Three Simple DIY Driveway Ideas

cheap driveway ideas

Who doesn’t love a good statistical report? I know I do. Give me a giant collection of data that’s been all crunched down and put into pretty graphs and easy to digest metrics and I’m a happy guy.

Such is the case with the Zillow Group® Consumer Housing Trends Report 2017. What a treasure trove of useful information! Some of it is quite surprising, like the fact that parking is a major issue for home buyers.

According to the report, 40 percent of home buyers cite parking as a key factor in the purchase decision! This, of course, got me to thinking: “Just build more parking!”

Maybe that’s not always possible, but if you’re looking at a property with some yard space available, adding some parking might be an easy DIY project that can change your daily routine for the better!

Carve Out a Parking Pad With Mulch

crushed oyster shell driveway
The easiest and least costly way to get an extra parking space is to clear out some grass and throw down some mulch. It works fine, looks good and can be done in a day. But beware: Mulch isn’t a permanent solution! Mulch breaks down over time, floats away in a heavy rain and fades in the sun. I had a huge mulch driveway for years and over time I ended up spending more money in sprucing up the mulch than I would have spent if I just poured concrete the day I moved in! Be sure to use a store-bought landscape barrier or even lay down newspaper to keep weeds at bay.

If mulch seems too temporary, consider other loose materials like gravel, stones or crushed oyster shells.

Build a DIY Driveway With Pavers

brick paver driveway
Concrete or brick paver driveway is a great parking option that can be installed either professionally or DIY. Thousands of videos online show the steps and all the tricks of the trade. It’s really quite simple:

  1. Excavate the area to be paved.
  2. Install a “base material,” such as crushed concrete, at a thickness of a few inches.
  3. Pack down the base material with a compactor, making sure to slope it as desired
  4. Install a thin layer of sand on top of the base material.
  5. Install paver blocks on the sand layer, laying them in place in the pattern of your choice.
  6. Install a border row of bricks along the edges, and back that row with a poured concrete “edge restraint,” which will keep things from moving outwards.
  7. Put another layer of sand on top of the finished surface and broom it into the joints between the bricks.

When installed properly, a paver driveway or parking pad can last for decades.

A Concrete Driveaway is Always Best

DIY concrete patio
Finally, there is the tried-and-true concrete driveway. There’s a reason concrete is still the most common driveway product in the world! Concrete looks good, doesn’t cost a fortune and lasts a very long time!

There’s fewer steps to pouring a concrete parking area than there is to installing pavers, but it’s not quite as beginner friendly. If you’ve never poured concrete before, it’s a good idea to start with a smaller area such as a sidewalk before tackling a large area.

Having a driveway “set up” on you before you’ve finished smoothing it … umm … no fun!

Always Think Creatively

As with everything else in home ownership, when you don’t see the parking area you want, ask yourself if a little bit of DIY sweat equity can change that reality in a weekend?

Maybe that will be the bit of vision that helps you see much needed parking while 40 percent of potential buyers with no imagination pass up on a great house!