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Driveway Ideas And Improvements To Boost Your Curb Appeal

Katie Ziraldo4-Minute Read
UPDATED: May 25, 2023

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They say not to judge a book by its cover, but in some cases, the cover can be a good representation of what lies inside. When you think of your home, think of the curb appeal as its cover. Though the most important elements may lie within your home’s walls, its exterior serves as a prospective buyer’s first impression – and if they don’t like what they see, they may not take the time to examine the property further.

If you’re looking for ways to boost your curb appeal, redesigning your driveway may be a great option – and there are a plethora of driveway ideas you can consider.

Driveway Design Ideas

Perhaps the most important decision to make about your driveway design is how it will be paved. In addition to the variety of shapes and pathways to explore, there are also several paving options to consider. Will you go the traditional route or choose to stand out from the crowd with a more unique style? Let’s take a look at a few of your choices.

Gravel Driveway

Classic brick white home with expansive gravel driveway leading up to it.

For a more natural look, try embracing a gravel driveway. Gravel is available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, making customization easy. Crushed stone, quarry process, pea gravel, marble chips and blackstar rock are all popular options.

Gravel is also the most affordable driveway material, making it a popular choice for homeowners with extended driveways. But although gravel is cheap, remember that it won’t last as long as some of your other paving options – the gravel will need to be replaced after just a few years.

Asphalt Driveway

Home with three car driveway with long asphalt driveway.
  • Average Cost: $7 - $13 per square foot

Asphalt is another popular driveway material, and the second most affordable. Asphalt is particularly common in places that experience harsh weather conditions, as its firm surface is durable enough to survive the elements.

For those on a budget, asphalt can be a good middle-ground option – costing less than concrete but requiring less maintenance than gravel. But even still, asphalt driveways will need some love and care and should be resealed every few years to keep them looking clean and smooth.

Concrete Driveway

Mother playing basketball with her kids on their concrete driveway in front of two car garage.
  • Average Cost: $8 - $18 per square foot

Concrete is the most popular driveway material across the U.S., with concrete slabs providing a strong, stable, durable surface that can stand the test of time with very little maintenance.

Although concrete is more expensive than gravel or asphalt, it can provide a clean, finished look while still costing you less than some of the other options on this list, including brick, cobblestone and concrete pavers.

Brick Driveway

Southwest style home with brick driveway.
  • Average Cost: $10 - $50 per square foot

If you have a brick-faced home, or if you’re looking for a driveway material that will likely last the rest of your lifetime, brick pavers may be the way to go. Brick pavers are solid and require little maintenance aside from the occasional power wash to keep them looking fresh.

Brick driveways often utilize block paving, a common practice that allows individual bricks to be removed and changed when they become worn or damaged. In addition to brick, block paving can be done with natural stone and concrete pavers. But you’ll pay for all the advantages of brick driveways, as this is one of the more expensive driveway options available.

Cobblestone Driveway

English style home with big brick driveway flanked by landscaping.
  • Average Cost: $10 - $50 per square foot

Granite, basalt and limestone – oh my! Cobblestone driveways have been around for a long time and continue to be a popular choice for certain homeowners. Cobblestone can create a sleek, finished driveway look while evoking feelings of a simpler, more charming time.

Natural cobblestone pavers are relatively durable, requiring little maintenance aside from a quick cleaning and de-weeding from time to time – but it is by and large one of the most expensive driveway materials. If you like the look and feel of cobblestone but the cost of a full cobblestone drive exceeds your budget, consider constructing a cobblestone pathway from the driveway to the house instead.

Driveway Gate Ideas

Modern wooden gate entrance with lush landscaping surrounding.

If your driveway has a gate, it may provide the perfect opportunity to make a change and a lasting impression on neighbors and prospective buyers alike.

Consider your home’s overall aesthetic when choosing a driveway gate. Most modern homes are associated with neutral colors, so adding wood elements to your gate is a great option, while a slatted metal gate will offer a more industrial look. And if you have a fence, consider choosing materials for your gate that will match the fence – or vice versa – for a more cohesive look.  

Driveway Landscaping Ideas

Rounded grey brick driveway with small shrubs around the semi circular drive.

Landscaping is key when it comes to maximizing front yard curb appeal, so consider incorporating some landscaping ideas to enhance the look of your driveway.

Planting pockets create an opportunity to add some greenery and even unexpected pops of color in a variety of textures, which can provide a fun way to get creative with underutilized spaces, like the strips of green that line each edge of the driveway.

And if you’re drawn towards a more formal look, trimmed boxwood hedges and topiary shrubs are sleeker, though more expensive, driveway lining options.   

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Designing Creative Driveways

Looking for more creative driveway ideas? Whether you’re planning to DIY your driveway or hire contractors, there are a number of ways homeowners can personalize their driveway design.

Play With Color

Paving pattern with rectangular shape and brown color. Along paved walkways planted flowerbed with beautiful orange and yellow flowers. In the background, lawn with green grass.

Both the driveway and its surrounding landscaping can provide opportunities to play with color – like this driveway, which features multi-colored bricks and colorful flowers alongside them.

Let There Be Light

Lighting along driveway at night.

Driveway lighting can provide nighttime curb appeal and add a layer of security to your property, so consider installing LED, guided or post lighting to add character to your home’s exterior.

Mix Materials

Home with two car garage and a mixed material driveway made of asphalt and brick.

Can’t settle on just one material for your driveway? Why not try a few? If you’re working on a tight budget but enjoy the aesthetic advantages of more expensive driveway materials, try utilizing brick or cobblestone pavers alongside a cheaper material, like gravel or asphalt.

Embrace A Ribbon Driveway

Ribbon driveway with grass growing down a strip in the middle of a concrete driveway leading to a two car garage.

Another unique design option is the ribbon driveway, which became popular in the early 1900s and consists of two paved parallel strips that lead from the street to the house.

The Bottom Line

The driveway is the part of your property that entices passersby, greets guests and sets the tone for the rest of the home. A well-designed, well-kept driveway can be both functional and aesthetically appealing, so invest some time, money and effort into your driveway plans. After all, the right driveway can add to your home’s value.

If the summer sun is getting your creative juices flowing, read what DIY repairs to avoid before breaking ground your next project.

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Katie Ziraldo

Katie Ziraldo is a financial writer and data journalist focused on creating accurate, accessible and educational content for future generations of home buyers. Her portfolio of work also includes The Detroit Free Press and The Huffington Post.