5 Driveway Design Tips for Long-Lasting Appeal

When considering what else to do towards improving your property’s curb appeal and creating a higher resale value, many homeowners overlook the driveway. Even builders seem to treat driveways as an afterthought, mainly focusing on the house. What we are left with are often narrow and unsightly driveways built with minimal materials, barely enough to accommodate two cars. Yet, a custom driveway can enhance the beauty of your home, and if shaped properly, it can even fit seamlessly into the front yard landscaping. Here are some design tips.

Choice of material

As mentioned above, a driveway should be an inviting path that brings visitors to your home. As such, it needs to be not only functional, but also attractive.

  • Asphalt is popular in northern climates because of its resistance to freeze-thaw cycles and its heat-retaining black colour. Luckily, we in warmer climates can choose between a range of decorative materials.

  • Although expensive to install, a brick driveway is an elegant choice with many varying patterns and rich colours.

  • A popular choice, classic and durable exposed aggregate is the most wear-resistant finish for a driveway. The cement paste is already removed, so it provides great slip resistance and minimum discoloration due to erosion or traffic. It is also a great choice for homeowners who want a decorative finish at a reduced cost.

  • With countless colour combinations and many available patterns, stamped concrete is another popular choice that will last for many years if done properly.

Now, a few practical issues

Before you get down to designing your new driveway, consider a few functionality issues. How many people will be using it regularly? How many drivers and soon-to-be-drivers are in your house and what are their driving routines? Is there enough space for everyone to park? Once you answer these question, you’ll know what kind of driveway you need. Always try to plan for the maximum number of vehicles your driveway will need to accommodate in the coming years.

Straight driveway

Designing a straight driveway is justified in two cases. Either you have a small front yard so the distance your car needs to cross from the street to the garage is short, or you have a long way from the street to the garage and you want to make a grand entrance. In the first case you should come up with a design that is simple and functional, with some interest added to it by decorative paving material like stamped concrete or interlocking pavers. In the second case, you can achieve an estate-like entrance by lining the driveway with lit trees or short lampposts to impress every guest visiting your home.

Curved driveway

Perhaps the best access from the street isn’t lined up with your garage, requiring the driveway to curve. Or maybe your property has trees, boulders or other features that you want to keep in place. In any cases, you can choose a curving driveway that can go around or between these elements. Such a layout can even add an interest to the overall look of your front yard. Broad, sweeping curves are the easiest to navigate, so make sure the driveway is manoeuvrable for all types of vehicles.

Circular driveway

Also called a horseshoe driveway, this is one of the most popular layouts. It has an entrance at the street, rounds off as it approaches the house and has an exit lane leading back to the street. What makes this shape so popular is that it eliminates the need for backing out or turning around in a limited space. By using the return lane you can always enter the street traffic aware of your surroundings. Some homeowners opt for a teardrop driveway which is similar in shape but uses a single point for both the entry and the exit. Both varieties require a bit more room, but if you can landscape the middle section, it shouldn’t be a problem.

With so many options to choose from, even if you choose function before form, you can still end up with an attractive driveway that will not only improve your home’s curb appeal, but also build up its resale value.


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