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prwinmaine
Environmentally friendly driveway

Here is the problem--we own a turn of the century cape with an attached 3 story barn and garage. Our driveway has always been gravel in dyer need of gravel. The base is clay which is very evident here in southern Maine as after the winter thaw and the ever increasing Spring rains we just have a lkae for a driveway. We have three children who could benefit from an asphalt driveway but I just think it really would detract from the rural look of our place and am lobbying for a stone driveway. Now having grown up with a stone driveway I know about a lot of the drawbacks--in the Spring my brother and sisters and I wanted to runaway before the annual "raking of the driveway" began but I would prefer to not have this "black top" center piece for an entry to our house...our current driveway is a straight shot and a short one at that 125 - 150 feet. Any advice on new innovative environmentally friendly affordable surfacing that would fit in with an older home?

Thanks-
prwinmaine

Moderator
Re: Environmentally friendly driveway

Today's TOH Homepage Gallery might interest you. Perhaps you'll consider a variation of this: Put Your Driveway into Overdrive.

Re: Environmentally friendly driveway

Check with local companies that do driveways - I'm pretty sure I've seen companies that can stamp/color asphalt now, not just cement, so you shouldn't have to deal with a black driveway.

EastCoastPakRat
Re: Environmentally friendly driveway

Unless they have significantly improved the Stamped & Colored Asphalt I would not recommend using it (It definitely shows Pattern Tracks)
Stamped Concrete seems to hold up much better - Especially if the entire batch is tinted/colored.

Re: Environmentally friendly driveway
EastCoastPakRat wrote:

Unless they have significantly improved the Stamped & Colored Asphalt I would not recommend using it (It definitely shows Pattern Tracks)
Stamped Concrete seems to hold up much better - Especially if the entire batch is tinted/colored.

True, tinted/stamped concrete is superior to colored/stamped asphalt. I saw at least one home show where they did the asphalt and it turned out quite nice, however. It's all a matter of budget.

Note that in the Northeast, asphalt may be a better choice than concrete over time, as sooner or later the concrete will crack (so will asphalt, but it tends to take longer, as long as it is properly installed). If it cracks along the stampings, it's no big deal, though.

Natalie
Re: Environmentally friendly driveway

Hey prwinmaine, I think that's a really good question! Although, I have to admit I'm a little biased since I just finished writing a story on the topic for This Old House Magazine. ;) You can check that out in our October issue.

In the meantime, though, there are a bunch of options you can look into that fall under the porous pavement category. These include plastic grids that you lay down and fill up with either decorative gravel (for a similar look to what you have now) or dirt and turf grass (which would basically give you extra lawn that can survive a couple of car trips a day, but which you would need to water and maintain like the rest of your yard). The grids, offered by companies such as Invisible Structure and Alcoa, give enough support for your car so the land doesn't compact in on itself over time, letting it continue to absorb a good amount of rainwater (no driveway lakes).

And as mentioned, you can get stamped/colored concrete or asphalt, but you should check with your local contractors for someone certified to lay down porous concrete or asphalt, which let more water drain through (again, no driveway lakes).

Last, for something that's cheaper than stone, but still polished-looking, check into inter-locking concrete driveway pavers, such as Old Castle Architectural's. (That link is for their products that require pro installation, but they also offer DIY ones through retailers like Home Depot and Lowes). They come in a plethora of colors and textures, they're durable, and they're still eco-friendly, letting rainwater run-off through.

With any of these options, you're going to need to start with a good, porous base of gravel. Since you mentioned your land is kind of clayish, you should check in with a landscaper first to discuss the options to make sure your land is properly readied for the top course of whatever you choose.

Hope this helps, happy renovating! :)

sastexan
Re: Environmentally friendly driveway

How does the gravel driveway work with snow removal? My wife and I want to put in a driveway, or at least a parking pad, and I would prefer something that blends into our wooded lot but I am worried about snow removal and traction when it is snowy / icy. DC has enough days that it is of concern for a displaced Texan. :)

Thanks in advance.

canuk
Re: Environmentally friendly driveway

You might find this method the "cat's meow" http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,211820,00.html
http://www.larrytorti.com/portfolio.htm

A rural area nearby uses this similar method on the roads. It's an economical alternative to pavement and still has the natural look.

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