Whether you are looking for a creative way to boost your home’s curb appeal and resale value, or you are just looking for a way to make your home’s entrance more accessible and functional, a driveway overhaul could be just the home improvement project you need in the new year. Many of us have never given much thought to the material and designs elements of our driveways, but as it turns out, there is a great deal of variety available to you when you decide to make an entrance upgrade. Here are some of the most popular home driveway materials and shapes popular with homeowners today.
By far the most common material used in driveways in the United States is concrete. This is with good reason, as concrete has a number of benefits, including low cost and longevity. Repairs are rarely needed, and most concrete driveways will last 40-50 years without needing major maintenance. There are multiple shades of concrete available to complement your home’s exterior and the surrounding landscapes, and most any shape and design can be created with concrete.
Asphalt is another common driveway material, and can often be as much as half the price of concrete depending on fluctuating oil prices. Asphalt is not quite as durable as concrete, and has been known to degrade somewhat in high heat. However, it can be easily resurfaced in a way that is not possible with concrete. Color options are limited, but asphalt tends to appeal to those who want their driveway to look like an extension of the roadway.
One material you may want to avoid for your driveway is brick. While brick can give your entrance a classic rugged look, you will be paying a significant premium for a material that is more likely than concrete and asphalt to crack and settle. A better alternative is paving stones. You have all of the same advantages of brick when it comes to color and pattern choices, and if one section does need to be repaired, it can be done easily without needing to overhaul the entire driveway. Paving stones are also available in a cobblestone look, so you can give your driveway an elegant and even antique look, which is particularly suited to colonial-style homes.
Before you can begin playing with the shape and layout of your driveway, there are a few things you must consider. The most important factors will be the layout of your home and property relative to the roadway, and any possible restrictions that may be in place with your homeowners association, if applicable. Even if your driveway ideas are not in violation of any rules, you will likely need to have any major alterations approved in advance before work can begin.
Straight driveways are by far the most common, especially if you are limited by space, HOA regulations or cost. If changing your driveway layout from straight to another style isn’t an option, you can always spruce up the look of it with a row of hedges along one or both sides.
If you have the room and ability to make small changes to your driveway layout, adding a simple curve or two can create a winding effect, giving the appearance of a longer driveway. Meanwhile if you have plenty of space to play with and a larger budget, splurging on a horseshoe or circular style can completely transform the look of your home. These styles are great for function as well – with a circular or horseshoe-style driveway, vehicles can travel in and then out without needing to back up, alleviating concerns about kids and pets running behind a vehicle that is in reverse.
Check out some of our previous posts about increasing your home’s curb appeal!