Plenty of Options
The world's most beautiful estates always begin with a dramatic entry - big iron gates, a tree-lined drive curving around a beautiful fountain. Though not everyone has the budget for such grandeur, a little bit of imagination and homework can pave the way to a driveway design that adds interest to the front of your home and becomes a valuable asset in the landscape.
Who doesn't wish they had a pull through driveway? With no backing up or playing musical cars when you have guests, a circular drive is convenient and classy. This one paved in brick elevates the concept to a luxurious and elegant place.
Asphalt is something associated with roads more than driveways, but if well-maintained it can look really sharp and be an asset to the entryway design. The dark color is refreshing compared to light grey concrete, and the matching black lamp posts here make it a simple but effective design for the property.
Asphalt is cheaper than concrete to pour, so people with really long driveways tend to us it.
Driveways that form a perpendicular line between the house and street are what everyone has. Try something a bit different and use curved, off-center approach.
This driveway is also an example of concrete textured with tiny pebbles.
There are many ways to add extra parking to a driveway, which can be a big help if you need to accommodate more than two cars. This is one variation on the theme with a nice bulging curve and is also a good example of using pavers that match the exterior of the house.
Surprisingly few driveways make use of this simple design feature. Building the driveway so it flanges out at the street saves that little corner of earth - and any plants that might be located there - from being driven over constantly. It also softens the right angle in the process.
This is a great alternative to the driveway corner that becomes a mud pit from so many tires rolling over it.
If you have a large family and like to entertain, you might want to consider a design such as this. It's a good alternative to a pull through driveway design that creates oodles of space for cars to park while maintaining the ability to maneuver in and out.
A Good Flow
Rather than having the driveway segregated from the front walk and other paved surfaces, consider uniting all of the front yard hardscaping as one contiguous surface.
If done using curved lines like it is here, the effect is reminiscent of a river with little tributaries - much softer on the eye than dissimilar surfaces joined at hard right angles.
Many details go into a good driveway design, a number of which are illustrated here. Its asymmetrical shape creates visual interest and ties the driveway together with the the landscape and front door. The paver choice is a great match for the terra cotta roof and is set off nicely with a lighter border. Plus, it has the added functionality of a small bulge out for extra parking.
There are many surfaces to choose from when planning a driveway, including ones that don't involve paving. Pictured here is pea gravel, tiny multi-colored pebbles that offer a unique texture in place of concrete or asphalt.
Another upshot is that rainfall soaks into gravel, rather than running off into the storm drain along with any oil or other toxic residue that might be on the surface of the driveway.
Even ordinary grey gravel can be an attractive driveway surface in the right context. This is especially true in rural locations, where plain gravel is the most cost-effective way to surface a driveway.
If money is not an object, however, a gravel driveway can be dressed up with other design elements - like the castle gate pictured here - to be just as attractive as any other material.
Thinking in Color
A driveway can be made in absolutely any color imaginable. There is a simple process to mix dye into dry concrete and the color can be chosen from a palette just like choosing paint.
There is another process to stain the surface of concrete after its poured that give another look entirely. Texture is yet another aspect of driveway design to consider - the contractor here is brushing the wet concrete to give it an extra smooth finish, though a rough surface, as well as various patterns are also possible to achieve.
The Possibilities of Patterns
There are ample patterns available for driveways. This scalloped pattern is exquisitely executed and the cobblestone pavers make it all the more alluring. It is important to note, however, that patterns can also be stamped into a concrete driveway for a fraction of the cost.
Far from being limited to dull grey concrete, a driveway is an opportunity to jazz up the overall design of your front yard. Think carefully over the different options and choose something that fits with your personal taste and the existing character of the house and property.