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Granite Driveways: A Practical Approach to Successful Results

In shopping centers perhaps, but not so much in private gardens. Some people who don’t like gardens clearly jump at the chance and remove any evidence of greenery and replace it with wall-to-wall parking. Fortunately, most people prefer to retain some aspect, however modest, of a landscaped area within the new road scheme.

Fortunately, many are looking beyond the immediate needs of the car and looking for more green, better-defined spaces for a more visually appealing balance. The plants, shrubs and trees are very important elements within the work, as are the grass areas. Unfortunately, with a lack of space, the lawn is often the first item to be removed or at least drastically reduced in size to provide much-needed space for cars.

Another important design factor that can significantly affect the overall appeal of the final result is, of course, the choice of surface material. Considered by many to be a premium natural paver, granite is an ideal surface finish for driveways. Advantages include a smooth non-slip surface, calibrated (consistent) cut sizes, available in a variety of colors and thicknesses, very strong yet easy to maintain. It can enhance a contemporary design, but it looks just as comfortable in a classic or even rustic formal setting. A very important aspect is also the availability of granite in a variety of forms including granite curbs (ideal for defining planting areas/beds), granite ensembles used for driveways, ramps, to frame walkways, lawn edging /cut strips, in fact sets can also be used as an alternative to curb as a raised edge to define, contain pebbles or gravel within certain areas, etc. Granite steps are available in a variety of styles and finishes, with rounded toe (much nicer rounded profile than the rougher cut or flat edge common with other materials).

This greater availability of variations allows for the development of unique and attractive designs for the driveway. With so many formats to choose from, there really is no excuse for a boring and drab wall-to-wall finish. Instead, a design should be developed that defines the structure of the driveway, its intended use, but just as important, a design that is attractive and compliments the homeowners. Ideally, the design aesthetic should exploit the various forms of materials in such a way as to provide an overall cohesive look and finish. Subtle details like consistent tight joints, precise cuts, smooth yet consistent curves are clear evidence of great skill and workmanship. A bad execution can destroy the overall results. Granite is unforgiving insofar as any and all mistakes will be apparent, but if done right it is an excellent, hard-wearing, easy-care surface.

Ultimately, the success of any design will be greatly affected by the quality of the installation. There is nothing worse than seeing premium materials used poorly and in some cases wasted because the installers did not have the experience or pride to complete the task. Unfortunately granite is more widely available than competent contractors to install the driveway. There are specialist landscapers who design and install driveways, but here, too, research is required to identify the right candidates.

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