Thinking of having a new driveway installed? The process of getting a new drive can be a stressful and costly affair. However, it’s important not to overlook getting the design right, as you’ll probably be stuck with it for a number of decades.
But by getting things right from the beginning, you can ensure that you have a superb driveway installed in terms of its usability, aesthetics, safety and durability. Let’s take a look at four key factors to consider when designing your driveway.
Note: You should hire a professional designer for the full design process while providing your ideas and input. Try to hire a designer who you get on well with and who sees largely eye-to-eye when it comes to your particular vision. You might also want to consider hiring a tarmac driveway expert.
Practicality and Ease of Access
It’s vital that your driveway design is perfectly practical. Primarily, you’ll need to consider the number of cars that will park on your drive regularly. Also, if you wish to park two or more cars, you should try to allow for plenty of room for you and other household occupants to get between these vehicles when walking in and out the front door.
That is, if it’s possible, of course. Depending on how much space you have on your property and the number of vehicles you wish to park there (as well as the size of those vehicles), it may or may not be feasible to achieve the truly perfect driveway. You may or may not also want to think about potential visitors and potentially creating space for an additional car to park in your drive when having friends or family over.
You may decide to sacrifice car space for walking space. If, for example, your household owns two cars, perhaps you’ll settle on ensuring space for one vehicle and plenty of walking space on either side of it while continuing to park the other car elsewhere. Whatever the case, try to balance perfectionism with practicality and ease of access. Also, being practical is important to ensure you don’t get carried away with other design elements while overlooking the basics.
It’s also worth adding that when it comes to ease of access for your vehicles in particular, be sure that the width of your drive makes it easy for the car(s) to enter. Also, if you want space for 2+ vehicles to park, don’t forget to make sure that there’ll be enough room to get out of a car after arriving and parking next to another.
While practicality and ease of access are crucial to getting a driveway design right, you’ll also want a drive that offers plenty of visual appeal for your home.
There is a wide range of driveway designs to consider, both in terms of the look and style of the materials used and the overall shape of the driveway. Naturally, the right option for any given household can vary widely; therefore, it’s important to carefully ruminate on tons of suitable ideas with a professional designer before choosing the right one for your home.
Popular driveway design ideas include:
- Block paving
- Gravel and slate driveways
- Metro style paving
- Herringbone driveway designs
- Old-fashioned cobblestone drives
If a driveway lacks sufficient drainage, it will result in water pooling and ultimately wearing out the driveway, even if made of a highly durable material like concrete, asphalt or cobblestone.
Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your drive has good drainage. Moreover, if there is a slope/incline heading toward your home, it’s important that the drainage system used is sturdy enough to remove surface water and prevent it from undermining your property’s footing or its very structure. If you ever have any concerns related to property water damage or/and the structure of your home, be sure to call out a professional.
As part of good drainage, you may want to consider permeable paving, which can allow water to be drained directly into the ground and possibly lower overall drainage costs. However, you should discuss this in more detail with your designer to ensure you get more than adequate drainage for your driveway and the front of your property in general. As mentioned, getting drainage right is highly important.
Keeping Pedestrians Safe
Last but certainly not least, you’ll also want to ensure your driveway is perfectly safe for pedestrians and meets all legal expectations for safety standards.
Legal requirements will likely apply with regard to ‘visibility splays’. A visibility splay is a drawing plan that highlights the angle and distance from which drivers emerging from an access point (in this case, a driveway) can see other drivers and pedestrians and, likewise, be seen by those drivers and pedestrians. Ultimately, a visibility splay is there to ensure that entrances and exits offer sufficient visibility to minimise the risk of an accident.
In practice, a visibility splay may mean that any hedgerows or/and fences adjacent to the entrance to your home will need to be limited to a certain height.
Generally, pedestrian visibility splays will be about 2 metres by 2 metres on either side of the entrance to a property. This means that if someone is walking down the road and about to pass by your house, it will give sufficient opportunity for you or the pedestrian to stop and thus avoid a collision.
Again, you’ll want to run through this with your designer. If you have any doubts as to the legal requirements in your area, you can always contact your local council for clarity.