Home Design Checklist: Choosing Your Driveway

by Carlisle Homes

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The driveway decision. Here’s how to make the right choice.

There are many things to consider and choose when you’re building your dream home, and the whole business can feel a little daunting at times. To make the process a little easier, we introduce our new series – the Home Design Checklist – a practical guide to some of the main selections you will need to make for your new home, including what you need to know, and how to choose well. 

This week, we turn our attention to one of the most important features of your home’s exterior – the driveway.

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Discover our practical guide to some of the main selections you will need to make for your new driveway, including what you need to know, and how to choose well.

When do you need to choose your driveway?

Generally, you will need to choose your driveway design during the pre-build planning stage of your new home. It will form part of your ‘front yard landscape layout’ and is something you will need to work out together with your developer who may need to approve your selections.

What you choose for your driveway should take into account street access, the colours and materials on your facade and landscaping, your site’s topography, and any structural requirements.

When does it need to be installed?

If you’re building in a new estate, your developer will often ask that your driveway is laid within one month of moving into your new home.

It’s a different situation if you are knocking down and building a house in an existing location. Here, there are usually no time limits on when your driveway needs to be completed or constraints regarding colour and finish (bar those you may have in your Land Title).

What do you need to consider?

If you are building in a new estate, you’ll need to check with the developer on what you’re allowed to do with your driveway, including finishes, maximum widths permitted (particularly where the driveway abuts the footpath), and how far the driveway needs to be from the side boundaries to allow for a planting strip to go between the driveway and boundary.

If your driveway is on a slope that falls down towards the garage, you’ll also need to include adequate drainage in front of the garage door to prevent water flowing into it.

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When it comes to the design of your driveway, you’ll need to make your selection during the pre-build planning stage of your new home. Featured here: Scarborough Grand, Smiths Lane, Clyde North.

What finishes are available?

The surface you choose for your driveway should be durable, be non-slip when wet and forgiving when it comes to marks and oil stains.

If you’re building in a new estate, there are likely to be guidelines as to what you can and can’t do with your driveway design in terms of design and finish. You should also check whether your developer needs to approve your finish selection before the driveway is installed.

Finish-wise, the main options for driveways in new estates are generally:

  • Coloured concrete.
  • Saw-cut coloured concrete.
  • Exposed aggregate concrete (seen on most Carlisle Homes display homes).

It should be noted that plain concrete is often not accepted by developers as a driveway finish.

If you’re knocking down and rebuilding a home in an established area, there generally won’t be any estate guidelines so you can choose virtually any finish you like, including brick pavers and cobblestones. Saying that, it’s a good idea to check if there are any restrictions noted in your Land Title information.

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Boost kerb-side appeal with a cohesive driveway that complements the rest of your home’s exterior. Featured here: Indigo, Orana Estate, Clyde North.

How do you choose the right look?

The driveway plays a major role in the look of your home’s exterior so give yourself plenty of time to choose the right colour and finish. To create a cohesive and stylish look, choose one that blends in with your facade colours and finishes as well as your landscaping.

We use exposed aggregate concrete for most of the driveways in our Carlisle display homes as it has a lovely natural, textured finish that complements our facades and front yard landscaping. It’s also a finish that’s readily accepted by most developers.

Pebble mixes and concrete available can vary in colours and textures, giving you a great variety of natural looking finishes to choose from.

How do you choose a driveway contractor?

Word of mouth is often the best way to choose a contractor to put in your driveway. Ask friends and family who have recently built or renovated who they have used and would recommend. Also, conduct an online search for contractors and check reviews to see how satisfied clients are with their work.

Learn more on boosting your kerb appeal here.

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We’re open! Come along to one of our many display homes across Melbourne to get inspiration for your new home. It’s also a great opportunity to ask our team any questions you may have about designing your home’s exterior and driveway.


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