Wed 27 Sep 2017 View all news articles
KERB appeal is essential for a trouble-free property sale and while a tidy front garden is always a winner, almost more important is having an attractive drive.
Because if the first thing potential buyers see is a strip of cracked concrete or sunken pavers you’re missing a trick.
Even if you don’t want to sell up now, when the time comes it’s easier to get people past the front door if your drive looks inviting.
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” says Mark Shearing, managing director of Putterills estate agents in Hertfordshire. “The kerb appeal of a house is just so important and the driveway and garden and look of a house are all part of that picture.
“Even on a very small house it can add £15,000 to the value and for a larger property it could well add tens of thousands of pounds – particularly these days, when parking itself is so important.”
But is it worth paving over your garden to create a drive? “It depends where you are living,” says Shearing. “In a pretty city like St Albans, for example, if you’ve got a nicelooking house but there’s not sufficient parking for the number of people living there, if you create a nice driveway and solve the parking issue that will make it stand out against its competitors.”
Concreting over gardens can create environmental problems such as flooding though, because rain can’t soak into the ground and street drainage systems often can’t cope with heavy downpours.
But these days there are solutions, says award-winning garden designer Paul HerveyBrookes, who is involved in design projects for Cotswolds-based patio and driveway products company Bradstone (01335 372289; bradstone.com).
One solution is Infilta permeable paving blocks, which have wavy edges giving a 5mm gap that allows rainwater to easily drain away
Originally developed for commercial use, they are best for properties with a very large driveway but they do need deeper foundations than ordinary pavers and several grades of gravel under them for drainage.
“It’s a really good system but requires a lot of thought and investigation and a lot of soil-moving, while the average household just driving one car on and off doesn’t need such a complicated system,” he says.
Normal pavers are fine for one-car drives, and Hervey-Brookes says the trick is to have them laid so rain can run off either side – into a border or hedge – rather than into the road.
But pavers are not the only option, he adds: “Sometimes they don’t suit people’s properties and that’s the most important thing: what is going to suit the style of house and garden you’ve got and add value? Because a badly thought-through drive actually detracts.”
Long aspect pavers (modern rectangular tile-like paving stone) and well-engineered slabs can be laid the length of the drive so the car’s wheels rest on something solid, with gravel in the middle and at the side for run off.
“You can still use really nice products and mix them with gravel and low-level planting,” says Hervey-Brookes, who adds that the age of your home will dictate the best style of drive.
“For a pre-Victorian property a gravel-based drive or mix of gravel with large paving in between blends well and looks right. Those houses weren’t designed with cars in mind.
“Then, as you move into the period where we had cars, there are modern products such as porcelain slabs, which are incredibly strong.
“And the newer type of rumbled block pavers, which have grooves at the side to let water run through, they look really good with contemporary houses.”
It’s all about matching the type of material you use – and the colours – to the materials your home is built from and its surroundings. And a final tip from Hervey-Brookes? Try your local reclamation yard.
As leading Wirral estate agents and lettings agents we have plenty to talk about and like to give our opinions on a few things too! Read about what we have to say, our latest news and industry news.