Before embarking on your project, decide what you have to spend. This may determine what materials are available for you and will give the contractor an idea of what they could quote for if you are unsure of the materials you would like to use. Once you have set your budget you could contact a few driveway installers to get an idea of cost for your driveway. Choosing a driveway installer is also part of the planning process and should be thought about carefully as you will want a long-lasting, quality new driveway. You could ask the installer if they offer any guarantees or warranties with their service.
You will not need planning permission for any new or replacement driveway if the material you choose is permeable – that is it allows water to drain through to the subsoil. This is to try and reduce the amount of flooding in the UK. Materials you could consider to avoid applying for planning permission are: gravel, permeable block paving or porous asphalt. If you are introducing a new drop kerb, however you will need to apply for planning permission. If you are unsure as to whether you need planning permission, we are always happy to help.
If you are making a new access route into your front garden across the pavement, you will need to get permission from the local council to drop the kerbs, and the pavement may need strengthening. You will also need a driveway contractor with a Street works licence.
There are number of different materials you could opt for, each with their own pros and cons and different looks. Browse the internet or start a Pinterest board to determine which materials you like the look of and then research what the advantages and disadvantages are of the ones you like, or ask your chosen driveway contractor. When choosing a material, also think about the style of your house, an ultra-modern resin might not suit an older character country house for example. We have outlined a few of the pros and cons here:
Pattern imprinted concrete driveways
This is non-permeable and will therefore require drainage options and planning permissions. They come in a wide range of patterns and can be a lower cost option than traditional block paving.
Resin (bound or bonded)
Resin bound surfacing is water-permeable when laid on an open surface asphalt (a porous tarmac). By contrast, resin bonded surfacing, or ‘scattercoat’ paving is non-permeable and must be laid on a non-porous fine wearing course asphalt or concrete base – this type of driveway would require planning permission and drainage.
Block paving is a permeable option that would require no additional drainage, however being in a wet location such as North Wales we might recommend installing some additional drainage to ensure all surface water is carried into the ground and to reduce any “pooling” during heavy rain. As a Marshall’s approved installer, choosing their products will carry a 10 year guarantee on the product and 5 years on our workmanship. We are also happy to work with a range of other block paving suppliers. Block paving is also one of the more sustainable products to use for driveways, mainly due to its porous nature.
Gravel (or crushed stone)
Gravel driveways are perhaps the more affordable material option, they can also be a good permeable option meaning you won’t need to apply for planning permission or install extra drainage (although the need for extra drainage may arise depending on the location and size of your driveway). In areas of high rainfall (like North Wales) you can see a high amount of erosion of gravel which might make it a less suitable option for the typically wet weather we enjoy in Wales.
Tarmac or Asphalt
Tarmac driveways are long-lasting, strong and weather resistant. As they don’t have any gaps it means the weather such as ice cannot penetrate and cause cracking which can occur with some other driveway materials. They are however less attractive than the other more decorative driveway materials like block paving, so this needs to be weighed up against the benefits. If you opt for a permeable asphalt you will may not need to obtain planning permission or install additional drainage.
When considering a material choice you may also want to think about the on-going maintenance as some materials will require more after care than others. We can also help with advising which materials are lower maintenance and the level of aftercare your new driveway might need. And if you didn’t want to do the aftercare yourself, this is a service we offer too.
Have a think about you as a family, do you have any specific needs from the new driveway – do you have mobility issues or could this be something you want to plan for in the future, for example? Or perhaps you are a busy family and therefore would prefer something low maintenance. Write down your practical requirements and discuss these with your chosen driveway installer prior to receiving a quote. As the expert, they can then recommend driveway materials based on your practical requirements and how you would like it to look – there may need to be some compromise between aesthetics and practicality.
If you are thinking about upgrading your existing driveway or creating a driveway in your front garden, we would be happy to discuss your plans and offer advice on how you might plan the driveway project and what our suggested driveway materials might be.