheap as gravel.
Typical shells to use are scallops, clams, and oysters. They are perfect for homeowners with an environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
- Cheap and easy to find (depending on areas)
- Easy to install, can be used as a DIY project
- Good drainage
- Environmentally friendly
- Offers good traction, not slippery
- Not suitable for the driveway with heavy vehicle traffic
- Unsuitable for areas with heavy snow
- Uncomfortable to walk on
- Not durable and weather quickly under the sun
Resin Driveway Ideas
Resin driveway consists of gravel base that is bound with resin compound. While the surface still looks like gravel, it provides more tightly-bound rock fragments than regular gravel.
Resin gives you that rustic or traditional look without all the troubles from loose rock fragments.
Compared to gravel, resin-bound driveway looks a little smoother. It also creates less noise when the vehicle rolls on it. Regular maintenance is necessary to avoid patches or cracks.
- Gives traditional look and convenience
- Provides good traction for the tires
- Free of the drainage problem
- Smoother than gravel
- Cheap and easy to maintain
- Unsuitable for heavy driveway traffic
- Mold and moss can grow on the surface without proper maintenance
- Poor installation may result in cracks and patches
Tar and Chip Driveway Ideas
Also known as “Macadam,” tar and chip consist of gravel that is covered with tar. After the tar is poured onto the gravel, stone chips are spread on the surface, making them stick to the surface.
The result is a unique, rustic-looking surface that provides more stability than regular gravel.
- Inexpensive, only slightly more expensive than basic gravel
- Provide better traction for vehicle tires
- More durable than gravel
- Easy maintenance
- Less hot during summer, making it easier to walk on
- Unsuitable for areas with heavy snow buildup
- Not always available in all areas
- Requires the specialized contractor to maintain
- Prone to cracks and holes
Brick Paving Driveway Ideas
Brick paving provides a classic look that was so popular on the olden days (and making a comeback now). It is perfect for a home with traditional or rustic design, especially next to vegetable or flower beds.
Brick paving is usually unsuitable for homes with heavy driveway traffic, but the strong base and proper maintenance can solve the problem.
- Cheap and easy to install, perfect for the DIY project
- Suitable for almost all home designs
- Can last for 20 to 25 years with proper maintenance
- Perfect for areas with dry to moderate climates/weather patterns
- Unsuitable for areas with heavy rain
- Hard to use a snowblower on it
- Mold and grasses can grow easily on or between the bricks
- Will weather over the time with sun exposure
- Requires regular washing and sealing
Cobblestone Paving Driveway Ideas
If you love the look of a paved driveway, but hates clay bricks’ vulnerability, cobblestone paving is a great choice. Cobblestones are usually made of basalt, granite, or other hardy materials.
Granite cobblestones are beautiful, giving the “European street” look that can increase the value of your home. They are also durable and can last for as long as 50 to 100 years with proper maintenance.
- Stronger than traditional clay bricks
- Durable and does not crack easily
- Stain resistant (for granite)
- The texture gives good traction for the tires
- Easy to maintain, only needs weeding and washing
- Full installation is expensive
- Easy to install, but requires intensive laboring
- Difficult to use a snowblower on its surface
Asphalt Driveway Ideas
Asphalt is a common option for the modern and durable driveway. Its dark color may look unattractive to some people, but it can blend nicely with various home elements.
You can choose regular asphalt that looks smooth and sleek. You can also spice the driveway up with stamped asphalt that has unique patterns. If maintained properly, an asphalt driveway can last 10 to 12 years.
- Looks modern and sleek, perfect for all home designs
- Suitable for creative garden or landscape ideas
- Durable and water-resistant
- Installation service is easy to find
- Can be slippery, especially in areas with a heavy downpour
- Absorbs heat during summer, making it uncomfortable to walk on
- Requires immediate attention when holes or cracks appear
Concrete Driveway Ideas
Concrete is a favorite driveway material for homeowners who want little maintenance. Concrete is durable and perfect for homes in areas with a heavy downpour.
The concrete driveway is usually smooth, but there are options for concrete blocks and stamped concrete. They create nice visuals without being excessive.
Another nice variation is interlocked concrete blocks. They look like regular patterned concrete surface, but the interlocking design helps in binding them more strongly. Interlocked concrete blocks also have a more interesting look than regular blocks.
- Durable and strong, only needs little maintenance
- Has no drainage problem
- Perfect for modern homes
- Can handle heavy driveway traffic
- More expensive than asphalt
- Decorative elements require more maintenance
- Difficult to install, requires professional service
- Total maintenance neglect can cause concrete stain
Exposed Aggregate Driveway Ideas
Exposed aggregate is a mixture of concrete and gravel. Unlike standard concrete, which looks smooth (except when stamped), exposed aggregate has prominent textures.
The rock fragments or pebbles are visible and noticeable on the surface. Regular concrete and exposed aggregate are both durable, but the latter is slightly more prone to cracks.
Because the rock fragments are visible, they are often chosen for their visuals. Smooth pebbles, granite fragments, or cobalt are popular for the exposed aggregate surface. The prices may vary depending on the type of the rocks used.
- Provides more traction for the tires
- Less slippery surface than poured concrete, perfect for rainy days or home with kids
- Has unique visual thanks to the exposed rock fragments
- Durable and lasts for many years with proper maintenance
- Cracks more easily than regular concrete
- Cannot stand power washer for cleaning
- Prone to dirt due to textured surface that can trap particles
- The weather quickly under natural elements
Choosing the right material for your driveway is important. Make sure you consider several aspects at your home.
For example, how intense is the traffic on your driveway? What kind of final look do you want to see?
How is the weather or the climate in your area? Moreover, how much can you spend on installation and regular maintenance?
List several possible materials that fulfill the requirements before choosing.
You must also consider the decorations around the driveway, including the long-term remodeling plan. Some driveways may look good next to a landscaped yard, while others are better for vegetable beds that require constant watering.
Tips to Decorate around Driveways
Depending on the design, you should decorate driveways. Proper decorations help to improve the property value and aesthetic.
If your driveway only leads to the regular garage, you can keep the decoration minimal. However, if it leads to the front door or patio, think about the decoration more carefully.
If you install textured driveway material, such as cobblestone or exposed aggregate, it can double as decoration. You can add simple edging, such as from stones or bricks, to create more defined lines. Determine which area you want to emphasize and focus the decoration on that part.
Decoration a driveway with flowers requires more planning. For example, if your area experiences heavy winter, choose flowers that can withstand salt expose (especially the ones planted near the sideroad).
If you want to draw attention toward your front door, then plant perennial flowers that can withstand severe weather on the driveway’s edges.
The driveway is an important part of your exterior because it provides beauty and function. Different materials provide various benefits and downsides, and each of them caters to different homeowners. Choose the best driveway ideas for your properties and see how they improve both the looks and the values.