How to turn your driveway into a grand entrance
Your driveway is the first impression guests encounter when arriving at your home. It’s your giant welcome mat, and directs the focus to your property. Enhancing the tone of your home exterior with a grand entrance will increase kerb appeal and add value to your property, and give your guests the welcome you are hoping for.
All too often attention is turned to the interior of the home, while exteriors take a back seat. Why not take a cue and turn your driveway into a grand entrance to match the sophisticated interior you’ve worked so hard to create on the inside of your home?
There’s no better place to stamp your personality than at the entrance of your home. Here’s how.
Spruce up your existing driveway
If your driveway has seen better days, it could be time you gave it some attention. Unsightly cracked concrete and ugly potholes in your driveway could be killing the kerb appeal of your home.
Cracks in concrete or asphalt driveways are a common problem and usually occur as a result of gas, oil and salt from de-icing. Once cracks appear, in the cold winter months, water seeps into cracks, freezes and expands, and that will only be making things worse.
If cracks are only small, your driveway can easily be repaired. Where cracks are especially long and deep, it’s a sign of more serious damage and a complete driveway replacement is the best option.
If your driveway is in a good state of repair, but is simply looking a little jaded, a good clean will get your entrance looking like new in no time. There isn’t a one-size fits all approach to cleaning driveways, though the pressure wash will work well in most cases. Avoid using cleaning products and solvents on an asphalt driveway as this can weaken the surface. Use a reputable driveway cleaning company if you want to be sure you aren’t causing any damage.
Fashion a new driveway
A new drive can completely transform the exterior of your property, so it’s important to get it right. The main options are gravel, porous asphalt, concrete blocks (with an absorbent substrate), or a modern block-paved driveway.
Generally, you won’t need planning permission to add a new or replacement driveway of any size, as long as the material you are using is permeable (all driveways in England now have to be permeable). However, regulations do, in some cases, allow for non-permeable materials to be used where there is adequate drainage within the property. Always check guidelines on the permeable surfacing of front gardens before you start any work.
Gravel is perhaps the easiest option for a driveway. But, while the crunch of gravel under your tyres may be a satisfying sound, gravel can be messy, so you’ll need to decide if that is something you want to put up with. On the plus side, a gravel drive does conjure up images of the entrance to a grand country house, so if that is the look you are going for, this is the one for you.
Most modern properties suit a block-paved driveway. There are many types of blocks and bricks and a huge variety of patterns and colours that can be fashioned to create a bespoke driveway suited to your property. The two main types of block paving are moulded concrete blocks (CBP – concrete block pavers) and kiln-fired clay bricks. You can also accent your driveway with decorative bricks to give it a fancy design.
We wouldn’t recommend you lay a new drive yourself. If you’re making this investment (driveways aren’t cheap), you want to make sure it is installed properly using the right materials, and that it will last.
Give your drive a garage to match
Sitting at the end of your grand driveway is your garage. Nothing brings the tone of your driveway down more, than an average or dilapidated garage. If you are serious about creating a grand entrance, a garage really matters.
If you already have a garage, why not consider changing or re-painting the door to give it a lift. If you don’t have a garage, but have the space, it could be time you consider planning a garage extension. A garage will add value to your property, reduce your car insurance premiums, and add an extra dimension to the front of your home. It will also give you plenty of additional storage space, and perhaps mean you can turn your back-garden shed into a summerhouse instead.
Dress up your garden
If your front garden is big enough add a water feature or a statue. An interesting contemporary piece will work perfectly for a modern home, while more traditional works will give a more refined and grander feel to your front garden. Use outdoor pot plants to dress up your entrance and create a particular look.
If your front garden is looking a little lacklustre, it could be time to call in the experts. Re-landscaping your garden will definitely bump your kerb appeal up a notch, and provide the perfect frame for your driveway.
Add the entrance gate of all gates
Beautiful cast iron gates will add real style and a sense of grandeur to your entrance, and provide additional security for your home. Reclaimed ornate gates are perfect for period properties. Alternatively, modern, bespoke driveway gates create a stunning first impression for more contemporary homes.
Impress with pillars and finials
For an even grander statement add some impressive gate piers or pillars adorned with lanterns or finials to give your property the air of a grand stately home. Finials are perfect for making a statement and can also be placed in the garden or at your doorway on a pedestal, plinth or balustrade.
Adding something too ostentatious to a smaller property will look out of place, but you can scale the idea down with simple cast stone balls. To replicate the grandeur of a stately home, seek out finials from an architectural salvage company.