How to turn your front garden into an off-road parking space or driveway
If you’re fed up with the hassle of on-street parking, consider converting your own front garden into off-street parking instead
When buyers search for a new property, private off-road parking such as a driveway is usually a big draw and, if you are lucky enough to own a building with its own spot, it might fetch up to 13 per cent more than similar properties without, according to property valuers Petty Son and Prestwich.
As well as adding value to your home having your own personal parking space brings many benefits – it’s quicker, more secure, less distance to carry your groceries and easier to clean the car on a Saturday morning. So, if your home doesn’t currently have a driveway, here’s how to turn a front garden into a practical parking spot.
Do I need planning permission to turn my front garden into a driveway?
Whether or not you need planning permission will depend on a few things, mostly whether the material you want to use is permeable or non-permeable. As well as contributing to the risk of flooding, non-permeable materials damage the environment necessary for wildlife to flourish, so it’s not a very eco-friendly option. If using non-permeable materials such as slate then you will need permission, as well as when installing a hardstanding of more than five square metres and if there is no area for water to run off and soak away.
However, if you are using a permeable or semi-permeable surface then water is able to drain through so you would not need planning permission – think gravel, permeable block paving, porous concrete and asphalt. You will definitely need permission if the parking space involves dropping the kerb.
What planning permission do I need for a dropped kerb and how much does it cost?
When you’re starting from scratch, you may need to drop the kerb in order to drive cars in and out safely. You will need to request planning permission from your local highways department, and the results will vary depending on where you live and your council’s policy. According to myjobquote.co.uk, a non-refundable application fee is around £70-£100 and in most cases, you will need to use a council-approved contractor to carry out the work, with an average cost of around £800-£1,200.
There will probably also be an inspection by the council before any work can start, which costs an additional £180-£220. Extra costs will incur if there is anything beneath the ground that needs protecting such as water pipes or any obstructions that need removing.
How much will it cost to create a driveway?
If you want to turn your garden into a driveway, then when budgeting you’ll need to factor in the material you choose, the cost of labour, the size of the new drive, whether or not you need to drop the kerb, the condition of the foundations under the garden as well as the design you have in mind.
There are plenty of specialist companies who can advise and offer an initial idea of cost. Some permeable materials, such as resin, are quick and easy to install, reducing costs. It can also be laid over older asphalt or concrete drives. Resin is made from recycled, natural materials, so it’s a sustainable choice. Paving blocks allow you to create patterns, while gravel is the cheapest option (which has the handy security bonus of being noisy when driven and walked on).
How to revamp an existing drive
When you already have a parking spot but it just needs a bit of an uplift, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to give it a new lease of life.
First, start by sweeping away any debris then give it a pressure wash. Next, repair or replace any broken, cracked or loose paving blocks or slabs and reseal the driveway. Consider adding a stain to change its colour and add an attractive border. Add a brick, paved or wooden border and think about planting up some colourful flowers or shrubs.
You could also include some lighting along the sides for security as well as illuminating the path, and take a look at the front of your property in general. By sprucing up other areas such as the front door and windows, you can easily create some lovely kerb appeal.
Adding a gate can improve security and privacy
For the perfect finish to a new driveway, a smart gate offers both privacy and security. As well as providing protection, a gate and perimeter fence will boost your home’s desirability while potentially adding value at the same time.
Consider wooden or timber designs and soften the look with carefully selected planting and landscaping. While ornamental metal options suit period properties, timber is more traditional and works with all styles. Think about whether you want a solid or slatted design, something that is easy maintenance and perhaps even an automated gate. These are convenient and secure, and give you full control over who has access. If choosing this option, it should be installed by a registered engineer to ensure it complies with all standards.
How do you illuminate a driveway?
Outdoor lighting is a practical and stylish addition to your driveway, and you can choose to have it hardwired to a switch indoors, or to have it turn on automatically as the sun goes down. There are many different styles, materials, colours, fitting types and features available. The easiest is ground spike lighting, which you can wedge into the lawn or flowerbeds to illuminate the outer edges of the drive and the path to the front door. They blend into their surroundings and help create a track for cars to follow when entering the drive.
Solar-powered designs are more eco-friendly while ground bollard lights add a bit of wow factor. There are also pagoda styles that you can install in the grass, as well as lights on poles or pillars and those that can be built into the paving itself.
• For driveway specialists, contact marshalls.co.uk with its national network of accredited driveway contractors.
• Get inspiration from bradstone.com and find your local assured installer.
• Find a registered automatic gate installer and technical support at benincauk.co.uk.
• Get an idea of the cost of labour and any additional expenses that may be incurred from myjobquote.co.uk.