A driveway is many things: a welcome mat as you drive into the garage, a utility feature that allows easy access and parking on your property, and an element of curb appeal. For all these reasons, Exterior World believes your driveway design should be an important part of your residential landscape design.
Driveway designs are a subset of custom hardscapes, the non-plant features of landscaping that are tailor-made for your location. All design considerations for driveways need to be practical since they are essential to the way we live today. However, that doesn’t mean that they need only be a slab of concrete. Form can still follow behind function.
Examples of our driveway designs include the common straightaway drive, prized for the ease it provides for driving in and backing out. Sometimes you can add an apron, for extra parking, for entry into a side garage or for turning around. Another popular design calls for the driveway to traverse the front of the property to end on the far side where the garage is situated. Circular driveways are also prevalent and practical.
Courtyard designs, whose enclosed area can be four-sides or circular but spacious enough to maneuver vehicles, can be detailed to recall Old World living or contemporary life. Perhaps you might dress up the interior space with an outdoor water feature, such as a classic fountain or an exterior wall fountain.
Another element of your driveway design is the material choice. Among your many options are concrete, decorative concrete (stained, stamped, polished), asphalt, concrete pavers, brick and natural stone. As with all elements in your landscape, your choice should be guided by the architecture of your home and the material choices already present in your overall design.
You can also add extra features to the design of your driveway. An ornamental iron gate across the driveway makes an impressive entrance while it provides extra security. Driveway edging, either flat or raised, ratchets up the design impact, too. Contrasting or complementary bricks, stone or pavers can be laid on either side of your driveway in interesting patterns. Edging further defines the driveway as it creates a transition area into the yard.
One practical consideration to be addressed is yard drainage. Most often, driveways increase your impermeable surface area, so rainwater run-off must be routed somewhere. This aspect makes Exterior Worlds an excellent choice for your residential landscape designer because of our expertise in this area. We ensure your driveway doesn’t create problems—for you or your neighbors.
As for ongoing maintenance, driveways are usually built to withstand the rigors of daily wear and tear. But they will require some maintenance. We can power-wash your driveway once a year as part of our maintenance contract.
One note to those who are contemplating ranch landscaping or estates landscaping: you will have special driveway needs, which include all-weather access, parking for family and guests, safe access to public roads, load-bearing requirements, turning radius and sight distances. We can walk you through this decision-making process.
Clearly, driveways deserve special attention in your outdoor design. They are your landscape’s first impression and last impression. Make it a good one.