Driveways: They're practical necessities for daily life. But an uninterrupted stretch of dull concrete can be a design bummer. Fortunately, a few resourceful changes, some interesting materials and landscaping, and careful consideration of details can add beauty without sacrificing function. Here are six creative driveway ideas to consider.
- Give your driveway a decorative border. Establishing a crisp, clear shift between paved and unpaved surfaces can help to set off a driveway and enhance a landscape. Plus, it's a way to enhance a driveway without any tear-out, other than a small stretch of grass. Choose a paver that enhances your existing plantings and home architecture. The pavers can be dry-set into a narrow channel that abuts the driveway or mortared in place, which can be more time-consuming.
- Break up big pieces of concrete. For new or revamped driveways, breaking up big expanses of material with interior bands, curves, or insets can add visual interest. Consider mimicking the shape of the driveway, for example.
- Plant a low hedge. Low shrubs or small flowering plants are great for disguising and softening the edge of a driveway. If your landscape is more manicured, an evergreen shrub might be a good solution. More casual or cottage-inspired yards might work best with dwarf flowering plants that maintain structure during autumn and winter months. Choose a mature size that won't end up blocking safe driving sight lines.
- Create a raised border or bed. Even a 6-inch-high elevated planting can be a great way to include color and blooms along a driveway. Flowering groundcovers work well, as do midheight annuals or perennials.
- Line an edge with containers and lights. If you don't have the time or budget to invest in permanent plantings, strategically placed containers and lights can add a soft, flexible accent to the edge of a driveway. Alternate oversize containers with lantern-style battery-powered lights, and swap out plants as the seasons change for an ever-rotating display of color and texture.
- Choose an unexpected material or size. Unless specified by a neighborhood or development covenant, a driveway doesn't have to be a single slab of concrete. Oversize pavers with a small gap -- filled with grass, a groundcover, or pebbles -- can be a delightful way to add restrained pattern to a driveway.