Driveways: To Pave or Not

Driveways: To Pave or Not
  • Opening Intro -

    With a finished driveway, you're always ensured of a smooth and clear surface, weather conditions excepted.

    With other options you have no such assurance, but you do have one distinct advantage: reduced problems of run off from paving land that once was left uncovered.

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Most modern homes today have driveways that are paved, allowing for easy entrance and exit for automobiles. If you live in an area where your home is subject to a home owner’s association, your choice of driveway may not be left up to you. Instead, your driveway will be required to conform to the HOA’s compact, which means that you need to follow the rules or face potentially severe and expensive consequences.

For everyone else, you aren’t required to have an asphalt or a concrete driveway as attractive as these options might be. With a finished driveway, you’re always ensured of a smooth and clear surface, weather conditions excepted. With other options you have no such assurance, but you do have one distinct advantage: reduced problems of run off from paving land that once was left uncovered.

Let’s take a look at some options to paving that may be worth exploring:

1. Grass — If you are a “green” advocate, going with a grass driveway can provide the most natural way to provide a parking area for your car. The advantage here is that water is absorbed by the ground with minimal run off to the street or into your basement. You can place down pavers that provide tracks for your car’s wheels, allowing grass to grow between the two rows. With this option, you ensure traction when conditions are wet, while also preserving an enhanced run-off area for rainwater or snow melt.

2. Gravel — Yes, gravel. But, a word for those who live in the suburbs: don’t! Gravel driveway are noisy and can announce your arrival and departure. Your neighbors won’t appreciate gravel especially if you leave for work early in the morning or otherwise keep late hours. In rural settings, gravel driveways are cheaper to manage than concrete and asphalt, and still do a good job of allowing water to soak into the ground or at least limit run off. Gravel is cheap and can be replaced as needed.

3. Bark — Depending on where you live bark and even sand can provide the needed traction for your driveway. Shore properties make good use of the latter, while homes in more rustic areas rely upon the former. you can put down wood cross beams as well, giving you some much needed traction for those days where the bark or sand turns to soup.

4. Brick — Some homeowners insist on a sold driveway, but are open to something besides concrete or asphalt. And that something are brick pavers, offering firm pavement and a job routinely handled by professionals. Although not permeable, you may find that drainage is better with brick although the cost is more too. Look into permeable pavers that are shaped like brick to find yet another option for your driveway.

For additional home exterior improvement ideas, please visit our “how to” tips page.

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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".