Whether you want to resolve a practical problem, improve the curb appeal of your property or simply make your home look more attractive, laying a new driveway can really make a difference. It requires a bit of upfront investment, but it really pays off. If done properly, it can remain in good condition for decades. What matters is getting the design and planning stage right.

Permission

Before you start, do your research and find out if there are any local ordinances that limit what you’re allowed to do with your driveway. These are particularly common in historic areas and you don’t want to risk being forced to redo the whole thing after it’s complete.

Budgeting

Make sure you can afford to complete the whole project in one go to a satisfactory standard. Be wary of going for the cheapest options, which usually don’t last very long, but make sure you don’t get stuck with a half-finished driveway which is likely to deteriorate before you can save up enough to cover the remaining work.

Access

Think about who will be using your driveway. If your household has more than one car or people frequently drive to visit you, make sure there’s a point where cars can pass each other. This doesn’t mean that your driveway has to be double width all the way along. Unless you want to reverse all the way out, you can also use your passing point as a turning circle.

Drainage

It’s vital that your driveway has adequate drainage or water will pool on it and damage the surface or run into the street and lead to complaints. Using a pervious material like aggregate concrete is a good way to work around this problem by reducing runoff. Alternatively, surround your driveway with flowerbeds to soak up water the natural way.

Shape

Straight edges can look very stylish in some contexts but curves appear more stylish in general and add more to your home’s perceived worth. You can soften the appearance of your driveway further by surrounding it with trees or shrubs which, if tall enough, will also provide shade for any vehicles parked there.

Edging

If you want to emphasize the shape of your driveway for a smarter look, consider using contrasting edging materials. These could be anything from neatly aligned bricks or natural boulders to specially treated timber.

Lighting

Built-in lighting is extremely useful and will really make an impression on visitors. You can use motion sensors so it’s not on all the time or choose solar lanterns which soak up light during the day and then glow at night. Consider uplighters or lights built into posts at the edges of the driveway.

A good driveway can raise the value of your property by as much as 10%. If you’ve been driving home along poorly maintained public roads it feels wonderful to glide towards your house with comfort and control. Investing in your driveway really makes a statement about your home and the way you choose to live, so take your time and make sure you get it right.