A driveway can be a very important decision when building or renovating your property. They take up a lot of your street frontage, set the tone for the home and garden and take a bashing from heavy cars and kids bikes. Such an important piece in the landscape can also be a costly one too so you need to make the right decision first time.
A solid driveway is the go-to for most people however permeable paving solutions should at least be considered. Having a surface that will allow rainwater to penetrate through will reduce run off, take strain of the stormwater drains, and help support surrounding plant growth in a healthier more natural way.
Gravel is a great way to introduce a surface that allows water through, it gives a softer appearance to the front of your house, its light on the hip pocket and sounds delightful when you walk on it (which will have to be done shoes on!). The major downside is its ability to move and shift around, so its best suited to a flat site. Gravel can really be dressed up with some decorative banding added to the edges and through the body of the driveway which will also aid in stabilising the surface.
De-co granite is a fine gravel like product that is stabilised through mixing cement into it. It’s still allows water to get through but forms more of a hard crust so can take a little more wear and tear than a fine gravel but will still form ruts and divots over time. This surface is great for natural or native gardens and is also a cost-effective option for a driveway.
If you want something hard wearing that will also allow water through to the subsoil, then look at concrete permeable pavers. These interlock giving you a hard surface for heavy vehicles but have gaps in the paving that can be planted with ground covers or filled with a fine decorative gravel.
If you have children that use the driveway that are hoping to ride a bike or bounce a basketball then you’ll probably want to go for a solid surface. Concrete is often used as the base layer to many driveways and then a decorative finish can go on top of it however it can also be coloured and finished so no extra surface is required on top of it. Concrete is however costly as it also requires the addition of steel to reinforce it making it strong enough to have turning vehicles upon it. It should also be considered that after laying you cannot park a car on it for 21 days as it needs time to cure to full strength.
To dress up your concrete you can apply a stencil or pattern to the finish, this helps to soften the overall look of the concrete however it can also make the space feel busy and messy so consider your space well before making this decision. If you have existing concrete or are matching some old and new sections, you can apply an epoxy finish over the whole surface to give an even new look to the whole driveway. This often has a fleck of colour over a base layer and is a sophisticated and inexpensive way of dressing up the driveway.
If you really want to make a statement and feel investing in your driveway works for your property adding a cobblestone finish to the surface will give you an upmarket look and feel. When selecting a hard surface for the driveway try to pick something that comes in a small unit size, something like a brick or a 100mmx100mm cobble is perfect. Driveways are often curved and have levels that need to be worked into the design and large format paving stones simply don’t have the flex to accommodate these restraints.