Choosing the Right Driveway Guide


If you want to add a driveway to your home or improve an existing one, then it is a good idea to do some research before making your final choice. There are a few different types of driveways that you might want to consider, and you need to make sure that what you choose suits not only your budget but also any other requirements you have, both now and in the future.

Consider the first impression a well-planned driveway could make. Kerb appeal can have a huge impact on how people feel about your property and its value, so if you are thinking of selling, choosing the right driveway can mean the difference between a lower offer and one at or above the asking price.

When choosing your new driveway, you want to consider a few different things: the material that will be used to make it, the costs, and any limitations that there might be. You want to make sure that the driveway you choose will suit your needs, so think about what it will be used for and whether you want something that will be in keeping with the style of your home.

To help you with your decision, our guide looks at the different types of driveways available in the UK.

Choosing the right material

The material you choose for your driveway will depend on what you are likely to use the driveway for. If your driveway is just used for parking vehicles, then you are not limited to just a few different types of material. If your driveway is likely to be used as a place to work on your car or for your children to play, then you will need to consider something more durable, solid and, above all, easy to clean. This means you should be looking at a surface like concrete or asphalt.

Should your driveway have a foundation?

Preparation is key when creating a great driveway; whatever finish you choose, the foundation you lay should be the same. Ideally, you will need between 100 and 150mm of hardcore. The hardcore should be placed on top of a substantial membrane, which will help discourage any vegetation from growing up through your driveway and will also help keep soil and hardcore separate. The hardcore should be well compacted – this will give a solid base for your driveway that will support the surface layer effectively.

Block Paving

It is one of the most popular choices for paths, patios, and driveways. Block paving is very aesthetically pleasing, durable and long-lasting. The blocks, or pavers, are available in various colours and shapes to suit any home style.

Pavers come in two basic types – moulded concrete blocks and kiln-fire clay bricks. They can be laid in a traditional herringbone pattern or more intricate designs to suit your needs. The more intricate the pattern, however, the more block paving will cost you, as more work will be required at the planning stage.

Repair costs for block paving are cheap. Individual blocks can be removed and replaced as required.

It is important to remember that block paving needs to drain properly into gullies or other suitable drainage points, as the surface is virtually impermeable. Therefore, all precipitation should be considered run-off water and must be drained away from the paving.

Tarmac Driveways

Tarmac, or asphalt, is the material used for the surface of most roads in the UK and indeed elsewhere in the world. It is versatile and durable, and you might not realise this, but it comes in various colours and textures. This is a good choice if you already have a driveway, as it can be laid directly over any existing hard surface or compacted sub-base. It is possible to get permeable asphalt made with a single-sized aggregate that leaves subtle gaps that allow the water to pass through.

Tarmac can support heavy loads, requires very little maintenance and, unlike other types of driveway, does not need to be sealed regularly. However, if you only have a small driveway, this may not be the cheapest option because of the costs of hiring the necessary machinery.

Bound and Bonded Resin

Resin driveways are durable and can look stunning. The two types, resin bound and resin bonded, each have unique properties. However, both require the same degree of minimal maintenance and come in various colours and patterns.

The surface of a resin-bound driveway is created by mixing resin with small stones. The mixture is then hand-trowelled. This produces a water-permeable driveway that is SuDS compliant – meaning planning permission is not required.

Resin-bonded driveways are created by placing the resin on the ground and then sprinkling small stones on top. The resulting rougher finish is not water-permeable, and planning permission may be required.

Gravel Drives

One of the most popular choices for UK driveways and available in a range of colours, gravel is also one of the cheapest options. When installed, gravel can look beautiful and, if maintained correctly, can last long.

Unlike the other solid surface driveway materials, gravel allows water to pass through easily. However, the loose nature of gravel means that driving onto it should be done carefully to avoid loose gravel spraying everywhere.

Some companies produce interlocking grids, either of rubber or plastic. These can be used as a base for a gravel driveway, keeping the gravel in place and providing a smoother, more stable surface.

Gravel driveways require more maintenance than other, more solid types of driveways in the way of regular flattening and removing any weeds that can easily grow between the gravel. However, there are not any repair costs as such.

Planning Permission

In 2008, the government introduced Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) to deal with the stress of new housing developments on the main sewer network. As a result of this, any homeowner wishing to pave their front garden with hardstanding greater than five square meters must obtain planning permission if they are not using a permeable material that is SuDS compliant.

The increased conversion of gardens to driveways in built-up areas significantly increased the amount of rainwater entering storm drains, contributing to increased flooding.

Planning permission is not required when homeowners create a driveway from a semi-permeable or permeable material, or if the water is directed to somewhere, it can drain naturally. This makes sure that rainwater is allowed to seep away slowly into the road drainage system rather than causing flooding by running directly into the drainage system.


At S & M Solutions Ltd, we have a wealth of expertise and knowledge to help guide you through choosing the right driveway to suit you and your property, and we will aim to make the whole process as straightforward as possible. Choosing a driveway that looks beautiful and performs as you’d want it to be certainly achievable, and we’re happy to help you obtain the perfect one.

For quality, trusted building contractors in London, get in touch today.

 Book your free, no-obligation consultation now and find out what we can do for you.
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