Looking for driveway ideas? Your home’s driveway is more than a space to keep your car – it’ll add significant kerb appeal if designed right, ensuring your property makes a stylish, wow-factor first impression.
The driveway can often fall to the bottom of priorities for self builders, but the overall look of this element carries great importance. With so many materials to choose from and plenty of combinations and modern features to mix and match, you can create a unique driveway that’ll bring charm and appeal to your home.
Going forward with the right driveway idea will also improve the practicality of your entrance. Your driveway is a part of your home that’ll be used at any given time, whether that’s day or night, so adding automatic lighting or a clearly lit path up to your front door can help create a safer space. With some attention, you’ll be able to carve out usable space to help hold more cars, too, making your home more attractive should you choose to sell later on.
Whether you’re steering towards a simple paved surface, gravel or a scheme landscaped to perfection, here we’re taking a look at a collection of driveway ideas to help you out.
The Black House by AR Design Studio features a long, linear gravel driveway. This creates an impressive contrast with the property’s black cladding that’s in keeping with its surroundings.
The shape helps to complement the home’s cubic structure while adding an impressive amount of kerb appeal. Gravel is a great option for creating wow factor on a smaller budget. It can also be installed DIY and is available in a range of sizes and shades to suit the style of your home, whether that’s ultra contemporary or more traditional.
This drive is work of The New Driveway Company. The team laid eight different colours of Bradstone’s Woburn rumbled autumn blocks to create an aged look to complement the recently renovated house.
Remember plants when organising your driveway ideas. If you’re renovating on a budget, an inexpensive way to boost kerb appeal is to add all-year round planting that’s easy to maintain around your scheme’s edges.
EXPERT VIEW What Should your Driveway Budget Consider?
Tim Doherty from Dobanti Chartered Surveyors takes a look at how your driveway ideas can match up to your project’s budget
Depending on the prevailing soil conditions on site, your driveway will need a proper specification to take all reasonable vehicle loads, effectively deal with surface water and prevent local settlement and surface erosion.
Unless you’re building on exposed bedrock, some excavation for reduced levels (digging down around 250-300mm), geotextile membranes and filling with compacted hard-core will be necessary. This ground work can come in at about £18-£20 per m2. Thereafter, the choice of topping and finishes is up to you.
However, driveways are not just about appearance, and regardless of covering, you should be clear about how surface water will be directed away from the property to not undermine the house footings. This can be through a porous paved option, traditional gullies or some of the more sophisticated attenuation systems.
Premiums will, as ever, apply to small or complex areas. If you are going to need a builder to coordinate all of the above for you then you must allow for their management, overheads and profit on top.
Janet and Richard Deacon created this remarkable oak frame home after living in the same house for 40-odd years, deciding that it was the perfect time for a change. On their new home wishlist was creating a striking first impression through the home’s kerb appeal, meaning the driveway was important in their design.
The home features a wow-factor front garden, with a central stepped pathway that leads down to the driveway. The smooth lines and paved details are illuminated in the evenings with exterior lighting on both the home’s facade and garage. Adding lighting to your home’s exterior will not only make a great impact, but will add an extra element of safety, ensuring you can see what’s outside at all times.
Alan and Nicola Burton found an inventive way of navigating the planning process when they built their timber frame home right on the boundary of a Bedfordshire village. The home features an expansive gravel driveway, perfect for the large double garage at the front of the home.
The driveway has been designed so the home can benefit from it’s striking kerb appeal, with a diagonal line of shrubs bringing the property’s structure to the eye of passers-by. Gravel will also add a great element of security, as it’ll alert you of anyone driving into your residence with its noisy properties. Tumbled stone is also great for this, or incorporating sensors for extra precaution.
Michael Moore’s Arts & Crafts-inspired home was constructed with a blend of oak and steel frame, clad in horizontal timber and brick. The entrance to the home makes an alluring impact, with a mix of gravel and tarmac that helps to define a clear driving lane while establishing the home’s exterior.
What You Need to Know: How Much Does it Cost to Self Build a House in 2023?
EXPERT VIEW Key considerations for your driveway design
Darren Field of The New Driveway Company sets out the key considerations for when gathering driveway ideas
Do I need planning permission to build a driveway?
Not necessarily. In most cases, driveways fall under permitted development rights. However, there is a set of rules you need to follow and I’d always recommend checking your local authority’s website to see their guide on what’s allowed.
Generally, you don’t need to submit plans if your driveway is made of permeable materialsor allows for water to be drained onto your property.
How do I stop my driveway from flooding?
The golden rule you need to follow is SUDS – which stands for Sustainable Urban Drainage System. There are various solutions to cater for this, and it depends on whether you are using permeable materials or not.
With impervious products you can use slopes and gradients to direct water to channel drains and subsequently to the home’s existing soakaway – you could also install a rainwater harvesting system.
Porous materials, on the other hand, make your entire driveway work as a drain. Permeable systems, although perceived to be quite expensive, can be a budget-friendly option, with gravel being the most affordable.
What should I bear in mind when developing my driveway ideas?
First, I’d say aesthetics and surroundings. You want your driveway to match or complement the house, but you also need it to be in keeping with the local area. For instance, very popular materials at the moment are blocks and pavement slabs in graphite grey, which is the colour many use for their doors and window frames.
This new build home in Buckinghamshire has been upgraded with a contemporary timber garage door from Urban Front. The design features unique wood panels, laid horizontally for a striking look.
The model is an up-and-over automated garage door in their Rondo design, made in Iroko wood to match the front entrance. The driveway has also been specified to match the materials, with a cubic, contemporary and crisp feel. The pavers have a variegated look which reflect the timber-clad entrances.
As part of this Nordic-inspired self build – designed by Fiddes Architects – a large singular Hormann electronic roller garage door was installed and colour matched to the home’s fenestration to create a cohesive scheme.
The driveway matches this, with a level, tarmac surface that remains simple to ensure the home is able shine. The level surface also helps with driving straight into the garage, without worrying about any stray stones getting stuck underneath.
Here, the neutral concrete driveway matches the stone cladding, while beautifully complementing the automated Parma bifold garage door in American black walnut by Urban Front.
This grand home by C7 Architects and Hedge Hunter Farnham features grand oak beams, wide spans of glazing and a charming, heritage feel. It was important to therefore not distract from the home’s beauty through over complicating the driveway.
The home has been finished in a tarmac surface, and includes a clever landscaping design to carefully maximise the parking space. Clean lines, a defined entrance path and low brick walls help to frame the home, while the driveway remains practical and spacious.
If done well, making a nod to the colours of your home can help create a cohesive and characterful driveway and overall exterior scheme. Think about grey-toned cladding and pavers, or charred timber and tarmac. Think about your driveway ideas early when creating the design for your home’s exterior.
Sand-coloured gravel enhances the village charm of this traditional Border Oak home in Surrey. The home features a render and brick blend, which merges nicely with the variegated pattern of the gravel.
for this home in the Midlands, Oakleaf Driveways included a striking feature in block paving to the otherwise tarmac surface.
The design makes use of curves and points to establish a unique driveway that enhances the exterior of the home, making the driveway appear larger.