Adding a driveway to your property can greatly enhance its appearance. It also serves a practical purpose, providing you and any visitors to your home with a convenient space in which to park your vehicles. Here are a some of the most important things to consider before arranging for the construction of your new driveway.
There are several different materials that you can use to build a driveway; the most popular are concrete, brick and asphalt.
Concrete is one of the most durable options as all that's needed to keep it in good condition is regular cleaning with a pressure washer and a stiff-bristled brush. It can also be customised quite easily, so you can choose a colour and a pattern which blends in nicely with the rest of your property.
However, it's not the ideal choice if you reside in an area with harsh winters, as concrete has a tendency to crack when exposed to very low temperatures. Additionally, concrete may not be the best option if the land on which you intend to build your driveway is sloped, as it can be very hard to pour on a gradient; whilst not impossible, you would need the help of a very skilled contractor to ensure that the concrete is laid smoothly on this type of terrain.
Clay brick is popular amongst homeowners who want a driveway with a more traditional appearance. This material works particularly well with period properties and can add a touch of elegance and sophisticated to any home. However, it is, without question, one of the trickiest driveway materials to keep in good condition. Weeds, for example, tend to spring up between bricks and need to be removed regularly to maintain the driveway's appearance. Additionally, tree roots underneath or near the driveway can lead to the bricks shifting, resulting in unevenness which can cause tyre issues for the vehicles that drive over the affected areas. Brick driveways also need to be sealed each time they are washed, which can be quite a time-consuming process.
Unlike concrete, asphalt usually fares quite well in wintry conditions and as such, may be the right option if you live in a cold climate. Because the installation costs are quite low, this material is ideal for those who are on a budget. It should be noted, however, that although the initial outlay is lower than that associated with a concrete driveway, asphalt is a bit more high-maintenance and will usually need to be resealed at least once every two years or so.
Sizing and shape
If the area in which you'll be building the driveway is quite small, a simple straight shape is usually the only viable option. However, if you have a larger patch of land at the front of your home, you can be a little more creative with the design of your driveway.
When choosing a size and shape, think carefully about how many cars you will realistically need to park in the area; whilst your household may only have one vehicle, you might have a lot of friends and relatives who visit regularly, who will also need plenty of space to park their cars (this is a particularly important point to bear in mind if there is no on-street parking available nearby). In this example, it may be necessary to create a large, circular driveway, to allow for the parking and manoeuvring of multiple vehicles.
In addition to this, consider whether or not you're happy to reverse in and out of the driveway, or whether you want to create extra space for turning around. If your home is right next to a busy road, the latter may be a safer choice.