Ideas To Upgrade Your Front Garden Driveway

When it comes to your front garden driveway, you should ask yourself. How do you feel when you pull up your car to your home after a long day? Does your front driveway have kerb appeal? Sometimes you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and maybe you have been focusing on beautifying only your indoors. But as years pass, you now know that the exterior of your property is just as important. 

Beautiful long two story tall Northwest Home Exterior in grey green with spring landscaping and large driveway, garden and large pond fountain with rocks

Your front driveway is the first thing visitors will see before your house comes into view. But besides visitors, it is more likely even for you, to see your front more than your back yard. Every time we walk to our car or out of our front door, we find ourselves in this outdoor space. If you want to create a warm welcome and have a beautiful and useful space, you have to give it the attention it deserves. We are here to help you with some stunning and practical front garden design ideas for your driveway. Are you ready for significant improvements?

Why is upgrading your front garden important?

There are many reasons why you may want to update your landscaping. Time passes, and seasons change. A landscape that once looked perfect may appear off-balance after some plants have matured and some trees didn’t make it through a storm. Also, your block paving colour may have faded. Many landscapers suggest that you should take a hard look at your landscape plan at least every five to ten years. Here are the main reasons why your front area is lacking, and you might be feeling like it’s time for a change:

1. Your front yard is not operating well.

The main purpose of your driveway is to provide easy and welcoming access to your home. This has to be for both vehicles and pedestrians approaching your house. After the upgrade you can tick positively all these:

For cars

  • Being easy to see where to turn into the drive and where to park.
  • There should be enough space for the vehicle to park and the doors to open without any damage.
  • The person stepping out of the car should not step on grass or plants.
  • There has to be enough lighting for the car to approach and turn to the parking space safely.

For pedestrians

  • Steps should be safe and easy to walk on.
  • When they arrive after dark, there should be lights, which you can wire in series, to indicate the walkways and steps to the entrance.
  • Have a homey entrance to give a warm welcome to your guests.
  • The space leading up to the house entrance should be wide enough to shelter more people, so they won’t have to wait outside in bad weather.

The floor of the footpath is broken.

2. Your yard needs a kerb appeal boost

Imagine you are driving through a neighbourhood. What is the main thing you notice? You are looking at everyone’s front space! Some houses stand out from the rest in the area thanks to their gardens, and all of them reflect their owner’s individuality. People take pride in their property, and the front driveway is the place to show off. 

3. Lighting needs to be updated

Outdoor lighting is an industry that keeps growing. It can be practical during the night, but it can also completely transform a home if done right. There are endless possibilities for lighting, with LEDs and “smart lighting” being No1 trends at the time. Whether you want to brighten pathways in the yard or host a garden party, landscape lighting offers plenty of solutions. Either you have a large or small garden, lights are great for enhancing the atmosphere and illumination of outdoor spaces.

Lamp Post with two lamps, one broken

Lighting in your driveway is essential. Driving into a well-lit driveway after a long day can give you a feeling of truly being at home, whilst also helping to reduce the number of accidents due to poor visibility. Finally, it can make your home easier to find for new visitors and enhance your beautiful landscape.

4. Visibility needs to be blocked

Long story short, you have just parked your car, and you see a curious neighbour staring at you. An awkward moment it is! Some people feel like living in a fishbowl. They don’t want prying eyes invading their space and look for some solitude. Others don’t want to look out of their window and see their neighbour’s trash can every day. 

There are plenty of ways to enclose your garden and privacy ideas to choose from. Some of them include:

  • Hedges for Privacy
  • Layered Privacy Plantings
  • Fences and Walls
  • Using Fountains to Mask Noise
  • Faux plants for screening
  • Add privacy screens around your space
  • Plant a big tree
  • Use cascading landscapes
  • Use super-sized planters

Nosy Neighbor Looking Over Fence

5. You want to feel safe in your driveway

Shielding your view is important, but having a secure place to park your car is too. Driveways and garages are the most secure places to park your car. However, there are plenty of extra measures you can take to ensure you and your vehicle are safe:

Light it up: You can install a security light that instantly lights up when an intruder steps foot onto your driveway or land. Lighting will also keep you safe while entering or leaving your property.

Watch them: Technology has really helped the home security industry. You can position a CCTV security camera out of sight and have a crystal clear vision of your car at any point in the day.

Scare them with noise: Installing a shingle drive that creates noise when walked on, makes your car a higher risk target for thieves.

6. You want to keep it fresh

Before renovations, most homes looked nearly identical. Nowadays, you can get more original and creative with your designs and reflect your taste with many front garden and driveway ideas. Keeping up-to-date on water features, lighting, drainage, water conservation, irrigation, and hardscape means you can increase the value and appeal of your home and make your modern dream entrance come to reality!

 home in the countryside with palm trees, tropical plants and flowers, grass lawn and pine trees

The 6 rules that you should have in mind

1. Match the street scene and local built environment

Streets are often characterised by a standard design based upon the repetition of an architectural style and a setting that establishes a distinctive building rhythm. Open land areas are essential for softening the street scene and providing an amenity function. What can affect this character: 

  • Overshadowing or loss of sunlight
  • Overdominance
  • Loss of privacy
  • Inappropriate materials
  • Inappropriate architectural styles

Garages’ location should not affect the street scene and neighbouring houses. Therefore, they should be of an appropriate scale and avoid any adverse effect on the street scene.

Street of houses in the suburbs of Canada.

2. Keep symmetry and structure

If you opt for a great look, you have to keep symmetry and structure. There are many front driveway ideas to achieve this, like well-defined flower beds, straight lines in driveway paving and garden path and solid planting. You don’t want wildflower meadows with plants flowing everywhere and amiss brickwork!  

3. Suitable for both winter and summer

If you’re one of those people that love to have flowers around the driveway, then you need to be prepared. Winter is coming (every year)! Choose flowers and plants that are suitable both for hot and cold weather. The shapes of the flowers and the structural bones are more visible in winter, so it’s essential to make sure they look good. 

4. Have clear signals of where people should go

The layout should signal where people should go when entering your front driveway. Show them the way to the garage or the entrance of the house using a clear path, lighting and a signal that marks the entrance. You can also place bushes or big pots in two opposite lines to create a viable way.

Way in sign with arrow direction pointer.

5. Watch out for planning rules

There are often specific rules that apply for householders wanting to pave over their front driveways. Remember that you will not need planning permission if a new or replacement driveway uses permeable (or porous) surfacing, allowing water to drain through. 

You should prefer gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt, or make it so that the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally. To find out what applies in your area, about your front fence’s height or the colour you will use, the first place to visit is your local council’s planning department.

6. Understanding Front Yard Driveway Cost

If you want to make some small changes to your yard driveway, you could use some DIY ideas and get creative with the plants you can use, redoing your walkway and adding some new colours. But if you’re thinking about hiring a professional, then you are likely interested in the cost. 

Depending on the materials you want to use or the project size, many different variables will make the yard landscaping cost vary. Just to give you some idea, a yard landscaping project could start around £300 up to £5.000 depending upon the complexity and the changes you wish to make. 

Engineer Designer People Planning with Blueprint Architecture on Desk office

How to upgrade your front garden driveway: 10 brilliant ideas

1. Give your front door a coat of colour

Dress up the entrance with paint or by installing a custom wood door. You can choose a swag, flag, or wreath that reflects your style. Clean off any dirty spots around the knob, and use metal polish on the door fixtures.

If your entrance is out of date or dingy, your home may not be conveying the aesthetic you think it is. Choose a new modern design or a more traditional one, depending on your home’s style. Have in mind that oiled-bronze finishes suit traditional homes, while brushed nickel suits more contemporary ones.

2. Add curves to your front yard flower garden

Use your greenery to accent a gently curving walkway and create a more visual impact. The combination of your lush, colourful garden and the walkway will add colour and interest to your front space in all four seasons. In case you want to add an extra splash of colour, you can use seasonal flowering shrubs such as Hydrangeas and low maintenance options like geraniums or lavender.

Curved walkway with Brick tile on green grass field and flower garden yard

3. Add rock features

Natural stone structures are fireproof, insect-proof, and often withstand earthquakes, making rock an ideal building material. Rock paving stones can give a sense of safety and luxury in your driveway area. They are very durable because they are more resistant to disintegration and distortion due to exposure to the elements. With the proper maintenance, they can last more than 30 years! Finally, concrete pavings are a popular outdoor flooring option and offer a porous surface that allows water to pass through.

4. Embrace the cottage-garden look

Flower gardens look good with most house styles. Roses, peonies, or hydrangeas add lots of drama and romance to a landscape design. Also, climbers have a charm all of their own. You can raise them on trailing ground covers, walls of your driveway & other structures, trees and poles and to cover a fence. Don’t forget about the trees. An ornamental cherry tree or small crab apple tree acts as an excellent focal point when planted in a front garden centre. Avoid trees and plants such as conifers and large shrubs shrouding the house in darkness and prefer dwarf trees, shrubs, or herbs. Topiary trees and shrubs work well if you want to create beautiful planting areas. 

Finally, consider your grass.  Do you want the place in front of your driveway looking golf-course-worthy? A lawn looks good when it is lush and full. Mow the lawn regularly, water it as much as it needs and invest in a lawn care programme to make it look its best through every season. 

Big custom made luxury house with nicely landscaped front yard and driveway to garage

5. Build a walkway

Good looking walkways make your home feel warm and welcoming. If you have a straight concrete path, replace it with a contoured walkway made of stone or brick. For a more formal walkway, cut stone paths can be the perfect addition to your landscape. There are many shapes, designs, and patterns to choose from for your outdoor decor:

  • Diamond-shape pattern
  • Path with a repeating pattern
  • Orderly walkway
  • Path with rustic appeal
  • Rectangular shapes blend with squares

6. Install window boxes to your garage

Window boxes offer a fast and easy way to bring colour and charm to your house. If you opt for a traditional look, choose boxes made from copper or iron. If you want a cottage feel, prefer painted wood. Mix and match plants and flowers to suit the lighting conditions and colour scheme of your place.

7. Dress up the driveway

You don’t have to completely redo your driveway if it is cracked or stained or has vegetation sprouting from it. All it needs is an upgrade with some repairs:

  • Repair the cracks and stains
  • Kill the weeds
  • Paint concrete to give bare surfaces a whole new look
  • Affix flagstone walkways to lend a sense of timeless beauty
  • Add stone, brick, or pavers to the sides of the drive to widen it with a decorative border

Long and wide nicely paved driveway to two double doors garage

8. Add outdoor art

Choose weather-resistant art pieces for your garden entrance that complement your home’s natural palette and exterior elements. Some good choices for outdoor art are:

  • Birdbaths
  • Metal cutouts
  • Sculptures
  • Wind chimes 
  • Water sculptures
  • Fountains
  • DIY house numbers

9. Light Up Your Front Yard

Adding landscape lighting can give your curb appeal a significant boost in the evening hours. It also adds a major element of safety and security. Not only will your walkway and driveway be safer to navigate in the dark, but you’ll also deter trespassers from stepping foot on the property. To plan your outdoor landscape lighting, start with a walk around your yard at night and envision the result you want. Essential landscape lighting areas include:

  • Paths: A well-lit pathway is both welcoming to visitors and makes walking more secure, too.
  • Entries: You can place lights either to each side of a door or overhead at the front, back, and side entry doors.
  • Steps: Steps should be lighted for safety. You can illuminate either the risers or the treads.
  • Architectural Features: You can use outdoor landscape lighting to highlight a wall, for example, by washing it or grazing it. This can help nearby accent plants and offer a modern look.
  • Driveway: Prefer low-voltage landscape lighting. They are easier to install and use less energy than other systems. A 7- to 8-foot-tall post lantern at a driveway entrance is a useful landmark to help visitors and emergency vehicles find your home after dark. You can also light up the entire length of the approach or mount downlights in the trees, making sure the light is focused on the edge of the roadbed, not into the driver’s eyes.

Long nicely paved driveway to garage of the big luxury house at dusk, night time

10. Upgrade your parking space

A dull design on your garage can dim your appeal. There are many ways to help your garage get its groove back:

  • Upgrade its basic doors with a beautiful door design. Prefer doors with contours to add character and small rows of windows that let natural light in and keep your privacy.
  • Use garage lighting for safety and exterior design.
  • Choose complimentary garage colours and materials that make it feel like an extension of your home.

Things you should avoid for a low maintenance front garden driveway

You probably don’t want to spend the same amount of time and money you did for your house or the back garden during the years. Here are some tips so you can keep your front garden in good shape for a long time. 

1. Materials

Solid materials, such as paving stones and bricks, will last longer and are more resistant to disintegration and distortion due to exposure to the elements. Loose materials allow water to percolate into the soil, preventing flooding. You can lay landscape fabric beneath loose materials. It will stop weeds coming up but let rainwater through.

The footpath in the park is paved with diamond shaped concrete tiles. On the lawn - small decorative lights.

2. Water-wise plants

You have to wisely choose the plants you want for your front driveway, considering how much time you’ll have to water and feed them. In case your free time is limited, keep plant variety to a minimum and avoid investing in a lawn, as they require more maintenance. Also, avoid planting many tender plants and prefer low maintenance ones, like Shasta Daisy, Coneflower, Hardy Hibiscus and Perennial Geranium.

A consistent watering schedule is the most important thing you can do to keep your landscape plants looking vibrant and healthy. You won’t have to do the watering, and your flowers, plants, and lawn will look their best with much less effort on your part. Grouping plants with similar watering needs together also helps avoid wastage.

A beautiful closeup view of sprinkler head blasting water across green lawn grass during early morning irrigation cycle

3. Painting

If you think about staining a new colour on your old garage door or fence, you should think about it twice. Colour fades away and needs refreshing regularly. Yes, it is a cheaper solution, but a new garage door or a plain wooden colour on the fence will be better in the long run. Choose what is best for you.

4. Pots

If you’re thinking of using pots instead of flower beds on your driveway, then you need to think about their cost too. Choosing bigger ones that can accommodate several plants at the same time, will reduce the amount of water required. Just make sure that there’s still room left for you to park your car! Think about options that can easily be moved so you won’t face any problems.

Family house with wide garage door and concrete driveway in front

A welcoming front driveway can help you shed the stresses of daily life, even before you step inside. But it can also be practical, boost your curb appeal and engage with the neighbourhood in a friendly, inviting way. Choose one or many of our smart front garden ideas and heighten the anticipation of arriving home!

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