Cheap and attractive driveway ideas?

fierce_flawlessMay 3, 2008

Hi all;

As I mentioned in other posts, I live in 93 year old little house in a working class neighborhood. I mention this because I think it helps in determining what to do landscape-wise. This is not the place for formal or fancy. :)

Here's a thread containing a pic of my house and the current "driveway":

the current drive is long and narrow, probably 3 car lengths single file only. It was once asphalt, I can see the remnants, but it was long ago abandoned so it's mostly cracked up and overgrown.

I want something that looks nicer and is a bit more even but I cannot afford much really. I was thinking of lining one side with landscape timbers or something similar and using "crusher run" or ???? I can't afford to pour a concrete drive (and frankly think it looks odd around here.. the neighbor has one and it looks like it should be in a modern landscape)... and I don't know much about gravel but assume it will scatter and be a mess.

Can I just install this right over the old cracked asphalt drive? Is it a DIY thing?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know what "crusher run" is, but I have an idea that you might like. My grandmother had a driveway that, at first glance, looks a little like yours. It was lined on the house side with a row of hardy sedum.

Trust me, when I was learning to drive, and particularly, to back out of the driveway, it got ran over, a lot, and stood up to the abuse. I would look for something like that for your neck of the woods. Maybe even daylilies, since once they grab on, they don't need much. No need of landscape timbers, save the money for plants! :)

The driveway itself had a grass strip down the center and two strips of concrete blocks on either side. I thought it looked cool, no one has that anymore. It's called a ribbon driveway. I think the dimensions were probably at least 18 inches for the grass, and 2 feet on either side for the block. She did have a concrete apron in front of the garage, further in back of the house. I can't tell if you have a garage, so that may not even be a consideration.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 12:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thanks for the ideas. I didn't know what Crusher Run was either until I found this site. It's a combo of limestone powder and smaller crushed stone and it's supposed to tamp down well and stay put. And it's fairly inexpensive. That's all I know about it at this point but when I googled pics it didn't look bad at all.

Most of the neighbors have a "ribbon" driveway like you describe. Ours has a grass center but no concrete blocks... I honestly can't tell what it is on parts but other parts are cracked up old asphalt. I like your ideas though, and laughed at the part about learning to drive, as my 16 year old son is currently learning and maybe I should plant something to keep him from hitting the house! LOL!

I don't have a garage so that's a non-issue. Plan on a carport later on but no garage. We have a shed instead and will stick with that for now.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 2:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You have to understand that anything that is low cost, practical, and attractive in your area will be widely used. Look for what people are doing locally. Cheap and attractive spreads very quickly. I don't blame you for trying, but the most practical solutions are usually the ones that are widely used.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 6:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you don't mind back breaking labor I would take a jack hammer to the existing asphalt and break it up into pieces equivalent to slate slabs used for patios. Then lay down a bed of sand that is used for keeping paving stones level. Then lay out the pieces you have with room between the pieces for a contrasting color of mortar or cement. For the sides I would plant each side with miniature cottage garden type plants with a groundcover nearest the driveway that is pretty indistructable like earlier mentioned. This is a great look but so inexpensive if you are willing to do the work that you may soon find that the whole neighborhood will go this way. Very inexpensive but still looks good.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 8:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That would not be good. Asphalt is a somewhat flexible surface and would not last if used like a flagstone or paver. It will just keep breaking up and will melt in a hot climate on top of that.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 1:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

laag's comment that anything that is low cost, practical, and attractive in one's area will be widely used makes perfect sense to me. My driveway is larger than the one in Sheri's photo, and leads to a 2 (or 3)-car garage. In my neck of the woods, crushed stone is very popular and fits the natural surroundings. But everyone complains about weeds! Weeding makes my back hurt, and I want to limit use of chemicals.

I think that if they just throw crushed stone down, I will have weeds galore. Is there a solution? Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 2:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
drexler(Z5 PITTSBURGH)

I have a good friend who used the crushed stone on his driveway. Over 13 years at this house he has added stone 1 time and it dose "crush down" very well. I wouldn't want to dig it up with a shovel. It's almost like concrete. It also dose not get messy.

I have also put 2 regular gravel driveways in to my 2 houses over the past 10 years. One of the houses gets a little messy but the other is nice. Yea I get some weeds but I just use weed killer every month and it keeps it under control. I'm a "weed freak" and can't stand them in the driveway. But, my friend doesn't have a problem with the little strip growing up the center.

What about that big old tree? It definitely should go. It is growing too close to the house. It can get it's roots into your foundation and cause all kinds of trouble. Also your gutters are probably full of leaves which could lead to your sofit and facia getting rotted out. Trust me, I just replaced sofit and facia on my house last summer because of a tree growing too close to the house and poor drainage. It cost around $2000 in materials and I did all the work myself. Along with 3 new roofs that were ruined because of the same tree.

As for your landscaping. I like your landscaping timber idea. It gives a good solid edge and can contain any mulch you put into it. Just use a treated timber for longevity. you mentioned in your other post that the area gets full sun . This gives you many options for planting here. I like peonies, iris, sedum, purple coneflower, black eyed susan, red hot pokers, and hollyhocks. These all get some nice height and are easy to maintain.

I would say from a cost stand point, purchase some perennial seeds from Walmart and try starting things that you like on your own. Here is where $20.00 can go a long way. Walmart also has a "wild flower" annual mix that you just spread out over the area you want some color. This is very quick and easy and only requires a little watering. And, can be done in an area you want to "color" but don't have the planting budget.There are plenty of people here that can help you get started.

You may want to visit a nursery for a few (4 or 5) plants that can start you out. Any time you are building a garden on a shoe string budget, it starts out small.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 11:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The trick to a good stone driveway is to have a very compactable base. In my area that is often done with recycled asphalt and gravel mix (cold) because it packs very well. Then you put the thinnest amount of stone over it. That keeps the tires and your shoes on top of it instead of swimming through it. This is actually a prefered driveway by a lot of the seasonal high end homeowners here for aesthetic reasons.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 9:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK, so does the recycled asphalt and gravel mix get put down like the crushed stone? Do they have to tamp it in any way, or just let us drive back and forth on it for a while? I also want to make sure the drainage or run-off issue is addressed.

I like a stone driveway. I like the way it looks, and I like the sound it makes when visitors pull in off the street. That sound also alerts me that someon'e's here.

My driveway is about 500 sq ft and currently unfinished since the garage was completed. A contractor drove up last year and offered to pave it (I think asphalt) for under $900. If I could have stone for a similar price or less, that would be my choice.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 7:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

well we have a regular concrete driveway with an attached garage, and then a second ?stone driveway to a detached garage. the stones are grey and about the size of a man's thumb. this was here when we moved in 2 yrs ago. not sure how old or what the base is. i think just good ole hard mississippi clay. anyway, there are small weeds growing in there, but if you drive over this driveway enough (we do) the weeds don't really grow up. I don't use chemicals. The stones are not comfortable to walk on barefoot, however. Maybe you could find a stone place where the owner could advise you about materials and hopefully the cost would be reasonable.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 12:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


It has to be compacted mechanically and completely to ensure that it won't be moving around.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 7:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I very much appreciate the help and information. I've been doing internet searches for weeks, really glad I found this forum.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 1:43PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Landscape design assistance
Hello, Our home is in Connecticut (Zone 6A) and we've...
Help! My new front yard is UGLY! Any ideas appreciated!
Do I keep the stone flower bed edge? I was told it...
Need landscaping ideas for new home please
Hello everyone. We moved into our new build in November....
Landscape Designer or Landscape Architect?
Can anyone tell me what is the difference? I am considering...
Need landscaping ideas
Hi, we just built this house on a junior acre in zone...
Sponsored Products
White Jacquard Egyptian Cotton Towel Set
$29.99 | zulily
P046 Emerald Ensemble Brushed Nickel/Hardware
Design House Wall Mounted Hannover Wall Mount Outdoor Black Finish Downlight
$71.29 | Home Depot
Black Granite Stone Bathroom Sink 16"x16 - BORNEO SHADOW
Foremost Cabinets Naples 48 in. W x 21-5/8 in. D x 34 in. H Vanity Cabinet Only
Home Depot
Bover | Carlota G FL Wall Light
Hubbardton Forge Impressions Right 7 1/2" High Wall Sconce
Lamps Plus
Barcelona Quilt Set
$59.99 | zulily
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™