When we think about landscaping, what comes to mind are features such as patios and decks, gardens and flowers, and lawns. What typically doesn’t jump forward is your driveway. Nevertheless, a driveway serves as more than a pathway for your car between the street and where you park it. Think about it:
- A driveway is part of the first impression people get of your property.
- Therefore, it’s an important part of your property’s curb appeal.
- Your driveway will see traffic just about every day, and most driveways are fully exposed to harsh weather.
- As a result, a driveway needs to be both durable and functional.
- There’s no reason something functional can’t be beautiful as well.
So if you’re looking at building and replacing a driveway, look at it as an opportunity to add character, beauty, and value to your home as well. You might be surprised at all of the options available, and our goal here is to share some ideas and help you ask the right questions as you decide on the perfect driveway for your home.
Choosing the Driveway Design
Probably the first decision you should make is about the layout. The three most common driveway layouts are circular, straight, and curved.
- Circular: There are two basic types of circular driveways. The first, which sometimes is called a horseshoe driveway, has two entry/exit points. The other, sometimes called a teardrop driveway, has one entry/exit point but curves around a central feature such as a sculpture, fountain, garden, or tree. Both are very popular because they eliminate the need to back up or turn around.
- Straight: A straight driveway is usually the best and sometimes only option when the yard is small and the distance from the street to the front of the house is short. Another time when a straight driveway makes sense is when there’s a long distance between the house and the street and you want to create an estate-like look. This will also draw more attention directly to the house.
- Curved: Curved driveways can create a more “countrified” look, but there are practical reasons for them as well. For example, the best entry/exit point doesn’t line up with the front of the house, or there are features such as trees or boulders that you want the driveway to go around.
A lot of the time, the size and features of your property play the deciding roles in deciding what driveway layout you go with, but there are some other questions you’ll want to consider:
- How do you want your driveway to function?
- Where is your garage, carport, or parking spot relative to the house and the street?
- Does your property have terrain such as steep slopes, trees, or large boulders?
- What kind of a look are you going for?
Next, you’ll probably want to decide where to have the driveway and how wide you want it to be. Here are the things you’ll need to consider:
- Safety: You’ll want good visibility where cars enter and exit.
- Practicality and Privacy: If possible, avoid locating a driveway entrance near a corner, a high-traffic area, or a neighbor’s driveway.
- Access: The driveway needs to provide convenient access to the street, the front door, and the garage. Will walkways be needed?
- Drainage: Good drainage is essential for a driveway’s longevity. If water pools on the driveway or if it runs off into wet areas, the driveway can develop cracks, sinking spots, and unevenness.
- Aesthetic qualities: Will the driveway accentuate or at least seamlessly fit in with the style of your home and landscaping?
Most driveways have asphalt or concrete as their paving, but there’s no rule they have to be that way. Some beautiful, popular alternatives include the following:
- Gravel: This is a cost-effective solution. Not only is gravel less expensive, but it also is inexpensive to replace. It also provides excellent drainage and can go with almost any style of home.
- Cobblestone, patterned concrete pavers, brick, and textured stamped concrete all offer durability and style.
- Chipseal: Hot asphalt mixed with stone creates a surface that’s both driveable and textured.
- Rural Ribbon: This lovely rustic style involves paving two lines and leaving one between them unpaved. Sometimes people add flowers or grass to the unpaved parts.
Many people like adding shade trees or shrubs along the sides of a driveway. Just make sure they don’t encroach on the driveway itself and scratch cars!
One of the loveliest types of driveway landscaping is a tree-lined driveway where the trees form a canopy above the driveway, creating a tunnel-like effect.
Finally, there are many accessories you can add to a driveway for function, looks, or both. Some of the most popular are gates and lighting, especially motion-sensitive lighting that balances security with dark night skies.
LandArt Solutions: Making Dreams into Reality
At LandArt Solutions, we believe every property is a work of art waiting to be created and come to life. With more than 20 collective years of experience in the landscaping field, our team has the expertise and the knowledge to help any property meet its landscaping potential. The projects we finish leave homeowners with more beauty, function, and value than ever before.
How can we help you with your driveway or other landscaping needs? Let’s talk today!