Driveway Design Ideas To Make Your Home More Welcoming

Driveway Design Ideas To Make Your Home More Welcoming

Your driveway is probably the most frequently accessed part of your property. Here are some driveway design ideas to make sure that your driveway does you justice.

I think that we’re all a bit guilty of taking every day sights for granted. The street furniture, shop signs and majestic trees that we pass every day on the way to work. The beautifully planted roundabout on the way to the supermarket. And most of all, our own front driveways.

But if lockdown taught us anything, it was to appreciate the things that are closest to us. Family, friends, our homes and our gardens.

Your driveway has the potential to be much more than just a place to leave the car.  It’s the doorway to your home – the view from your windows – the first thing that visitors see – and, potentially, a resting place for wildlife.

So what are the features that we all admire in a driveway? What could set your parking spot apart from everyone else’s?

  • A safe, level surface with no trip hazards
  • Interesting materials that blend beautifully with your property
  • Living plants
  • Clear pathways to direct footfall to your door
  • Provision for privacy – stop passers by from peering in your windows
  • A fantastic view from your window
  • Lighting to guide the way after dark (and to deter unwanted visitors
  • A warm and welcoming ambience.

driveway with mature privacy hedge

Driveways can be functional AND beautiful – it just needs a little attention to design.

Designing the layout for your driveway

When garden designers think about any layout plan, the first thought is for functionality.  Your driveway is first and foremost parking space for the family cars.  So as well as finding room for yours and your visitor’s vehicles. we need to think about nice, easy access for cars and a clear view for when you are driving out of your property. 

Having room to turn around on the driveway is always a bonus, and of course, you will need to be being able to open the car doors on both sides. Do you have an existing garage  that needs to be considered? Would you like to include a car port or shelter in your driveway design?  What about disabled access?

With a clear idea of what you need from your driveway design, we can start thinking about a practical layout. After that, we’ll look at the aesthetic element.

Choosing materials

samples of clay pavers helping with materials choices in lifestyle gardens

Ask to see samples of proposed driveway materials – it does make it easier to imagine how they will look beside your own property.


The materials that you decide on for your driveway will impact on your overall build cost.  For example, brick pavers take longer to lay than gravel which will, of course add to the labour costs. 

But budget shouldn’t be your prime concern. Of course it’s important, but a beautifully landscaped driveway has the potential to add value to your property. A rushed, ill-thought out driveway design could very well have the opposite effect. Plus, you’re going to be looking at it every single day. You might as well have something you like!

Try to use products that compliment the materials and style of your home.  Natural stone is always a winner in my book, but some of the imprinted concrete driveway designs are also very attractive.

Don’t be afraid to mix materials.  You can create some really interesting effects by combining different colours and textures.

Selecting plants

I really do think that a big expanse of hard landscaping with no living plants can look cold and unwelcoming – no matter how clever the driveway design is.

Try to find space for some planting pockets – even if it’s just some elegant pots by the front door.

tired driveway with paved surface in need of refurbishment

Katie from Tapestry Design Studios was invited to create a new driveway design for this tired front garden in Clacton.  Scroll down to see how her design has used plants to change the ambience of the space.

layout plan for front garden and driveway with interesting planting pockets

Katie’s driveway design uses interesting textures, beautiful curves and fabulous planting to create a welcoming space at the front of this property


If you find that your beds and borders are pushed towards the margins of your driveway in order to leave room for cars, be very aware of light and shade. Choose plants wisely and they’ll bring you a lot of pleasure for a long time.

Do you have room for a small tree in your driveway design.  They don’t take up much space on the ground, but are excellent for providing privacy.  From your point of view too, a pretty tree is far nicer to look out upon than passing traffic.

That’s another thing to consider. You’ll probably be able to see your driveway from at least one window in your home.  Surely you don’t want to look at an expanse of paving? Using clever planting, you’ll have an interesting view for all 12 months of the year.

Building your new driveway

Cars are heavy. Fact. Your driveway design should take into consideration that the hard surfaces are going to be under pressure. They need to be able to stay stable and not sink over time.

The average passenger car exerts a pressure of 30 psi on the ground beneath it.  As a comparison, the average person exerts a pressure of 8 psi (unless they are wearing stilettos, in which case it’s more like 470 psi). 

So it stands to reason that your driveway will likely need a far more substantial base than a patio.

Take a look at local planning laws too.  There are regulations about the percentage of impermeable surfaces you are allowed to have in your front garden.  Don’t worry – most professional landscapers know precisely how to overcome that particular barrier by building in drainage channels and soakaways.

For best results, always use an experienced landscaper to bring your driveway design to life. Not sure how to tell a good landscaper from a rogue trader? Visit the APL website for advice.  

Investing in driveway design

driveway design for a house with home office attached

This driveway design for a property in Mount Bures has a dual purpose. It offers parking space for the homeowners AND for visitors to their garage business.  Katie has managed to squeeze lots of lovely plants into the spaces where cars will not fit.

3d render of a driveway design with parking space and planting

Here’s a 3D version of the same garden design showing how there is plenty of privacy, pedestrian access to the home and the business and a clear indication of which door visitors can use

A professional garden designer is worth his or her weight in gold when it comes to driveway design.  For a moderate fee, you will receive a clear plan for your landscaper to quote from, as well as some innovative ideas for layout and materials that you might never have thought of yourself.

Having your driveway properly designed will leave you feeling delighted with the results, and your neighbours feeling just a little bit envious.

Discover the costs by visiting the Tapestry Design Studios website.

Or contact us for a no-obligation chat.  

Inspiration for your driveway

Visit our portfolio page for examples of our garden design work. 

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