ad post (with before-and-after pics)
There comes a point during any home renovation where you’ve just had enough.
Enough of the noise and dust and disruption, and the 10,000 daily decisions you have to make. And don’t even get me started on the eye-watering damage to your bank balance.
For us, it was after the main building work had been finished and all the internal decorating done. The front garden was still a building site, a claggy, uneven mess of mud and rubble, but we simply didn’t have the energy OR the funds to sort it out.
We needed to sit back and breathe while we gathered the strength to tackle the next stage, getting the driveway design inspiration we needed to convert the clay pit into a two-car off-road parking space big enough for two cars.
So, for the next year we simply enjoyed our new home and all its fancy new additions. We’d come so far from our tired old house to the revitalised new incarnation, and – for a while – that was enough.
But then, as always happens, the thrill of the newness began to wane and all those unfinished bits became increasingly obvious. It began to bug me that we had this elegant new facade being seriously let down by the mucky, muddy mess in front of it.
It was an eyesore.
We had lots of driveway design ideas, but we knew our favourite ones could run into the thousands of pounds – money we needed to spend more urgently in other areas – so I resigned myself to concentrating on the completed parts of the renovation for the meantime (while shuddering slightly every time we pulled up outside).
But then fate stepped in a year ago, when a local paving contractor literally knocked on our door. ‘We were about to start a job around the corner, but it’s been been put back,’ he explained. ‘I’ll do you a great price if you fancy getting your front driveway sorted out.’
Did we ever.
We had been considering several options, searching for driveway design inspiration, from having paving bricks installed, to re-pouring the driveway using a domestic concrete supplier, to splashing out on a fancy resin driveway.
But, realistically, it was going to be a while before we could put enough away, and I couldn’t bear looking at the scruffy mess in the meantime.
We arranged to get the mucky mud pit levelled out and some sleeper beds built in, and the resulting space tidied up with gravel. It was a good compromise – and the most budget-friendly of our driveway design ideas – until we had time to save up for what we really wanted.
But we were pleasantly surprised to see how much tidier it looked afterwards. So much so, we decided to go one step further, and have the ugly 70s concrete driveway dug up as well.
It’s often the case with building work that the finished result doesn’t look quite as good as you imagine it, but in this case we were blown away by the transformation.
Gone was the scruffy, construction-ravaged eyesore, in it’s place an Instagram-worthy front-of-house, with kerb appeal galore. The driveway was literally the icing on our renovation cake.
Late last summer I filled the sleeper beds with lavender plugs which should explode into purple and silver bushes this spring, offsetting the neutral colours with vibrant splashes of colour.
We love it so much, we’ve decided we might not even need to redo it down the line, which means we can concentrate on other unfinished projects inside (or maybe even a holiday, once the world has regained some normality…).
It’s a win all around.
We hope you got some driveway design inspiration, or ideas on how to renovate a driveway on a budget. Have you read about how we created our open-plan kitchen-diner?