The driveway is an essential element of your home’s curb appeal, as it’s usually the first thing passers-by notice after your main entrance. In addition, your driveway is a feature that is going to be driven on every day, so its design needs to include both aesthetics and durability. An expertly designed driveway borrows from the surrounding landscape, as well as your home’s architecture. Let’s browse through he most popular materials that are slowly but surely displacing unimaginative and unsightly cast concrete.
This relatively inexpensive option is made with a combination of tar and macadam chip. It’s a step up from a loose material design, as chips are loose stones, but once the tar is poured over them, the mixture is rolled, resulting in solid, durable, and resilient surface. Depending on regional vendors, this driveway building method is also known as seal chip, chip-and- seal, and liquid asphalt and stone. Keep in mind though, that although driveways like this are considered among the least expensive options, with an average price of $3-4 per square foot, they are not designed for heavy loads, and might need adding another layer of tar and chip after each 10-year period.
A bed of gravel
A driveway made of pea gravel or crushed stone is an old option that seems to reinvent itself every few seasons. Although reasonably functional and highly decorative, this driveway design has several drawbacks, so these days, specialists recommend combining gravel with modern stone-imitating pavers that add some durability without obstructing stormwater from percolating into the ground – a feature that made loose stone driveways popular in regions with heavy precipitation. Apart from sandy gravel, which is the most popular loose material, keep an eye for Crush N Run, a mixture of granite fines and #57 rock. Due to its amazing packing ability it’s used as a base for new highways.
Engineered to highlight the aesthetic appeal of concrete, exposed aggregate mimics the timeless beauty of natural stone, but without the associated issues like pavers, tiles, ingrown weeds, and elaborate maintenance. While taking less time to install than natural or faux stone pavers, aggregated concrete fits the shape of your driveway without need for cutting, makes creating circular, curved, or odd-shaped driveways much easier. Apart from a range of tailored colours and textures, homeowners order exposed aggregate mainly because of its ease of maintenance and resilience to spills, as the inert component it bound into a uniform mass. Compressive strengths and abrasion resistance of this compound makes it a material of choice for both domestic and commercial applications.
While grass is known to grow and thrive in neglected driveway areas, the latest trend of drivable grass is a DIY option that is taking root, pardon the pun, with many homeowners who’re looking for a green alternative to traditional materials. Drivable grass is a flexible, plantable, and permeable concrete paving system of 2 by 2 foot mats made of concrete muffins connected by a polymer grid. The grid allows the system to adapt to uneven ground surfaces without disintegrating. The grass surface maintains the rich, healthy look with minimized wheel rutting. Unlike other grass pavers with cellular grid of planting spaces, the thin profile of these mats allows for a continuous root system below, which prevents moisture evaporation. These features make driving grass ideal for boat and RV parking, as well as for pet digging control.
Made of cement or concrete, interlocking pavers are shaped in a variety of compound geometric shapes, like melded hexagons, allowing them to interlock with other pavers of the same type. Homeowners who like to do things DIY-way prefer this option as it doesn’t require the use of mortar. Once installed, interlocking pavers emulate the appearance of cobblestone pathways, and can be stylized with different pattern and colour combinations for a more personal design. Keep in mind, though, that both cement and concrete are porous materials, so in the long run these pavers can become stained by oil residue and other contaminants – nothing a power-hose washing won’t solve.
After you’ve set your budget and design goals, choose the driveway material that accommodates your needs. Whichever option you choose, a failsafe approach is to go minimalist, especially if you have a small yard. While you can play with shapes a colours, make sure you keep things simple, as you don’t want your driveway to steal all the show.