The Driveway Entrance
It can be a nice touch to come up with an interesting design element for the driveway entrance. This is where folks are first welcomed onto the property.
The possibilities might include stone or brick piers, landscape walls, woodworking, plantings and perhaps a decorative driveway apron. Any of these (or a combination of) will draw attention – this is exactly what you’re trying to do.
After visitors enter the drive you can influence their direction from there with line design and other design strategies.
The driveway apron can be a very cost effective way to make an elegant introduction to your home.
If a new driveway is planned the decorative apron can be installed along with the new drive. Varying circumstances & materials often dictate the order of construction.
Typically for a new driveway we’ll install the driveway apron after the entire base has been prepared and before the asphalt goes down. We’ll cover the new apron with tarps and a double-layer of plywood. We’ll also support and protect the apron edge where it will meet the asphalt.
A driveway apron can also be installed on an existing driveway.
For example, for an asphalt drive the asphalt is cut and removed. The area is then excavated and the base prepared. The driveway apron material of choice is then finally installed.
When installing a driveway apron on an existing driveway, make the cut where the apron meets the existing drive last. You’ll know exactly where to cut and that edge will be less likely damaged during construction.
There are many choices for the materials you can use for the apron including natural stone, brick pavers, concrete pavers and Belgian Block (as pictured above).
I mentioned “base preparation” earlier, and this is especially critical with driveway work. For any type of “dry-laid” construction you should have 10″ of compacted base material.
For a masonry or “wet-laid” driveway apron, you want a substantial base of compacted gravel (4-6″ of 3/4″ crushed) and then a steel reinforced concrete slab (6-8″) to wet-lay your decorative material on.
The wear and weight loads this surface gets will be extreme. Build it right from the base up and you will not have problems.