Tips and Tricks for Designing a New Driveway

The curb appeal of your home is essential. It’s much like the first impression you get when meeting someone. While an exterior doesn’t necessarily define the interior, it still helps other people understand who you are and what you like. A driveway is unappreciated mainly for its aesthetic value; however, it often makes up a large part of your curb appeal.
By not just installing a new driveway but employing driveway design ideas, you can improve your curb appeal and increase the value of your home.

A Guide Through Patio DesignPlanning Stage: Consider Your Needs and Wants

Do you need a new driveway?
When looking at your current driveway design, take notes about its current pros and cons. Ask yourself a few questions.
· Is the shape challenging to navigate, and do you have enough space for each car in your household?
· Does the current driveway add or detract from the appeal of your home?
· Are there large cracks in it that could damage your tires?
· Is your driveway more than 15 years old?
· Does it have severe stains?
· Is your driveway uneven or too steep to drive on in inclement weather safely? 
If you have growing concerns as you ask more questions, it might be time to replace your current driveway.

Balance Needs and Wants

After you’ve decided it’s time to get a new driveway, write a list of what your absolute dream driveway would be. Ask yourself more questions:
· What color would it be?
· What material would it be made of?
· How big would it be?
Then consider how you use your driveway. Is it a thoroughfare of comings and goings? Do you complete at-home care improvements on it? Do you roll a grill around the front and have big neighborhood parties? Consider these things as you start picturing your design. The idea should be to make the garage both beautiful and functional!

Carefully Consider Size

Many driveway designs are wasteful because they are too wide for one car but not wide enough to fit two safely. This leaves extra hangovers that aren’t functional and creates a dangerous transition space if you have more than one vehicle.
In your home, do you have more than one car? Or do you have a one-car household? Limit the amount of concrete laid for your driveway if you don’t need it. But consider making your driveway approximately 20 ft wide, the width of two parking spots, to account for both vehicles.

Choosing Materials

Making the right choice in driveway material is the best way to ensure that your driveway will last. Below will be some of the most common and accessible driveway materials available on the market.

Concrete Driveway

Concrete became, and stayed, the favored choice for home building because of its easy availability, strength, and cost. However, you may get images of boring standard gray driveways when you picture concrete. But concrete doesn’t just come in gray!
Treated concrete can come in a wide variety of colors and finishes to give your driveway a standout look, plus a unique feel.
Different Concrete Finishes for a Driveway
Concrete comes in many textures created by the aggregate amount in the cement mix before pouring. When a fine aggregate is used, you won’t notice pieces of rock, glass, and crystal used to bind the cement. This creates a very smooth finish that many people recognize on the streets. There are more finishes than this common one, though.
Mainly they are broken up into two categories, rough and smooth aggregate finishes. Aggregate concrete is made by mixing large aggregate pieces into the cement mix to create unique textures and colors.
A rough aggregate finish means that the aggregate pieces will stick up from the finished surface, making a bumpy texture. It’s most commonly found around pools but can also be used on driveways. Smooth aggregate still showcases the colorful pieces added to the mix but has a smooth finish.

Stamped Concrete Driveway: There are more ways to customize concrete than adding more aggregate to the mix. During installation, you can press patterns and shapes into the surface. This will create the illusion that there are separate pavers in whatever pattern you desire. You can implement this effect for much less than the cost of actually installing pavers.
Create borders, imprints, and designs with a pressed concrete finish.

Stained Driveways: You can also stain concrete driveways to achieve different colors. Feel free to customize your driveway! There are more concrete stains on the market than ever before, increasing the number of natural-looking colors that you can turn your driveway.
You can choose to create a bold checkered pattern by mixing pressed concrete designs with a stain. Go for a classic black and white, or choose more earth tones, like green and clay.
Stain the entire surface to create a marbled finish that looks eye-catching and unusual. If you don’t plan to replace your driveway completely or have multiple patches on it, you may want to stain them all in different colors. This can create a patchwork of colors that can embrace the oddities of your driveway rather than deny them.

A Guide Through Patio DesignPaver or Brick Driveway: Paving stones, stone tiles, and brick driveways are a more expensive alternative to concrete but have a classic look, quality, and unparalleled longevity. Not to mention you can customize the look and finish of your paving stones. 
It’s also extremely low maintenance, and it’s much easier to install pavers yourself than it would be to pour concrete. By packing sand under permeable pavers, you can lessen the number of weeds that crop up between them. Or you can encourage moss to grow in the creaks to make a timeless and aged appearance.
Important Note: While it’s easier to install pavers than other kinds of driveway material, it still takes a great deal of labor. Unless you have experience laying pavers, hiring a contractor can be easier in the long run and will leave you with a higher-quality finish.

Asphalt: Asphalt is a fantastic alternative to concrete. The sleek finish has a universal appeal, and it’s easy to level and pour. Because of the dark gray or black finishes, it’s also easy to incorporate other colors in your driveway design.
Asphalt can have a nice texture for driving on, which is why it’s used on so many roads for the long driveway, but visually looks to have some consistency keeping it interesting for modern homes.

Loose Materials: Never forget that gravel is also a great way to pave your driveway, especially if you have a long driveway that extends through your private property. Gravel is very low maintenance, making it a great driveway design idea for parking areas outside the house. 

A Guide Through Patio DesignMixing and Matching Driveway Ideas

Mixing and matching materials can cut costs. However, it can also make your driveway last longer. A complete brick driveway is often more expensive than concrete alternatives or asphalt. However, brick is easier to maintain and doesn’t crack the same way concrete does.
By using brick or pavers on inclines that lead up to your house or from the street, you can avoid cracking issues and cut costs. Adding pavers along the edge of the design will help to incorporate these brick portions.
Artificial grass and concrete driveways can also go hand in hand. Put in a round of synthetic grass in the center of the driveway to give it a high-class round-a-bout feel without the added maintenance of grass care or weeds. In comparison, gravel can be great for a small parking area next to your driveway.

Focusing on Creating a Beautiful Driveway Entrance For Your House

Having your driveway updated is only a part of the process. The best way to take the most advantage of your new attractive driveway design is by incorporating landscaping as well.
The driveway entrance is a perfect space to give a proper welcome to anyone visiting your home. By taking a little extra care with the front of your driveway by adding landscaping, you’ll elevate your front lawn (and maybe even make the neighbors jealous!)
A Guide Through Patio DesignDriveway Design Ideas: The Entrance Options
Make a statement with your driveway entrance. Choose a design style that catches the eye of people passing by and welcomes family from a hard day’s work and guests.
Framing: Frame the driveway with two pillars that have tall ornamental grasses in them. This will add height and drama. Having mid-height bushes on either side of the driveway entrance can create an elegant feel. If they’re flowering bushes, like hydrangeas, this will add more color and delicacy when they’re in season.
Gates: You don’t have to have a large property to have a gate. Especially now, as more gates become electronically operated, having a gate entrance for your driveway is easier than ever. Gate types can include:
· Wood
· Wrought Iron
· And steel

A Guide Through Patio DesignImprove Your Curb Appeal
Driveway design doesn’t

have to be complicated. By picking a solid, durable design, you can enjoy your new driveway entrance, and improved curb appeal, for years to come. While there are many different driveway styles out there, concrete driveways are amongst the most customizable and accessible. You can use a concrete driveway to simulate other looks, like pavers, through stamping techniques that add visual interest and strength.
Consider how your driveway design can add other functionalities to your front lawn to maintain your curve appeal, like adding a guest parking area designated by gravel or different kinds of loose ground cover. This will prevent damage to the rest of your yard and look cleaner overall. Whatever your needs are, always keep design and functionality in mind to make the most beautiful driveway design that also remains functional.

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