The ideal driveway provides unhindered access from the curb to your front door; it gives you somewhere to park your car and provides a clear walkway to your home. It is made of a strong and hard-wearing surface that is safe to walk, play and drive on. A beautiful driveway is a valuable chunk of real estate at the front of your home and is usually the first thing visitors notice as they approach. And if you are looking to sell your home, first impressions are everything. A functional well-dressed driveway has the capability to generate a unique impact on your home and on the eyes of potential buyers. A new decorative concrete installation is one way to add to your home’s curb appeal and potentially help your home sell faster. If you want your home to stand out from the rest of the street, it’s important to get the driveway right.
When renovating, homeowners put a lot of thought into the landscaping, garden features and paint colours but all too often don’t give the driveway the attentive planning it deserves. It’s important to discuss options with contractors familiar with the materials used for the driveway you are considering. When choosing driveway materials, you should consider:
- Is the gradient flat or sloping?
- Is it a flood area where the driveway may be submerged for long periods?
- Will the driveway be straight or curved?
- What is the distance between the street and garage/carport?
- How much digging is required to accommodate the new surface and sub-base?
- Is the choice of paver or tile suitable for heavy traffic loads?
Your climate and locality are deciding factors in which type of driveway will serve you best for years to come. Labour costs are generally higher for sloping surfaces, hard to access areas and complex paver patterns. Choose professionals who have a proven history with your chosen driveway material, are licensed, are listed in business directories or have an informative website with testimonials, have a verifiable business address and can provide a warranty and free quotes.
One way to make a long driveway look great is to install a gate or feature that introduces a higher quality material for the driveway section leading directly to the front of your home. For instance, a home that is situated quite a distance from the curb could have a long lead-in driveway of gravel or asphalt that is given a crowning finish as you enter the front yard of the main property which is a beautifully dressed mini cul-de-sac of exposed concrete aggregate.
Plan for Comfort
A space that comfortably accommodates your household’s cars acts as a good guide for how big your driveway should be. Be sure your driveway has enough space to manoeuvre your cars without the need to drive onto surrounding garden edges. Allowing too much space is just an unnecessary expense and it may make the front of the house look unbalanced. Are you going to be working on the cars in the driveway? Are you thinking of installing a basketball hoop for the kids later on? Think of how your driveway fits in with possible future renovations.
Concrete driveways are popular due to their longevity, easy upkeep and affordability. There’s a huge range of decorative styles to choose from. Exposed aggregate driveways, in which the aesthetic qualities of natural stone are exposed, can transform a conventional driveway into an attention-grabbing feature at the front of your home.
Check with Council
You or your contractor will need to investigate what’s required in regard to driveway and footpath permits for your work areas and if the driveway materials you’ve chosen are allowed. Check that your planned driveway doesn’t fall short or exceed specified widths.
All driveways can be susceptible to stains from automobile fluids and the coloured oils from fallen leaves and seeds. It’s a good idea to remove oil, petrol, grease and other spills as soon as possible. One of the best attributes of a decorative concrete driveway is how little maintenance and routine care it will need over its lifetime. There are a range of acrylic sealers and epoxies that can be applied once every few years (as per your concrete manufacturer’s instructions) to help keep your driveway in peak condition for years to come.