Driveways are an important feature of your property and can affect the appearance of your home.  Driveways that are visually cohesive with the architecture and surrounding adds to the property’s curb appeal. Those that are cracked, poorly designed or have little relationship with the setting tend to stand out for all the wrong reasons.

Popular driveway surfaces and the benefits

Driveway surfacing can distract or enhance your property. Selecting the right driveway surface can help make a great first impression, increase your home’s value and save you money in the long run. Here we take a look at the most popular driveway surfaces and the benefits of each material.

1. Exposed Aggregate

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Exposed aggregate driveway alongside an Endicott crazy paved pathway by Bower Architecture

Exposed aggregate is a durable and contemporary surface popular for driveways and paths. The finish is achieved by adding an aggregate such as tile, rock salt or pebbles to the concrete mix. Instead of a solid concrete finish, a thin layer is sanded back to expose the textures and natural beauty of the aggregate material.

The benefits of an exposed aggregate driveway is the finish is highly textural, yet the surface is incredibly durable. You can also use a variety of different aggregate mixes to suit materials and colour palette of your home. Depending on the chosen colour, marks and spills for daily use are typically well disguised, as are the contraction joints to help prevent cracking.

2. Bluestone paving

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Bluestone crazy paved driveway by Tobias Partners

Bluestone paving is one of the most popular driveway surfaces for it’s modern and clean aesthetic. Formed out of volcanic stones, our Bluestone pavers are extremely dense and hardwearing, making them ideal for vigorous applications such as driveways.

Bluestone pavers are available in a variety of sizes and formats providing flexibility depending on the shape of your driveway and your design intentions. The sawn finish ensures it is non-slip when walking on a wet driveway and the grey tones can work cohesively with both modern and traditional architecture and colour palettes. Another benefit of using bluestone paving as a driveway material is that you can seamlessly run the material throughout the interior. It is recommended the paving be sealed to pressure the natural beauty of the stone.

3. Concrete

Concrete is often used as a driveway material for its versatility, simple aesthetic and affordability. The smooth, non-invasive surface will suit a variety of architectural styles and can also be used for pathways and alfresco areas.

As a blank canvas, concrete can be coloured or stamped to create different effects. While long-lasting and easy to maintain, the potential downside of using concrete especially in a large area such as a driveway is that it is prone to cracking over time. Contraction joints can help prevent this occurring.

4. Brick Paving

Brick pavers set on a sand or mortar base have been used as a driveway surface for centuries. Typically cured in rectangular shapes, brick pavers can come in an array of colours and textures to suit the desired appearance.

In a driveway application, brick pavers can be laid in a variety of patterns to add visual interest and movement, such as a basket weave or herringbone. They tend to suit more traditional homes due to their aged appearance. While a hard material, bricks can crack or chip after frequent use and may require maintenance such as annual cleaning and regular weeding between the pavers.

5. Cobblestones

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Driveway of Granite cobblestones

Rounding out our list of popular driveway surfaces and providing an aged, European appearance are cobblestones. This driveway material is highly desirable due to its textural finish which provides traction, especially in those steep areas. The colour variation also adds to the durable nature of cobblestones as they are forgiving in terms of tire marks and oil stains.

Another benefit of using cobblestones in a driveway application is their small size. This makes them ideal for dealing with curves in the driveway or paths. Most of our cobblestones also come with a matching stone tile or paving allowing you to connect the driveway with other paving in the landscape. They’re also incredibly tough and if correctly laid, cobblestones will last a lifetime.

For more driveway advice and inspiration, head to the Driveway section of our learning library.

Feature image: Endicott Cobblestone driveway by Weir Phillips.