A driveway is a pretty simple concept: it’s a path that leads from the street to your house or garage, giving cars a space to pull in without ruining your front lawn. With such a simple purpose, it should be easy to add a driveway to a new or renovated home, right?

While it may not be the most complex construction project, adding a driveway still takes some consideration, and you should map it out on your site plan before you start building. Here are six things to think about when adding a new driveway.


budgeting money on a calculator

1. Figure out Your Budget

Installing a new driveway costs between $2,500 and $6,500. Length, shape, conditions of the land, and materials all factor into the cost of your driveway.  The biggest variable is materials.

There are several different materials you can use for your driveway, but your final decision is probably going to depend at least in part on your budget. Depending on the material you use, you should expect to pay between $1-$15 per square foot. Typical driveway materials include: 

  • Gravel is the cheapest material up-front, typically running about $1-3 per square foot
  • Asphalt is about $2-4
  • Concrete is about $4-6
  • Specialized concrete pavers are even more expensive

Because materials will be your biggest expense, you may want to get several bids to find the best contractor for the job. Having a site plan for the driveway can also save money by articulating exactly what you need. You’ll also need a site plan to acquire a building permit for the driveway.

Related Link: My Site Plan Frequently Asked Questions

2. Maintenance Costs

Notice that we only mentioned the “up-front” cost above. That’s because different materials are going to require different types of maintenance, which could cost you time and money in the long run. 

Each material has its set of maintenance requirements. Some are more cumbersome and costly than others. For instance, pavers are going to require less regular maintenance than gravel, so you may find that the up-front cost is actually worth it for you. 

Concrete is the most common driveway material. You’ll need to seal the concrete to prevent cracking, and you should never salt your driveway. Salt can compromise the driveway’s material and will deteriorate quickly.


small car on driveway

3. Size of Vehicles

Depending on how many cars you own, and the number of garage stalls will factor into the size and cost of the driveway. You’ll need to evaluate the space and needs of your vehicles. If you have a boat or RV, you may need to add a concrete pad on the side of your garage.

If you just need to drive one average-sized car into the garage, your driveway only needs to be about 10 feet wide. If you have a wider car or need to park multiple cars in the driveway—maybe you have guests over frequently or have more cars than your garage has room for—you’ll need to plan accordingly.

4. The Road in Front of Your House

The street you live on factors into the design of your driveway. For those who live on a quiet street, it shouldn’t be too hard to just back out of a driveway. However, if your house is in front of a busier street or a narrower lane, backing out could be more of a challenge. 

Living on a busier street, you may want to create a T-shaped or arc-shaped driveway so that you can easily turn around in front of your house before entering the road. While this may add more cost to your driveway, you’ll be grateful for the ease and safety it provides. 

Do you need a T-shape or arc-shaped driveway? Contact My Site Plan to draw up a site plan that will meet the design requirements of your new driveway.

Related Link: How to Convert a Garage into a Master Bedroom


beautiful home

5. Style of Your House

If you’re not constrained by your budget, you may want to choose a driveway material that matches your house’s architecture in order to improve your home’s curb appeal. 

For example, two colors of concrete pavers arranged in an interesting design might complement a modern home nicely, while gravel might work well for a house with more of a rustic look.

6. Climate

Don’t forget to think about the weather where you live. Different materials behave differently in fluctuating climates. You’ll want to consider the seasons and how they will wear on your driveway:

  • Concrete may crack during freeze-thaw cycles.
  • Asphalt will hold up better to temperature fluctuations. 
  • Gravel is prone to erosion, which can be problematic if you live somewhere that gets a lot of rain, snow, or hail. 

Be sure to read up on the pros and cons of each type of material before deciding what to use for your driveway. You may need to rethink which material is best for your climate. Overall, pavers hold up well but cost significantly more than concrete or gravel.

Can I Build a My Own Driveway?

Depending on the materials you’re using for your new driveway, the price can be costly. Then on top of that, you’ll have to hire contractors to finish the job for you, leaving a big dent in your wallet.

So how can you avoid that stress? You can build your own driveway. Since concrete is one of the most common driveway materials, we’ll use it for this example. But other materials will have similar methods. Let’s dive further into your DIY driveway.

Step 1: Check Local Ordinances

Before starting your new driveway project, see if you need any permits. Depending on where you live, your state may require you to adhere to specific guidelines for building your driveway.

Also, if there’s a homeowner’s association in your neighborhood, they may have rules regarding your project. But to get further clarification, make sure to check your state’s website for permits and applications.

Step 2: Plan Your Driveway’s Look

Once you get all the necessary permits for your driveway project, next is planning the structure of your driveway. As we stated above, you’ll need to consider the quantity and size of cars that you have. 

Figuring out a plan for your new driveway can be challenging. So if you need help, contact a professional to help you with your site plan.

Step 3: Preparing Your Driveway For Remodeling

After figuring out your site plan, now you have to prepare your driveway for its remodel. To start, shape the layout of your driveway with wooden or metal stakes to make sure it matches your plan. 

Next, see if any spots in the area need to be filled. If they do, you can fill them with road base, which is a mixture of crushed gravel and granite. It helps stabilize the ground before pouring concrete over it. 

Step 4: Reinforcing Your Concrete

Reinforcing your concrete driveway isn’t necessary, but it is highly recommended. It helps strengthen your driveway and evenly distributes the weight of your vehicles.

You can use steel reinforcing bars to provide support for your driveway. Another reinforcing option entails adding polypropylene fiber to the concrete mixture.

Step 5: Pouring & Curing

Now it’s time to pour the concrete over your driveway. You’ll need to do this part relatively quickly because of how fast the concrete can dry in. 

Depending on the size of your driveway, you can use a wheelbarrow to do it yourself. If not, you can rent equipment that will allow you to handle the task efficiently. 

After you’re done pouring the concrete, create texture lines on the surface using a broom. It helps your tires gain traction during adverse weather conditions.

Then it’s time to cure the concrete slab. You can do this by adding a chemical curing compound or covering the driveway with a plastic sheet covering to create a moisture-retaining barrier. During this process, make sure that you do not park your cars on the driveway.

Step 6: Parking on Your New Driveway

Once the curing is finished, you can park your car on your new driveway. As you’re parking the first time, keep an eye out for cracks in the concrete. If cracks do appear, don’t worry, you can repair them easily.

Curing should take a minimum of three days. However, weather conditions could play a huge factor. To be safe, wait at least seven days before parking your car on the driveway.

Build a Long-Lasting Driveway

When you factor in maintenance, need, location, weather, and aesthetic, you can build a long-lasting driveway that will increase your home’s curb appeal and value. If budget is a significant factor in how you build your driveway, you’ll need to weigh upfront building costs to long-term maintenance of your driveway.

Before you build, you should consider creating a driveway site plan to mitigate any issues and address the driveway’s purpose and needs.

My Site Plan has experienced CAD designers who can create a non-certified site plan for a new driveway project. After gathering the required information, My Site Plan can create a site plan within 24 hours for most projects.

Do you have a home improvement project that requires a site plan to obtain a building permit? My Site Plan can create a site plan for your project within 24 hours.

Related Link: Mysiteplan.com and Permitting: What You Need to Know



FAQ Answer
How much should I budget for a new driveway? Budgeting for a new driveway depends on the material and size. Generally, you should prepare to spend between $2,500 and $6,500.
Which driveway material is most durable? Pavers and concrete are considered the most durable options for driveways, offering a long lifespan if properly maintained.
Can I install a driveway myself? DIY installation is possible for materials like gravel; however, for more durable materials like concrete, professional installation is recommended.
What maintenance does an asphalt driveway require? Asphalt driveways should be resealed every three to five years to prevent cracking and degradation.
How do I choose the right contractor for my driveway? Look for contractors with good reviews, proper licensing, and a portfolio of completed projects. Always get multiple bids to compare.
What are the signs of a poorly installed driveway? Uneven surfaces, poor drainage, and visible cracks shortly after installation are common signs of poor workmanship.