Choosing the Right Driveway Guide


If you are looking to add a driveway to your home or improve an existing one, then it is a good idea to do some research before you make 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 do choose suits not only your budget but also any other requirements you have, both now and in the future.

Consider that first impression a well-planned driveway could make. Kerb appeal can have a huge impact on the way people feel about your property and its value, so if you are thinking of selling, then 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 take a few different things into consideration; 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 be suitable for your needs so think about what it will be used for and 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 driveway available in the UK.

Choosing the right material

The material you choose for your driveway will really depend on what you are likely to use the driveway for. If your driveway will just be used for parking vehicles on then you are not limited to just a few different types of material. If, however, 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 that is 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 and whatever finish you eventually choose the foundation you lay should be the same. Ideally you will need between 100-150mm of hardcore. The hardcore should be placed on top of a substantial membrane which will help to discourage any vegetation from growing up through your driveway and will also help to 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

One of the most popular choices for paths and patios as well as driveways. Block paving is very aesthetically pleasing, durable and long lasting. The blocks, or pavers, are available in a variety of different colours, styles and shapes to suit any style of home.

Pavers come in two basic types – moulded concrete blocks and kiln-fire clay brick. They can be laid in a traditional herringbone pattern or a variety of more intricate designs to suit your needs. The more intricate the pattern, however, the more block paving will cost you, as there is more work that 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 to be run-off water and needs to be drained away from the paving.

Tarmac Driveways

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

Bound and Bonded Resin

Resin driveways are durable and can look stunning. The two different types; resin bound, and resin bonded, each have their own unique properties. However, both require the same degree of minimal maintenance and come in variety of different 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, however, are created by first 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 option. When installed, gravel can look beautiful and, if maintained correctly, can last a long time.

Unlike the other more 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.

There are companies that produce interlocking grids, either of rubber or plastic. These can be used as a base for a gravel driveway and have the advantage of 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 removal of any weeds that can easily grow up between the gravel. However, there are not really any repair costs as such.

Planning Permission

In 2008, the government introduced Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in order to deal with the stress that new housing developments were placing on the mains 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 increase in conversion of gardens to driveways in built up areas significantly increased the amount of rain water entering storm drains, contributing to an increase in flooding.

Planning permission is not required where homeowners are creating a driveway from a material that is semi-permeable or permeable, 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 the process of 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 both looks beautiful and performs as you’d want it to is certainly achievable, and we’re happy to help you obtain the perfect one for you.

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

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

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