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Driveway & Patio Designs

Design ideas for your driveway and patio

A beautiful driveway leading up to a well- designed and elegant patio can really transform your home as well as adding value. There are so many designs to choose from, so where do you start?

Driveways

A driveway is an important feature of your home. It gives guests and neighbours a little insight into your character and provides the first impression, so you need it to look stylish and be in- keeping with your home and personality. It is also likely that your driveway will be driven on every day, which means in addition to looking good, it needs to be durable and functional. We have provided a few tips and advice on how to choose your ideal driveway:

You will need to consider the safety, access, drainage and design of your new driveway.

The cost – make sure you research the average per-square-foot installation costs for the various driveway materials so you can estimate the price you can expect to pay.

Take into account any additional costs that may increase the cost of a driveway, including complex designs, drainage and grading needs, and incorporating slopes or curves.

Consider adding different design ideas such as decorative borders, bands and aprons made of flagstone, pavers, or brick. Your driveway will add character and personality to your home, so don’t just design a straight ordinary one.

Jazz up your driveway with landscape plants. They can act as a border or turn your driveway into a glorious and inviting pathway, which leads up to your home. 

Make sure you think about how many cars will need to be parked on your driveway, walking access, overhang and climate.

Lighting your driveway – if you are building a long drive will additional lightening need to be installed?

You could add gates at the top of your driveway to really maximise your homes curb appeal.

The material – not only do you want your new driveway to look good, the type of material you chose must be durable enough to resist tire marks, oil drips and chemicals. The most common material used for driveways are concrete, gravel, block paving and asphalt. All have their pros and cons.

 

Concrete

Concrete blocks are extremely cost- effective when compared to clay blocks. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and textures, meaning you can create a brand new look for your driveway or patio, or even a tumbled or antiqued feel. Different colours of concrete blocks are achieved by the use of concrete dyes, usually some form of metallic oxide. But beware, even the best dyes are prone to some fading in natural daylight and the quality of the dyes is a significant factor in block price. You can keep your colour costs down a bit by choosing to have only the part of the blocks that are visible to be dyed; this is called face-mix. When choosing your colour, it is recommended that you view blocks that have been laid for a few years and not be fooled by the shiny colours in the brochures.

Block Paving

You can choose from a wide selection of colours and designs. There are many different types of paving stone available in various shapes, sizes and colours to suit all of your needs.

Block paving is very low maintenance. It usually only requires the occasional sweep to remove any dust or debris. If you find algae growing anyway, this can be removed by cleaning the area. Not only is it easy to maintain, but it is easily repaired too. Also, if you ever need to access below your paved area blocks are easily removed and replaced.

They look great. With such a range of styles available, you can design your driveway or patio in accordance to your home. You can even go one step further and add features such as kerbing or edging to really make it your own.

It’s cost- effective. Block paving is a cheaper alternative than some other materials. It is also a viable investment as it will increase the value of your home and keep it looking modern and attractive.

Block paving is long lasting if properly installed and maintained, so it is considered to be a great investment.

Gravel

Gravel is very cheap, which makes it a great choice for your driveway. The maintenance is also extremely low, because a gravel driveway has no pavement to crack, leak or break, meaning there would be no need for repairs. Gravel simply requires a good raking!

Gravel allows for excellent traction in wet, icy, or snowy conditions. Concrete or asphalt have a tendency to freeze in cold climates, which can cause the driveway to crack and repairs will need to be made.

With gravel the limits are endless. It is available in a wide variety of colours and shades. Whether you would like darker shades such as greys and browns, or even brighter colours like pink and red, the choices are vast. You are also able to pick the size of the gravel you require. So if larger pieces are more your style or you prefer finer crushes, there is a size to suit everyone. You could even choose tumbled gravel, ornamental gravel or even create a style that resembles river rock or pebbles, the choices really are endless. Gravel is a distinctive and attractive means of complementing a landscape design.

Asphalt

Asphalt driveways are more weather resistant than concrete driveways. If you live in a cold climate, like the UK, asphalt is the preferred material as it can contract and expand without sustaining damage. Driveways made from concrete will often crack when exposed to the elements. In extreme weather when ice forms, you wouldn’t be able to use salt to melt it as this will affect the concrete.

If any damage occurs to asphalt, it can be easily repaired. You can also easily use emulsified liquids or solid cold- patches to repair any cracks yourself. Asphalt is extremely durable, it resists cracking and lifting, which can be a common problem when using concrete for driveways. Concrete is also susceptible to water as it can seep through the seams and if frozen will cause the driveway to crack or lift. Asphalt is far more resistant to water, inspects and plants. These driveways are long- lasting, durable and will remain looking new for many years. Should the surface ever suffer damage in structure or colour, asphalt driveway repairs can be accomplished by simply re- heating and re- stamping the surface and applying a fresh layer.

If your driveway is on a slight or steep slope then asphalt is the preferred material. If you have a sloped concrete driveway, it may split from the foundation that it is poured on and this will cause the driveway to crack.

Asphalt driveways are also a low cost investment that will instantly increase your home’s curb appeal and therefore its value. You can design your driveway to suit your needs whether you want a contemporary brick feel or cobbled pathway.

 

Patios 

A patio is an invitation to the garden. Time outside is always needed and a nice patio will leave you wanting to spend all of your time in the garden. There are so many patio designs to choose from whether you have a large or small garden and once you have decided on the material the ideas to create your perfect haven are endless:

  • A water feature - water can be very melodic and relaxing.
  • Shading – a patio is a great place for shade. The garden can absorb the sun and when you feel you need some cooling down, a patio that has been built under a large tree or canopy can make the ideal retreat.
  • A pathway that leads from the garden to the patio can create a gorgeous look and feel to your outside area. You could plant all your favourite plants and create a real country feel.
  • A flower boarder will make your new patio look beautiful.
  • A rug! This may sound a bit strange but you can get lovely weather resistant rugs that will transform your patio into a relaxing area.
  • Outdoor lighting. You don’t only want to enjoy the outside during the day. Install some outdoor lighting so you can dine alfresco in the evening.
  • If you consider the English weather to be a little chilly during the evening, then a fire pit will allow you to sit outside and enjoy the garden while being completely warm.
  • Curved edging. A patio with a curved edge stands out and adds character.
  • Little accessories such as a bird table or wind charms can really help to add some personality to your outside area. Design ideas really are endless; all you need is a little inspiration and careful planning. Just let your imagination run away with you. 

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