5 Affordable Tips to Add Curb Appeal to Your Driveway
Driveways can make or break a home’s curb appeal. Selecting a material that complements the architecture of your home and garden is the first step, but there are also many finishing touches that can help create an impressive façade.
Whether you’re punching up an existing driveway or fitting a new project into the rest of the landscape, there are several factors to consider, including drainage, shading and landscaping. Additionally, making eco-friendly decisions at every turn is important because any expanse of paved surface has a high environmental impact.
Here are five ways to add curb appeal to your driveway:
1. Prevent Runoff
Storm water runoff picks up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants as it flows off paved surfaces and into sewers and nearby bodies of water. Two steps to creating a “greener” driveway include:
Planting Filter Strips
You can help offset storm water runoff by planting “filter strips” along the edges of your driveway. Filter strips are areas of grass or plants that trap storm water pollutants, preventing them from reaching the sewer system. You can choose any combination of plant material to suit your landscaping, but native plants that have evolved in your local climate often require little to no maintenance and promote biodiversity by playing their natural role in your ecosystem.
Choosing Water-Absorbing Materials
Choose a permeable, water-absorbing material, such as gravel or pavers with grass or pea pebble joints, when constructing your driveway to help prevent runoff.
Another eco-friendly tip is to plant trees that shade your driveway from the sun and help reduce the “heat island” effect, which is when paved surfaces transfer excess heat to the air above them in peak summer temperatures.
2. Border Your Driveway with a Berm or Retaining Wall
Create a retaining wall from pavers or boulders, or use soil to create a berm, a mound of soil or sand that edges a driveway or roadway to prevent soil erosion and runoff. Plant your elevated bed with all-season ornamental grasses; colourful trailing vines will add vertical definition.
3. Add Hardscaping
Hardscaping such as brick, stone or gravel can also help define your driveway and link the paved surface with your home’s architecture. For example, a stone or concrete driveway lined with coordinating brick pavers complements a brick home. A thin strip of pea pebbles, Mexican beach pebbles or marble chips can help soften the transition from hard surface to nearby plant beds.
4. Plant a Colourful Live Border
To add interest to your driveway, consider a border of annuals and perennials. Many perennials bloom for just a few weeks each year, but annuals can provide colourful blooms for months.
Depending on the season and climate, there are a variety of ideal combinations:
- Snapdragons in various colours provide a vibrant backdrop to impatiens or wax begonias planted closely along a driveway.
- For a more formal look, surround long beds of African marigolds, geraniums and salvia with a low border of mondo grass.
- Looking to keep things simple? Pastel pentas are a lovely complement to a low row of grass or ferns.
5. Line Your Driveway with Trees or Shrubs
If you want to wow your guests, try planting shrubs or column- or cone-shaped trees on either side of the driveway. The plants will help delineate the driveway entrance while welcoming guests to your home. They will also help trap runoff, and the vertical nature of the trees helps draw the eye to the roofline, creating a harmonious façade.