One common misconception about our driveways is that we are bound to installing or replacing our driveway with the same asphalt driveway that you see everywhere you go. Although this is a very durable, uniform and well-suited option for a driveway, it is definitely not the most interesting way to go. Many of the driveway alternatives are not only more creative, quirky and interesting, but perform just as well or better than a standard asphalt drive. As a homeowner, you have the choice of a wide variety of creative driveway alternatives. These include pavers, cobblestones, stained concrete, river rocks and pervious concrete.
Paver driveways can be a beautiful addition to your landscape design. The wide variety of different colors and patterns available can give your driveway a unique, one of a kind look. Pavers are made of brick, stone or concrete. For best results, be sure that your driveway is properly graded and with a solid base.
In the northeast, paver driveways are an option even with our varying seasons. Their many edges allow for movement due to frost heaves. The one drawback is when it snows, shoveling paver driveways is more of a challenge. You must be cautious to not crack the paver by catching the edge. However, paver driveways are extremely durable and can handle de-icing products.
The standard gray concrete poured to make the majority of driveways is:
- Very easy to come by
- Relatively easy to install
- Very durable.
One of the easiest ways to distinguish your drive from the rows of others in your area is by applying a simple stain to what you already have in place. Stains come in a variety of colors. You can apply the stain in a number of different patterns and other designs. This will increase the overall aesthetics of your driveway.
Crushed Oyster Shells
Crushed oyster shells were traditionally used to help harden muddy paths during the spring and other rainy seasons. After the oysters were consumed, the shells would be crushed and turned into a very useful addition to many muddy paths. If you are looking to add a coastal appeal to your home, this is the way to do it. Oyster shells offer a great look, high level of durability and sturdy drive or walkway.
For a look that is more natural than concrete or stained concrete, consider river rock and granite chips. These materials offer a natural, rustic look with many advantages. Although a bit bumpy to drive on, this alternative is long-lasting, great looking and provides optimal drainage. If you choose granite chips, know that this material does not stay in place as well as other types of rock. Therefore it may require occasional replacement. Rock driveways of all types are very popular in conjunction with cabin-style or other more rustic types of homes.
One of the major complaints from homeowners is that their driveways do not match the style of their home. Rather than settling for the standard, drab driveway, many are experimenting with cobblestone pavers when installing their drives. These pavers come in many different shapes, sizes, colors and designs that can give your driveway a rustic, warm feel that goes well with many homes, especially cottage-style architecture. In addition to their warm aesthetic, cobble stone driveways provide excellent drainage. Water is returned to the soil rather than into the street.
Pervious concrete is a very similar, yet a much more environmentally friendly alternative to your standard concrete driveway. It has the same level of durability, but a look that is much closer to gravel than the more familiar concrete. Because it is pervious, water will drain through it back into the soil rather than running into the street and then into the drainage canals. Pervious concrete driveways are ideal for areas that have longer driveways and the need for large amounts of concrete.
With a little bit of research and a creative eye, you can replace your driveway with something that fits better with your style. Because alternative driveway styles are becoming more popular, the materials and professional installers are more readily available than ever. This means that a great-looking, unique driveway that is every bit as durable and functional as a standard concrete driveway can be installed by anyone, anywhere. If you’re thinking about either replacing your current driveway, or doing something different with a new construction project, don’t hesitate to branch out and be creative.