Planning for a new driveway

Designing your drive might be something that you haven’t thought about much during the early stages of a self-build or refurbishment project. However, the external area can make a huge difference to both impact and practicality of your finished project and often will add value and appeal to prospective buyers.

Here are some considerations when completing your driveway design:

How many cars do you need to park? It sounds basic, but if you have room for more cars than the needs of your own family, is it a good idea to spare room for parking for visitors, or make the entrance look more attractive?

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How does your driveway access the main road and pavement? In rural areas, often there will be no pavement, but you still need to consider people who walk past. Do you want passers-by to be able to access your drive directly or do you want a fence or gate? Do you have room for a gate to open properly?

Depending on the arrangement with the roads and pavements and what you want to achieve, you may need permission from local authorities for the design aspect. For example, installation of a ‘dropped kerb’ will usually require a permit. Even if you are not required to get a permit, you will want to think about the material you use – shingle and pebbles will definitely spill out onto public roads if it is not contained.

Visibility to the public highway – Consider your design in relation to what is adjacent to the opening to the street – will you have a lot of parked cars to see past at certain times of the day or are you on a bend? Can you move your exit / entrance to make your life easier or safer?

If you have kids or are looking to appeal to the family market for resale, the ability to get the kids in and out of the car in a safe area while you unload is worth considering.

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What is under the ground? Services? Tree roots? In a new build project, you may have the luxury of planning your services so you can consider them when designing the external works – so no manhole covers in the middle of your lawn! In the existing building, you will need to think about what you have on the ground already and what you are willing to move to achieve what you want. For information on Groundwork companies Bristol, visit a site like Chew Valley Construction, a leading Groundwork companies Bristol.

Materials make a huge difference to the appearance, cost, and time to complete the works. These days, more attention is paid to water runoff – if you replace porous surfaces such as grass or gravel with a material that is less permeable, think about where the surface run-off will go – you might want to consider a more ‘sustainable’ option such as permeable block pavers, for example.

Maintenance – How much time and / or money are you willing to spend maintaining the external areas? If you consider this, it will surely lead you to choose the right design and appropriate materials.