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Paver Driveways: A Worthy Upgrade for Your Home in Lancaster, Hershey, or Reading, PA

Posted On: July 26,2018 By: Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

garner-paver-driveway-walkway-steps-plantingYour driveway is the first part of your home that people see. It’s an opportunity to set the tone for your entire property. Whether you’re looking to revamp an existing one or install a driveway for the first time, you may be considering different material options.

While asphalt can look great when it’s first done, it often starts to look bad over time—plus it requires a fair amount of upkeep. It also looks pretty ordinary and with a gorgeous home, you might be thinking about a more impressive driveway.

For that reason, you might be considering a paver driveway, but may not be sure what’s involved or if it’s a better choice. To help you make the decision that is best for you, we’ll explore paver driveways and what you need to know.

Why Consider a Paver Driveway?

There are actually a number of reasons why you might want to consider a paver driveway. Aesthetically speaking, there are a lot of advantages.

Because pavers come in so many different styles, colors, and even sizes, they provide a lot of room for customization. You could create a paver driveway border in a different color from the rest of your drive for a unique look. You could also create patterns and color schemes using different pavers that would make your driveway stand out. This could even mean incorporating your street number or some sort of design into the drive. There’s lots of room for creativity that simply does not exist with asphalt or concrete.bent-creek-driveway-4

Another benefit to installing a paver driveway is that it’s going to last longer. Assuming they are installed properly, pavers do not require a lot of upkeep, though they should be periodically sealed to prevent stains from vehicles. Asphalt generally needs more maintenance than pavers including services like crack sealing, sealcoating, and patching. While concrete has less ongoing upkeep, it’s almost more prone to cracking, particularly in our region where there is a frequent freeze/thaw cycle. Concrete is difficult to repair and you’ll always be able to see where a crack was filled.

How Much Does a Paver Driveway Cost?

You probably also want to know how much a paver driveway will cost. There’s no question that a paver driveway is going to cost more than asphalt or concrete at the onset. Pavers are the most expensive option, followed by concrete, and then asphalt. However, if you look at the ongoing maintenance costs, pavers are actually the most affordable in terms of upkeep.Hollander-paver-driveway-1

The truth is, pavers require such minimal ongoing maintenance that when you compare the upfront cost of asphalt or concrete to the paver driveway cost, what you’re really doing is trading long-term maintenance costs for upfront investment. Considering that most people find pavers substantially more attractive, they view it as worth it.

Consider these important points about cost:

  • While the exact cost of a paver driveway is going to vary dramatically based on site-specific factors and product selection, we worked up the price for a 25-foot driveway that is 10-feet wide and includes a 24 by 22-foot area by the garage. The cost for this driveway would be approximately $31,000.
  • A concrete driveway might cost 50-60% of that. It might cost around $15,000-$19,000.
  • An asphalt driveway (the least expensive option) is likely a third of the cost of a paver driveway. Possibly somewhere around $10,000-$12,000 for this scenario.

While this may seem shockingly different, if you look at the lifetime cost, then pavers may be more affordable than you realize.

Asphalt and concrete driveways will need to be completely removed and re-done at some point. If you plan to stay in your home 10 or more years, it could mean you’d be paying nearly as much (or the same) for a cheap driveway in the long run. Plus, you’ve now missed out on the benefits of having enjoyed a beautiful paver driveway all of those years.

Installing a Paver Driveway

You might assume that installing a paver driveway isn’t that different from installing a paver patio, but this is not true. The fact that cars will be driving over your paver drive—not to mention steering and backing around—adds a level of complexity not present with a patio. You can’t just choose any paver or lay it out in any way. There are some very specific choices to be made.

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For one, it is critical that the pavers are laid out in the main direction of traffic. This needs to be considered when choosing the pattern for your paver driveway. In addition, cars are incredibly heavy and therefore also call for a thicker and denser paver that can withstand the weight. We recommend a brick paver, a 6x9 paver, or a three-piece paver for driveways. Using a brick of 6x9 paver, we are able to lay it in an attractive herringbone pattern, a design which also helps add strength. This pattern locks the pavers together and doesn’t allow them to move when turning the steering wheel.

Like patios, drainage is also an issue but may require different solutions from a paver patio in order to get drainage flowing in the proper direction. It is critical how the water is draining underneath of the driveway. If this is completed wrong and there is water in the property that runs through the base, it could be a huge problem. Catch drains and pipes to redirect water can be installed under the driveway to prevent these concerns where appropriate.

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To ensure that your paver driveway is installed correctly, it’s important that you choose a company who has experience installing not only small paver patios but doing other installations with pavers, as well.

Look for a company that has installed very large paver patios, paver walkways, and of course, paver driveways. They’ll understand the nuances involved in each different project and how to best tackle the work.

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Special Considerations for a Paver Driveway

ETW-Taylor-driveway-planter-DJI-31For the most part, a paver driveway will function like any other type of driveway. However, we do get a lot of questions about snow plowing. Only slight modifications are needed to make snow plowing safe on your paver driveway. We recommend having the plow slightly raised so that it’s not scraping right against your pavers.

“Playing” is also a bit different on a paver driveway. Because it’s not a completely smooth surface and there are joints between pavers, dribbling a basketball or riding a bike is going to be a different experience on a paver driveway. If that is something that you do very frequently then you may want to consider having a separate area for those activities.

An Impressive Upgrade

By incorporating a paver driveway into your front yard, you are sure to make a powerful aesthetic impact on your curb appeal. Now, when guests pull up to your home they’ll feel that “wow factor” that your home truly deserves.

While coming to the decision of what material is best for your driveway is ultimately a personal one, should you have any questions, we invite you to let us be your guide. Even if you don’t end up choosing a paver driveway, you might upgrade your front yard by adding beautiful paver walkways, an upgraded front porch, or other exciting features. No matter what the case, we’re here to help.

If you’d like to discuss adding a paver walkway to your Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, Hershey, or Reading, PA home, then contact us for a free consultation.

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Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Written by Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Mary Hatch Dresser is a Registered Landscape Architect with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia School of Environmental Design. Mary has designed landscapes for 32 years and joined ETW exclusively in 2009. Mary is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA); and also serves on the Shade Tree Committee in Strasburg Borough where she resides. Mary prides herself in carefully listening to her clients to professionally meld their ideas and personal criteria with sound, experienced design practice.

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