Driveways with perfection – invest more in driveway design and installation for better results

Driveways with perfection – invest more in driveway design and installation for better results

A granite driveway

It is hardly surprising that during these challenging economic times, prospective clients considering investing in new or replacement driveways are much more cost conscious and seeking more value. When it comes to considering which finish is best for you, it is worth considering the advantages and in some cases the obvious disadvantages of the various driveway finishes available.

Choice of finishes

In the main the principal choices include the following types may be used in the installation, e.g. loose gravel, cobble lock pavers and natural stone (e.g. granite) and sometimes one or more finishes can be combined. The main reason for choosing loose gravel is that it is simple, easy and quick to install and therefore tends to be the most economical. After all, being quick to lay and easy to hide any unevenness in the ground as well as being self draining is an attractive and economical solution. But loose gravel can only really be used on generally level ground, even in such cases there is some regular maintenance work required including regular raking of stones to keep them in place as well weed control. Keeping the area tidy can also be challenging especially during the autumn and removing any fallen leaf can be quite a chore.

Apart from these practical pros and cons of loose gravel, it is important to realise loose gravel also has a limited lifespan. Loose gravel is difficult to keep clean and eventually the area will require topping up or replacement every few years. The obvious disadvantage of loose gravel is that it is not suitable for sites with steep inclines.

A granite driveway

Cobble lock or block pavers (generally a dyed concrete product) on the other hand may offer a more stable surface than loose gravel. But we have all seen sites where the pavers have been poorly installed or ground has not be adequately prepared resulting in subsidence and deep ruts and channels which spoil the driveway appearance. A more common problem with pavers is that maintenance can be problematic. Weathering and regular washing can remove the colour often leaving a rather dull grey surface which few like. Because cobble lock pavers must be secured in position using fine (silicate) brush-in sand between the
joints, these joints are very vulnerable to weed infestation and require frequent weeding in order to keep the area weed free and tidy. Worse still power washing is very difficult without damaging or removing the silicate sand. It is very important that any displaced sand be replaced (which can only be done in dry conditions) otherwise the joints will open and the pavers will eventually become loose and unstable. Although cobble lock pavers are suitable for use in all areas, the few advantages over loose gravel are limited and not sufficient to making them a wise choice in many cases.

Despite the higher material and installation costs, increasingly natural stone is becoming the preferred material of choice for driveways. As more and more discover that driveway design and installation is much more than short-term affordability but more about better value long term performance which is why granite is undoubtedly becoming the ideal natural stone of choice for driveway surface. Available generally in two shades (silver grey and buff yellow) but also in a range of sizes and finishes (slabs, setts, kerbing etc).

Another example of a granite driveway

Granite is a very durable and long-lasting natural stone which is easily maintained and can be used very effectively to produce a wide range of styles to suit most architectural styles or preferences. For the perfect finish, granite driveways should be installed on a continuous sand and cement bed over a robust and consolidated sub-base and all joints should be sealed (traditionally sand and cement).

As natural stone, granite makes the perfect choice to complement lush lawns and colourful planted borders. Maintenance is easy and occasional. In shaded areas or under tree canopies, any surface staining is quickly and easily removed with an annual power washing.

If you wish to find out more about driveway design and installation, visit our website, send us an email to or call us on 01-492 0904/087-2306 128. We will provide you with the best independent design advice and which surface finish will be the perfect
choice for your requirements.

Granite driveways are becoming a more and more popular choice

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