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Posted 9th October 2023 Back to Blog

The Comprehensive Guide to Planning a Driveway

Planning a driveway is more than just setting out a parking space for your vehicle. It's about creating a welcoming entrance to your home that also adds value to your property. Whether you're looking to sell your home in the future or just want to improve your kerb appeal, a well-planned driveway can make a significant difference.

In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to consider when planning a driveway, ensuring that you take into account all the important details that will make your driveway both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Understanding the Purpose of a Driveway

Your initial step in planning a driveway is determining its primary function. You need to consider the practicality of the driveway and its intended use. Consider how many people live in your home and whether you tend to have regular visitors. This will help you decide on the size and design of the driveway.

For families with growing children, it's important to maximise space for future drivers. If you're planning to sell your home in the future, focus on enhancing kerb appeal. A well-designed driveway can boost your property's value and attract potential buyers.

Choosing the Right Driveway Installer

Installing a driveway is a substantial investment, so you need to ensure that you're working with a reputable and experienced installer. When choosing a driveway installer, consider their expertise with the type of driveway material you've chosen. If you're leaning towards a particular driveway material, say resin or block paving, look for an installer who has extensive experience with that material.

Deciding on Driveway Materials/Finish

The material and finish of your driveway will significantly impact its appearance and performance. Each material has its pros and cons, and their costs vary significantly. Traditional block paving gives a classic look, while a resin surface provides a contemporary and practical finish. Natural stone is a luxurious option but comes with a high price tag.

Whichever material you choose, ensure it aligns with your home's style, the driveway's intended use, and, of course, your budget.

Determining the Right Material for Your Driveway

Choosing the best material for your driveway involves considering several factors, including whether your driveway is on a slope and the specific style you desire. Research the different materials available and consider their durability, maintenance requirements, and aesthetic appeal.

Materials like gravel and asphalt are cost-effective and easy to install but may require regular maintenance. On the other hand, materials like concrete and brick are more expensive but offer longevity and a high-end look.

Preparing the Ground for a Driveway

Proper ground preparation is crucial for a long-lasting and durable driveway. The ground must be prepared to ensure that the materials laid on top won't sink over time. This involves excavating the area to the required depth, installing a sub-base to provide a stable surface, and laying a bedding layer for the driveway material.

Ensure that your quote includes all these necessary steps. If omitted, your driveway may look good initially, but problems may arise shortly after installation.

Understanding the Need for Driveway Drainage

Driveway drainage is a critical aspect of planning a driveway. Poor drainage can lead to water pooling on the surface or even flooding your property. Depending on your driveway's size and location, you may need to install a drainage system to manage rainwater effectively.

Speak to your driveway installer about the best drainage solutions for your property. They can advise on the use of permeable materials, the installation of drainage channels, or the creation of a gentle slope to direct water away from your property.

Getting to Grips with SuDS Compliance

In recent years, the government has introduced Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) legislation to manage rainwater run-off effectively. A SuDS compliant surface allows water to drain through to the natural ground or into a soakaway or swale.

If you plan a driveway over 5m2 between your home and the public road, you'll need planning permission unless the surface is SuDS compliant. If you're unsure about SuDS compliance or need advice on making your driveway SuDS compliant, consult with your driveway installer or local council.

Figuring Out the Size of Your Driveway

The size of your driveway will depend on the number of vehicles you need to accommodate and the space available. A professional driveway installer can help you maximise the use of your space and recommend a layout that suits your requirements.

Whether you need a compact driveway for a single car or a spacious one for multiple vehicles, careful planning and design can help you achieve a practical and attractive driveway.

Knowing When You Need a Dropped Kerb

If your driveway involves crossing an existing pavement or footway, you'll need a dropped kerb. A dropped kerb allows vehicles to cross from the road to your driveway. However, installing a dropped kerb requires planning permission from your local council. If you ignore this requirement, you could face legal action from your local council or a utility company.

Deciding Whether to Retain Some Lawn

When planning a driveway, consider whether you want to maintain some lawn or garden space. Some homeowners prefer to have a bit of greenery alongside their driveway, while others choose to pave the entire area for ease of maintenance.

Either way, ensure that your chosen design accommodates your preferences and enhances your property's overall appearance.

Understanding When Planning Permission is Needed

Not all driveway installations require planning permission, but some do. For instance, if you're creating a new vehicle access point or installing a dropped kerb, you'll likely need planning permission.

Check with your local council or driveway installer to determine if your project requires planning permission. If it does, factor in the associated costs and time needed to obtain permission before starting work.

Ensuring VAT is Included in the Quote

When getting quotes for your driveway installation, ensure that VAT is included in the quoted price. Some smaller firms may not be VAT registered and hence might not include it in their initial quote. However, VAT can add a significant amount to your overall cost, so it's crucial to clarify this from the start.

With careful planning and consideration, you can create a driveway that meets your practical needs, complements your home's style, and enhances your property's value. Whether you're planning a simple, functional driveway or a grand entranceway, this guide will help you navigate the process and make informed decisions.

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