Indecisive Materials for Driveway, Suggestions please?

chueh(7B)September 30, 2011


It's me again; more suggestions needed!!! :-)

We have this 350 ft long driveway. Originally we thought about pouring concrete for it, without a doubt!!! I like any natural settings and scenes, yet like things to look ordered and manicured, when human beings build something around or to them. However, having a concrete driveway would totally destroy the lovely look and feel of this pseudo-statepark trail as our driveway.

This picture taken from the mid point of the driveway and canopied by pine trees on both sides. The builder who owned this lot cut down the pine trees 2/3 of the drive way from the street. What a shame! we will plants some suckers back to the sides of the driveway to create the same look of the this photo.

However, it would take years before the 2/3 driveway at the front would look like this. Now, the front 2/3 driveway is full of WEEDS. If we don't concrete over it, we would have to fight with them until we die (how many decades more we can live?) We really LOVE this statepark trail look and are not sure if we want to concrete the driveway or not!

I don't like the "country look" of gravel driveway. Plus, my husband is riding motorcycle a big time; he cannot ride his bike on gravel surface. Since the pine trees (in the picture) shades the driveway pretty well, not much weeds grown there (if the driveway is all the way like this, then we are worried free and happy with the statepark trail. He can ride his bike without any problem with when all the pine straws are falling). However, the front 2/3 and the end 1/4 are full of weeds, we have to do something to make the driveway work. Of course now you don't see too many weeds on the driveway, due to its being covered a heavy layer of hay.

One thing to consider though is that we will have to build a concrete surface anyway at least right before the garage. If we don't concrete all the way from the street to the garage, wouldn't it look choppy and abrupt.

Please shed your light with me. What would you do in this case, while trying to maintain the statepark trail look for the driveway?


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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

Asphalt . It's benign and inexpensive. It wears well, is totally functional and will not call attention to itself

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 1:38AM
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A thick layer of gravel topped with decomposed granite holds up well and looks fine in a natural setting. Pot holes are easy to fix. Soil movement from clays beneath will not be an issue. Round-up and pre emergent take care of most weed problems. Just make sure that the drive way is not used for a drainage path.
You may want to drive around observing the different materials used in your area to see how they hold up over time. The type of soil it will be placed on will have a lot to do with how different materials will hold up.
Wither you choose concrete, asphalt, gravel, or decompost granite, etc. It will only be as good as the base beneath it.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 5:48AM
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"...having a concrete driveway would totally destroy the lovely look and feel of this pseudo-statepark trail as our driveway." I disagree with this premise on two counts. As I view the photo (taken midway along the drive) I think some of it looks lovely. The foreground clearing looks nice. The forest and the distant opening looks nice. But it looks uninviting for passage by any vehicle other than a farm tractor. I would fear for my car's paint driving through those weeds and close brush. It looks only inviting for a pedestrian who is wearing jeans, not shorts.

To further your example of a state park... all big parks use asphalt (sometimes concrete) roads and, in my opinion, their look is not in the least offensive. (Those solutions are driven by cost and practicality) In fact, it's not the presence of objects right in your face, but the CLEARING AWAY of nearby objects (that the road and it's cultivated--usually mowed--edge creates) and the removal of brush and low-hanging limbs, that makes a space look inviting for the passage of people and vehicles.

Personally, I think the choice of material of the drive isn't as critical as the clearing of objects and the creation of space. If your drive was of aggregate it could be pretty. If it was asphalt or concrete (including "stamped" and/or colored) it could be pretty. If it was of brick, it could be extra pretty. What man creates for himself will not look like what beavers or raccoons create. Their needs are different. Somewhere along the line, practicality will play a part so the solution needs to work as well as it looks.

My illustration is not to show or suggest a material. It's only to show that creating a little space alongside and above a passage way makes it look more inviting for passage.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 8:16AM
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One of the desired characteristics of a wooded lot is the sense that humans don't dominate the setting. Another whole lot of the appeal of natural settings is that you're not whisked along a clear, predetermined path. Having to be mindful of the surrounding brush as you're making your way through is another way of slowing you down - in a good way.

A material they used in Brooklyn Bridge Park is your regular asphalt - but with a layer of loose aggregate compacted into the top, finished surface (perhaps quite literally, steamrolled).

It feels like a stabilized granular pathway - there are a few loose pieces here and there (not sure if that would pose an issue to the motorcycle enthusiast), but it is as solid as a regular asphalt walk.

Here is a shot of an edge condition, where you can see more of the asphalt showing through:

And another view, down a pathway:

- Audric

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 8:41AM
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I agree with Audric, asphalt with aggregate would be the best solution. It is very stable, has a very nice natural look, and it doesn't become messy. The unfortunate part is that it is probably the most expensive alternative because the process has so many steps.

If the price of that is too much, I would either go with asphalt or a compacted base material. In my region we call it bluestone, but its a mix of gravel and stone dust that compacts to a very hard surface similar to what you would use as a base material for a walkway or patio. Not sure what they call it in other parts of the country, because "bluestone" has another meaning.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 9:11AM
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Thank you all.

Yardiviser, I see what you meant by clearing away nearby objects vs different materials used for the driveway.

All of you have given us great helps. Thanks

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 12:38PM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

What about chip and seal? Maybe that is a localized term, but it is not as expensive as asphalt because the cash-strapped townships use it. Similar to the asphalt with aggregate pressed it it, but it is an emulsion than gravel is spread on it. Use to be tar in the old days.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 3:48PM
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