6 Front Of House Parking Ideas For Your Home
In recent years, the UK has seen the decline of the front garden, with more and more property owners choosing to pave over the front of their homes to create parking space or driveways.
With road parking at a premium, it is perfectly understandable – but experts believe that it is causing environmental harm. So what are your driveway options, and how can you ensure that your driveway doesn’t do any harm to the environment around you? It’s time to find out…
Front Gardens: A Brief History
A study carried out by the Royal Horticultural Society in 2015 showed that three times as many front gardens had been paved over compared to a decade earlier and that this resulted in a 15% decline in plant cover in front gardens.
To put this into perspective, across the country, this has meant that there are now 5 million front gardens with no plants growing in them, and more than 7 million are completely paved over.
The RHS point out that this could have devastating effects when it comes to the possibility of flooding as water has nowhere to run, but into the street sewers and drains. Additionally, greenery helps with CO2 emissions – especially in urban environments.
At the same time as we are seeing increased front garden paving, councils are charging those of us living in towns and cities huge fees to park in the roads outside our homes (that is if we can find a space), and many more households have more than one car.
Where on earth are householders expected to park their cars? It a dilemma. However it is one that can be fixed with the right choice of front garden paving.
When choosing a driveway, preference should be given to permeable, paving options, that enable water to seep through to the ground below, resulting in less water in the local drains, and, hopefully, fewer incidences of flooding. Additionally, a carefully planned driveway can offer plenty of space for green planting.
Front Of House Driveway: SUDs Legislation
In 2008, new legislation was introduced to try and tackle these water and flooding issues, where front gardens were being paved over.
If the surface of your front garden is more than five metres squared, you will need to get planning permission from your local council if you are planning on laying a driveway that is impermeable to water.
This applies to all types of driveways including replacements of older ones. However if the area is less than five metres squared or the new surface is permeable, you won’t need planning permission.
You also have the option of directing the water to a soakaway or towards existing greenery such as a garden or lawn.
Choosing a driveway that uses Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDs) will ensure that you are meeting these requirements. This means choosing gravel, vegetation, porous materials or installing systems to catch and direct water to your garden or lawn.
Most driveway contractors are aware of this legislation and are doing all they can to comply. Make sure you question the run-off of water from your property so you can be reassured that your driveway will not be harmful.
Front Of House Driveways: 6 Perfectly Permeable Materials
Option 1: Gravel:
Gravel offers the cheapest and easiest driveway makeover option – but isn’t always suitable for a space that is close to the road. This is because gravel will tend to move beyond the confines of your driveway, and end up on the pavement and surrounding areas of lawn.
However, if your front garden is set back from the pavement, it could be highly suitable for this development.
A gravel driveway will need to be properly prepared by digging out the current surface to a depth of around 5 -10cm. This means removing all of the current weeds and grass and adding a permeable weed barrier cloth.
You may also need to add sharp sand to build up certain areas to make it level. The barrier cloth will then be covered with the gravel variety of your choice. There are plenty of types to choose from, but the smaller the stones, the easier they are to walk on, and to rake into place when needed.
Option 2: Concrete:
While concrete is permeable, it is less so that other materials. A good concrete driveway should be laid as one slab, making it slightly impenetrable when it comes to water.
However, if your front driveway is designed correctly, you can grade the slope to allow water to run off into the edges, where you can plant borders with lots of green plants. Concrete will last a long time – but the look can be very plain and unattractive.
Option 3: Tarmac:
Surprisingly, tarmac is actually very permeable, enabling water to seep into it, and deep down to the earth below. It doesn’t last as long as concrete, but does have the benefit of being easy to lay, and good value.
You may find that it starts to disintegrate as you drive over it, and that sections may need to be replaced to keep it looking its best in the long term, but it is a good option if you don’t mind the plain black look.
Option 4: Paving Slabs Or Bricks:
This option is by far the more expensive, due to the preparation work and labour costs of handling all those bricks or paving slabs. The spaces between the pavers can catch water, but overall, these driveways will not offer much in terms of water permeability.
You may need to install drainage to ensure that your new driveway is not constantly pooling with water, and to meet current legislation guidelines.
Option 5: Resin Bonded Surfacing:
This newer style of driveway surface is gaining in popularity, and is a good option overall; although it has no water permeability at all. The method of application involves adding a layer of resin to a concrete or tarmac base, and scattering stones over the still tacky material.
Another layer of resin is added to lock in the stones. Clearly this doesn’t allow water to seep through, and while it is hard wearing and looks good, it isn’t especially environmentally friendly.
Option 6: Resin Bound Material:
For a driveway that is truly beautiful and long lasting, you really can’t beat resin bound material. The process of application involves the aggregate and resin being mixed together, before it is laid over a tarmac or concrete base.
This means that the material is naturally porous, and will let the water run through. If tarmac is used, it is best for gardens that need extra water runoff, but even concrete can work well, and the water can be channelled to the sides – where extra planting can be added.
Best of all, this is an attractive look that can be customised to any colour you choose, and with any stone you want. Resin bound driveways are also fully SUDs compliant; so you won’t need planning permission before you start the work.
If you are planning a front garden driveway, and you want to achieve the very best for the look of your home and the environment, you really cannot go past resin bound systems.
Desperately seeking a driveway that can last many years, and will look after the water table of your local area? Resin bound surfacing enables you to achieve all this and more for your home. Take the first step to upgrading your driveway today,by calling 0800 1700 636,or by simply clicking the button below!