The path to a perfect driveway

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The entrance to your home should make a great first impression; if it’s a mess of wheelie bins and weeds, you’re missing a trick.

While an off-road parking space is on many people’s driveway wish list, and can add as much as 10% to the value of a property, a good driveway isn’t just a car park. With a little planning and the right contractors, it’s a great way to add “kerb appeal”.

The three big factors to consider when creating a driveway are the surface, then lighting and planting.I favour a mix of paving and planting, adding greenery with borders and edgings.

But your most important decision will be surface – gravel, tarmac, resin or block paving? Some like loose gravel as they want to hear people approach, but there’s maintenance to consider as keeping it clean and tidy can be a chore. One answer is to go for resin with the appearance of gravel – it has zero loose stones and looks smart, but it is quite pricey.

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Sunken runway lights that show pathways and nearby trees can look spectacular. Lights also add a sense of security. The sharp minimalist look of rendered walls and cedar-slatted fences is popular, as is mixing textures – for example, gravel with granite stone edging.

With hard surfaces there are planning constraints around water runoff, known as SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems), and you may need planning permission if your driveway slopes towards the road. A good tradesperson should know about SuDS, but it’s your responsibility to check.

Think about how many cars you want to be able to park to give an idea of the size– and be sure to specify to your contractor which surface you prefer. Decide on your budget and explore your options within that price range. Be honest with your contractor about what you want to spend and they will help you with this.

The entrance is the first part of your home people will see, so make sure you’re leading from the front when it comes to your driveway.

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