A driveway offers much more than just an off-street parking space. It also gives you easier access to your home, which is a lifesaver when it comes to getting the kids or shopping bags out of your car safely. It can even add over £8k to your home’s value, according to the Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report: 2021! To add to that, many car insurance providers look favourably on driveways when it comes to quoting for your policy.
If you’ve decided to pave over your front garden to create a driveway, make sure that you get the most out of your money by considering all of the features on offer. Or, if you’ve already got a driveway but it’s in need of some TLC due to damage or age, then you’re likely on the hunt for cheap ways to redo or improve it. Read on to discover five key things that you should consider, whatever your situation is.
You can pave or repave your front garden without planning permission if you use a permeable surfacing material that allows rainwater to drain naturally or redirects it to a lawn or border to drain. Permeable driveways reduce the risk of flooding, are better for the environment and also reduce the risk of drains in your area overflowing during stormy weather.
There are plenty of permeable driveway materials available. The options include gravel and pebbles, which are often associated with luxurious country homes, slip-resistant bricks and block paving, and the ever-popular asphalt (sometimes referred to as Tarmac). A driveway paver can advise you on the best material for your driveway.
If you want to keep as much as grass as possible from your front garden but still need a parking space, then you can use asphalt, concrete or blocks to create two paved wheel tracks. As less material and work is needed, this is a cheap alternative to a full driveway.
2. Driveway gates
A gated driveway improves the safety, security, privacy and look of your property. First off, gates reduce the visibility of your home from the street and are a physical barrier to thieves and other trespassers.
If you live on a busy road or have nosy neighbours, gates are perfect for blocking any unwanted stares through your windows. They also stop your kids or pets from wandering into the road when they’re playing outside.
Whether you want the rustic look or you’re going for a bold effect, there’s a range of wooden and metal driveway gates to choose from. You’ve got even more choice when it comes to functionality, with electric, sliding, bifold and other types of gate on offer.
3. Décor and edging
Beyond its functional purpose, a driveway can also become a beautiful focal point for your home. Driveway edging is a decorative detail that will complete your driveway’s look. It’s also a great way to keep the pebbles in place on a gravel driveway.
Your options for edging materials include concrete, bricks, block paving slabs, stones, gravel and wood chips. Choose a material that contrasts in both colour and texture from the main part of the driveway, to make it really stand out.
Landscaping is also an option, so you can keep some element of a front garden. Speak to a gardener for advice on this.
With lockdown easing, a beautiful driveway could be a good location to have a cuppa with your neighbours or a friend (when legally permitted in your area).
4. Cleaning your driveway
As it’s essentially the introduction to your home, it’s important that you keep your driveway clean and tidy.
Weeding is a chore that no-one enjoys. However, spending an hour each month getting rid of the grass and weeds on a gravel driveway or in between brick or block paving will go a long way in keeping your driveway looking fresh. You can pull them out by hand, or for an easier fix you can kill them with a homemade or store-bought weed killer. Find out how to make a weed killer in our guide to eliminating weeds.
Moss can also grow on most types of driveway material. However, you can clean it off using a moss killer or cleaning solution found in most garden centres or builders’ merchants.
Stains from rust, car oil or brake fluid can be cleaned off using a pressure washer.
5. More security and safety features
With the Metropolitan Police saying that they can’t help in many nuisance parking situations, including a stranger parking on your driveway, you might want to consider installing bollards, parking or security posts.
Lights, especially motion-activated ones, help to deter trespassers on your property. As an extra benefit, they also boost your property’s ambience in the evening time. Plus, you can get solar lights to save on electricity costs. Two popular types of driveway lights are:
- Ground lights, which are mounted in the ground – these are great for saving space. Ground lights can also help to guide your car when you’re parking at night.
- Post lights, which range from modern styles to more traditional-looking lamppost ones.
For an extra layer of security, sensors and alarm systems alert you when someone enters your driveway. There are solar alarm systems on offer, too. Speak to a security specialist for personalised advice.