The driveway is one of the first things people see when they view your home, and it invites them into your property and sets the tone for the entrance of your house. The driveway design should blend as one with the front of the house, and it should neither stand on its own nor be completely unnoticeable.
When thinking of driveway designs, consider the following:
- Architecture of your Home
- Finishes and Patterns
Picking a Driveway Design for the Architecture of your Home
A driveway design should compliment the existing architectural style of your home. Whether it’s Tutor, Modern or Victorian, your architectural style will determine the overall feel of everything designed on the property, including the driveway. Larger scale estates with many architectural details allow for more driveway detail. Modern architecture calls for smooth finishes and simple patterns. Paying close attention to the style, shapes and details of your architecture will help you or your designer plan a driveway that suits your property. The neighbourhood composition can also affect the planning of your driveway design. If all the other driveways on the street are asphalt, a subtle paver colour, texture, and pattern will blend well with the surrounding homes. Going with too much “splash” may stand out in a bad way. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a higher quality and better appearing home than the neighbours, but it should fit well within the neighbourhood.
Finishes and Patterns of Driveway Designs
Suppose your home has specific details in the architectural design, such as window boxes or corner quoins. In that case, your driveway could complement these details with contrasting cornerstones, borders or inlaying geometric shapes, mosaics, and patterns. Common patterns include herringbone, basketweave, random and linear. These patterns will give a unique look and should be used according to the existing exterior materials of the home.
Using borders and inlayed shapes creates interest and adds a level of sophistication to the driveway and, therefore, the overall home and property. Your driveway should also compliment the colour and texture of exterior materials used on your house. Consider pulling existing colours from roof shingles or window surrounds to use in the driveway. If your home has a busy external stone pattern or texture, you may want to use a simple pattern and smooth finish for contrast in your driveway design. Continuing the dynamic feel of the home finish throughout the driveway can look too strong and take away from home. The driveway should not be the home’s focal point but be complementary and draw your eye to the house. There are no right or wrong rules, but the overall look should fit the home, using complementary colours, textures, and details.
The size of your driveway, home and property will also play into the design. A smaller driveway should not use large slabs for the material or look out of scale. With a larger driveway, a busy laying pattern and paver texture may overwhelm the onlooker. Keeping the design in line with the scale of your property develops proper flow from the driveway, to the entrance, to the front door. If you have a wide driveway, consider a border for interest and lengthening effects. With a long driveway, there is room for patterns or geometric shapes. Rebuilding your driveway also allows you to increase the width, giving more space for parking. Be sure to consult your local building department for bylaws concerning driveway widths.
If your home is a recent build, say within 15 years, modern paving stones may suit the above points. If the home is older, modern-style pavers may not fit the existing finishes of the home. For older homes, a natural stone, cobblestone or tumbled paver are timeless choices that suit any era. Natural stone will compliment almost any type of home exterior. There are numerous colours, shapes, and textures to choose from. While natural stone will last extremely long and will look better with age, it is expensive, and for this reason, it’s not all that popular for driveways. If your budget allows, consider natural stone for your driveway.
How much money you have allocated to spend on your driveway will impact the overall design. Depending on location, a properly constructed driveway with interlocking pavers will cost approximately $20 per square foot. Adding details such as borders or complex patterns adds to the cost as time is added to the design, estimating, material ordering and building processes. Driveways built from interlocking pavers or natural stone are highly durable and are well worth the price. A well-constructed interlocking driveway should last 50 years or more.
The construction of a driveway should have a 12-inch compacted gravel base, a 1-inch laying bed of concrete sand or HBP (high-performance bedding), edge restrains with 12-inch metal spikes and polymeric hardening sand. The pavers used will also need to be graded for vehicular use, which means a high density and deeper thickness than pedestrian-only rated pavers. The gravel base provides a solid foundation to absorb the vehicle weight and ground shifting and provides drainage. Much of the cost comes from building the base. This is where some contractors will cut corners to decrease labour and time and their operational costs.
Driveway Design Types
Different types of design for driveways (and other landscape designs) include presentations in plan view or 3-dimensional view, computer-rendered, or hand-drafted, along with inspirational photos of laying patterns, borders, materials. Technology has improved the ability to see designs in 3D, a better visualization tool than plan view (top-down – blueprint style). With 3-dimensional driveway designs, your designer can show multiple pictures from different angles. Starting with inspirational photos, a few conceptual plans with distinct borders and details follow, then the designer can then narrow in on your preferred style. From there, laying patterns, colours and textures can be discussed.
Finally, 3-5 samples should be brought to the home to view on-site, next to the existing home exterior. Online and catalogue photos of materials often have different tones than how the product appears in person. Having a physical sample will give you a close-up view of the product’s texture, which may not be noticeable from a photo.
ABOUT ARISS LANDSCAPE
At Ariss Landscape Inc. we provide exterior renovations of residential properties with expertise in interlocking and concrete driveways, excavations, and foundation wrap waterproofing.
Established in 2004, our team of professional landscape contractors also design and build other aspects of the landscape, with an eye for architecturally sound designs. During the winter season, we provide commercial snow removal services.