Which driveway material is best for you?


Which driveway material is best for you?

Hard landscaping and driveways are always difficult to get right because there are so many types of materials to choose from and of course, you want to select something that’s hard wearing, attractive and fit for purpose. This month, R&J Landscapes are here to go through each driveway material, so you know the pros and cons to all before going ahead with your favoured surface option.  

What to consider before you choose a driveway

Before laying your chosen driveway material, you will want to lay a base of between 100-150 mm of hardcore, this will help to prevent your drive from becoming a quagmire.

Think drainage for your driveway

Rainwater doesn’t just disappear, so you will need to consider how your driveway will cope with it. Back in 2008, the government brought about Sustainable Drainage Systems to ease the pressure on main sewer networks from new housing developments. To combat this, all hard driveways/surfaces that measure over 5m² that are situated between your home’s front and the highway must be given planning permission (that’s if it is not compliant with the new rules of the Sustainable Drainage Systems).

Types of driveway materials – pros and cons


With a variety of colours and sizes to choose from, gravel can suit all homes and offer a very attractive finish to rural locations. For maximum curb appeal many people choose gravel because it is so versatile.

Pro – you can match the colours of the gravel to the colours of your surrounding landscape.
Con – driving on gravel can create holes and ruts in your driveway.
Pro – gravel driveways are cheaper than alternative materials.
Con – holes in your gravel can accumulate water.
Pro – maintenance is relatively easy on small driveways and can be done with a rake.
Con – weeds and plants grow through the pebbles.
Pro – there’s the flexibility, as you can choose the size of your gravel.


Shingle stone driveways are just as attractive as gravel driveways, their beautiful colouring and simple finish is an ideal way to surface your front garden.

Pro – lots of colours to choose from, you can even choose a lovely mix of a few colours.
Con – shingles can get stuck in car types and your shoes when you walk on it.
Pro – can brighten up your driveway.
Con – dust and dirt can be an issue with shingles, so regular maintenance may be required.
Pro – small shingles are better for drainage.
Con – weeds and plants grow through the pebbles.
Pro – better at suppressing weeds and help to protect against frosty winters.


Also referred to as termacadam, macadam and bitmac because these are more descriptive words of the material itself, rather than the company that makes it. Cheaper than block paving, tarmac is a convenient material that as it’s relatively quick to set and looks uniform.

Pro – sets quickly.
Con – can develop small cracks during frosty periods.
Pro – tarmac has a long lifespan because it is so durable.
Con – poor installation can cause puddles and poor water drainage.
Pro – ideal surface for large areas.
Con – lots of machinery needs to be used, so tarmacing a small drive is difficult.
Pro – weeds find it hard to grow through tarmac, if not impossible.

Block paving

A very popular choice for many homeowners’ driveways, block paving can be laid in a pattern to add personality and colour to your front garden.

Pro – hard wearing surface that has been known to last longer than tarmac.
Con – blocks can break if something heavy is dropped onto them.
Pro – loose or broken blocks are easy to replace.
Con – you may need to pressure wash your block paving to remove dust and dirt.
Pro – has the wow factor and adds great curb appeal.
Con – take some time to level the base before laying block paving.
Pro – you have the flexibility to choose nice patterns.

For more ideas and to know more about the materials R&J Landscapes can supply and install – call our friendly team today and let’s get your driveway sorted. Based in Buckinghamshire, we also work throughout Harrow, Aylesbury and Watford.