Making Great First Impressions With A Striking Driveway

Consider these design features to improve your 'curb appeal' and create a great first impression!

Large front gates to the exterior of a property

As many times as people are told not to judge books by their cover… they will! The ‘curb appeal’ of a home, that is how attractive it looks from the outside, not only increases property value for potential buyers but also makes you feel better about your abode every time you arrive back at it. Driveways are often overlooked when it comes to the exterior of a home but there’s plenty that can be done to keep it looking neat and well kept. Have you considered any of these design features for yours?
A large drive and path up to the house

Keep foot and vehicle traffic separate

Positioning a driveway directly in front of the front entrance to the house can inhibit those walking to the door. Of course, if it’s already there, you can just park further across to ensure a clear path to the house but if not, consider installing two distinct paths – one from the pavement and one from the driveway. This caters for everyone and avoids any inadvertent accidents.

Consider natural drainage

Climate change has increased flooding in many areas over the last few years and unfortunately such adverse weather is set to stay. While there is legislation in place to minimise too much additional load on existing sewerage systems, how you drain your own driveway is primarily your own problem – because if it floods, it could damage your house and vehicle. Planning permission is required if a non-porous surface is to cover much of the driveway and so permeable materials are always preferable. If you do want to seek out planning permission and install a non-porous driveway, a soakaway built underneath may be your best option.
A gravel driveway

Stay secure

Doorbells linked to smart devices are now fairly commonplace but these are for the most part used to focus on the front door and not necessarily considered for driveway security. You may wish to place a camera somewhere strategic that also overlooks your driveway, or, an easy security feature that many people opt for is gravel or tumbled stone. These noisy materials quickly alert residents to anyone walking along them uninvited. If appropriate for your property, gates could be installed at the end of the driveway to ensure a safe perimeter. 

Factor in maintenance

No matter what your driveway is laid with, it will require some form of maintenance as the years go past. Gravel needs regular cleaning to remove debris and stones benefit from pressure washing, but resin bound driveways are wipe-clean and much less maintenance than most options.

Don’t forget the bins!

Many homeowners have to put their bins outside the front of their homes and often these are wheeled to a corner of the driveway. Factor in space for the bins so the area doesn’t appear cluttered and so that you don’t end up accidentally knocking them or scratching your car as you wheel them past. It may be an idea to build a bin shed in to the driveway space; it will improve the aesthetics of your outdoors space as well as help avoid them blowing over or getting broken into by pests. 
Lights next to a pathway

Keep it light

Lighting up a driveway is paramount for security and safety but also looks great. Traditional driveway headlights are bright white spotlights positioned at the top of a garage, often on a motion sensor to come on as you drive or walk up to them. However, there are more subtle arrangements that can be installed such as garden solar lights or LED strip lighting along the edge of the driveway. Including an electrician in your driveway renovation from conception can help you illuminate in the most appropriate way.

Safety first: keep it visible

Visibility splays may be required on your driveway for safety reasons to help drivers see clearly when exiting. These may impact on the design and layout of the driveway as well as the landscaping around it and should be prioritised over any other feature. 
A long extended driveway

Don’t discount accessibility

You may be driving a Fiat 500 now but there may need for you to have a people carrier in the future. It may even be that at some point you require wheelchair access or level easy access for those with mobility issues. Ideally your driveway should be wider than you actually need it in order to accommodate vehicles of varying types, shapes and sizes, and access to the front door level. Consider it future proofing even if not relevant right now, and it will definitely be an attractive feature for buyers.

Busy driveway? Add a turning bay

If lots of cars head in and out of your driveway, adding in a turning bay can be infinitely useful. They don’t need to be large (you may be surprised at just how small they can be!) and can be installed as a hardscaped raised bed or a landscaped grassy mound. Work with the turning circumference abilities of a medium sized car to best accommodate all and speak to those who use your driveway often to see how they’d feel about using one.

For tight spaces, add in a carport

Carports are an effective way of providing parking where space is limited and can utilise otherwise unused space under a house’s overhang. Carports are becoming more common in the UK and work well for homes where there isn’t lots of forward-facing space for a driveway’s length. They’re also favoured by some car insurers who would much prefer you park under cover than out on the street!
Driveways are misunderstood and often forgotten but there’s lots that can be done to make them more practical, more attractive and more useful. Whilst you may not consider a driveway installation to be a full home renovation it very much can be – and involving Refresh to manage yours ensures every detail is managed by an expert; so you’ll be parking up in a great driveway in no time at all!

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Get in touch today to discuss your properties curb appeal! Our renovation specialists are happy to visit your property and provide you with a no obligation quote for home improvements you are looking to make.

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