A well landscaped driveway sets an excellent first impression for any visitors to your property and must be functional as well as visually pleasing. Regardless of the top surface, it is important to ensure that there is a solid base layer of woven weed fabric. I would recommend a ‘woven polyethylene’ type ground cover, with a weight of 100 gsm. GSM is essentially a measure of how durable the geotextile fabric is, the higher the number, the less likely the material is to tear under pressure. The lighter 50gsm fabric is more suited to borders, flowerbeds, and other low traffic areas.
A well put together driveway consists of several layers. The base layer, as outlined already should be a good weed control membrane. This should then be covered by a good layer of well compacted hard core. This gives the driveway its strength and helps to prevent any potholes that may appear overtime. This is essentially the foundation for any further layers, and should consist of rubble that isn’t going to impair drainage.
For the next stage it’s well worth investing in another layer of 100gsm driveway fabric. This is going to prevent any of the aggregate used for the top layer from filtering down through the subgrade, and will assist in keeping a flat and even surface. Driveway fabric allows for excellent drainage so therefore it will not create pooling.
On the subject of the top layer, there are many options to choose from when selecting a covering. The most common are tarmac and paved driveways, and gravel. There is no doubt that a tarmac or paved driveway looks neat and is very low maintenance, but the costs involved can be excessive. As well as the cost of the materials, there’s also the high cost of hiring specialist equipment. Plus there’s absolutely no water permeability with a driveway of this type, so there must be a steady slope away from the property and any outbuildings. Not to mention the cost of repairing any potholes that will occur naturally with use.
Gravel has the advantage of needing no specialist equipment. It can be placed in a reasonably short time span with tools that you’ve probably got in your garden shed, and the second layer of geotextile should minimise any necessary replenishment. A gravel driveway has the added advantage of being an excellent security feature. Walking silently across a driveway of this type is near impossible, and should act as a deterrent to any intruders.