Drives and Patios

Building or laying a new patio or driveway, will probably be the most money you will spend in the garden. A new driveway or patio, will enhance the value of your home, when you decide to sell, but make sure it is done properly.

When deciding to obtain estimates, never deal with anyone who just knocks the door and offers to do the driveway, because they have spare tarmacadam or concrete, left over from a job down the road. Use professional contractors, established in the area, who offer guarantees. Ensure your contractor is a member of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) or a landscape designer of the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI).

Here are some points to consider when re-laying your driveway or patio:

  • The minimum depth you need to remove from the top of your existing driveway, is 250 mm (10ins), to allow for 150 mm (6ins) of hardcore, 50 mm (2ins) of sand and 50 mm (2ins) for your block paving.
  • The angle of the new block paving driveway needs to be a minimum of 1:60, that is 1inch fall in 60 inches length (25 mm fall in 1500 mm), for satisfactory drainage of surface water.
  • Ensure that there is at least 150 mm (2 courses of brickwork), from the paving slabs to the damp proof course level of your home and at the point, where it meets the pavement, the paving slabs 10 mm higher. This ensures that the damp proof course level is not bridged.
  • Provide adequate drainage from existing downpipes, so that water runs away from the house and if necessary to a soak away, being at least 3 meters away from the property.
  • If you are providing lighting to your driveway or patio, ensure that you use armoured cable and a suitably qualified N.I.C.E.I.C. electrician, to install the lighting.
  • Consider the trees in your garden, even in the street, as any changes to lawns or front gardens that reduce or increase the amount of water entering the ground, will have an impact on tree roots. Having a permeable covering, such as block paving or brick with permeable gaps, will allow water to filter.
  • If your mains water is still in lead, it may be an opportune time to change this, prior to laying your new driveway.
  • From the 1st October 2008, homeowners in England, wishing to pave over their front garden with an impermeable surface, such as tarmac, will require planning permission. In Wales, this is not currently a requirement, although the Welsh Assembly, are considering this form of legislation.
  • If your home is in a designated Conservation Area, you will require planning permission for your driveway.
  • Building regulations do not generally apply, unless you have made alterations to levels, such as introducing steps, where none existed.
  • If you are making a new access into the garden, across the footpath, you will need to obtain permission from your Local Council, to drop the kerb, as the pavement may need strengthening, to protect any services buried in the ground, such as water pipes.

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