- Think about the color and how it goes with your house.
- Is it a formal or informal design?
- Are there drainage issues?
- Do you want solid paving or one that allows
rain water to penetrate into the ground?
- How much routine maintenance do you want to do?
- What’s your budget?
No matter what driveway surface is right for
you, the base that holds the surface is of utmost
importance. If it’s not strong, your surface
Proper Drainage is always an important issue
to address when installing a driveway, but especially
with a driveway surface that is impervious.
Water that can no longer percolate into the soil has
to go somewhere. Know where this water is going to be
redirected and make accommodations for it with the appropriate
These are the most popular driveway
as seen in the above photo, provides a loose stone
surface that is installed over a good solid base.
It comes in many different sizes and colors. It allows
water to reach the roots of surrounding plants. This
is the least expensive surface, so it is used to save
or on long drives that other materials would be too
expensive. Extreme runoff can erode this surface and
traffic tends to move it around. Plan on touching up
occasionally in natural as well as urban situations.
Parking pads (large landings at the front door
to accommodate a car) out of a solid type of paving
material, like stamped concrete or concrete pavers, is
a nice accent in a gravel drive.
Tar & Gravel, also called surface treatment
or double shot, has a similar appearance to a gravel
driveway with a layer of tar under the gravel.
The tar helps to better hold the gravel in place. This
eliminates having to touch up the grade from time to time.
Over time the gravel is pushed into the tar making the
driveway the tar color more than the decorative gravel
color. This surface may need new gravel every 7 – 10 years
depending on the amount of traffic and how fast folks drive on
Asphalt provides a dark black surface that
is smooth. It is the least expensive solid surface
driveway. Keeping the asphalt sealed is
important. The sealer keeps the water from getting
into the crevices of the asphalt and freezing. The
freezing water expands and breaks the asphalt. Asphalt
creates a great surface for children to play on and
to easily move around on. There is no stray gravel
following you into the house with this surface!
Asphalt is a dark surface, so consider how this will
look in your landscape design.
Concrete as a driveway surface has a number of
different color and design choices to offer.
The least expensive concrete is the common gray type
that has been around for many years. It is installed
as a slab with expansion joints to minimize cracking.
One way of dressing up this all purpose material is to
introduce a contrasting material, such as brick,
as the expansion joint. You can add color to the entire
driveway surface to give it an updated appearance without a lot
of extra cost. Exposed aggregate concrete,
as seen in this picture, is a little more expensive.
It has decorative gravel in the surface. It is a beautiful
surface, but rough to the touch because the exposed gravel
sits above the concrete. Decorative concrete
has color added to it and patterns stamped into it.
There are many different color and pattern combinations
to do. Needless to say, this is the most expensive of
concrete choices. The concrete is soft, smooth and easy
to walk on. This is because the sand in the concrete mix
must be fine in order for the pattern to be stamped
into it. More than one color can be blended together
to give a range of color that looks more interesting than a
provide a solid, beautiful surface with a few advantages.
The cost of this material is similar to stamped
decorative concrete. There are many styles and colors
of pavers. Shapes range from brick size, squares to
patterns that replicate natural stone. This surface
is completely dry laid. The base material consists
of layers of thoroughly compacted aggregates. The pavers
have no mortar joint between them, but are laid tightly
against one another. Polymer sand is then swept in between
the pavers to create a tight joint. This type of
construction is helpful, if settling occurs. The pavers
can be picked up, the base repaired and easily installed again.
Natural stone paving is not often seen
as a driveway material because of being so expensive.
I did want to mention it because it is such an exquisite,
really incredible looking driveway. Driveways
that are constructed out of cobblestone and slate paving
neighborhoods. One section of our city, Shockoe Slip,
has kept the cobblestone streets and some alleys.
To try to incorporate some of this look, I have designed
aprons (a pad that is at the entrance of the drive)
out of cobblestone, brick or concrete pavers. Adding
aprons to a gravel driveway adds a nice design element,
as well as keeps the gravel from being pushed into
the street. I have also used a band of cobblestone
paving at an entrance gate into a property (as seen
above). This adds another dimension of detail to the
entrance of a fine home.
The driveway surface is a strong color element
in your landscape design. It can make a
wonderful impression if made to compliment and blend
with its surroundings.
Driveway dilemma? I'd like to help!
a question and you will get a quick response.
t will be posted as a web page on this site for
all to read and to share with your friends.
I hope to hear from you!
Turn your knowledge into a website that generates
income for you. SBI (Site Build It) is a powerful
website creation and hosting system that shows
you how it is done step by step. Take a look!
for futher information or to talk to me about my design services.
Landesign of Virginia, Inc.
P.O. Box 15582
Richmond, Virginia 23227
Installing the landscape design is just
the beginning! Your investment should grow bigger
and stronger each year. Subscribe to the quarterly
newsletter, Landscape Update! Get seasonal
recommendations for the best care of your plantings.
Landscape Update will highlight products that are used
in the landscape. Landscape projects may be discussed
to help illustrate a product or landscaping ideas.
Situations I encounter that will help you with your
landscaping, I’ll pass on to you. Using pictures to
illustrate a point is a favorite of mine. You will find
a wealth of information to help you better take care of
your landscape, help you add an exciting new element to
it or learn about what’s new!
Stay Informed!!! Subscribe today!
Go to Next Page
Return to Home Page from Driveway Surface