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Tips for Designing a Long Asphalt Driveway

Many homeowners have a simple driveway that extends the length of their front yards to their garage. Such driveways are relatively easy to plan. Indeed, contractors usually just work within the predetermined confines to install or update a straight driveway.

However, not every project is so simple. You might be lucky enough to have a larger plot of land or one that's set farther back from the street. You may also have a plot configuration that calls for a circular driveway. Whatever the reason, you need a long asphalt driveway. Below are some tips for designing such a driveway.

Decide on the Layout

As noted above, you have different reasons for having a long asphalt driveway installed. For a large plot of land, you might simply need a driveway that traverses the entire length of a spacious front yard. Conversely, your garage may be in the back, so your driveway needs to also go past the whole house. Such a driveway may be straight, or you may add curves for aesthetic value.

A house with a large front yard or that's set back from the street might necessitate a circular driveway. This layout can be very attractive in front of a historic or otherwise stately home. Consider different methods of landscaping the area inside the circular driveway.

Plan for Different Widths

The width of your driveway depends on how you want to use it. With a long driveway, you might have different widths along the way.

For example, a single-car driveway is between 9 to 12 feet wide, while a double-car driveway is around 20 to 24 feet wide. You're not building a road, though, so cars shouldn't expect to pass each other along the length of your long driveway. So you might only need the double-car width at the door of the garage.

Illuminate the Driveway

Asphalt is dark, so it will be difficult to see at night. This situation is exacerbated if you have a large yard or you're set back from the road because you'll have less ambient lighting. You'll want to illuminate your driveway. One effect you want to avoid is installing lights on either side of the driveway at regular intervals — your driveway will look like a runway.

Firstly, ensure the entrance is well-lit to make it easy to find. In this case, you can flank either side with lights. You could even install decorative lanterns. Likewise, illuminate the other end. Many homeowners install floodlights over the garage door.

Lighting along the rest of the driveway can be subtle. You could utilize landscape lighting to illuminate your driveway. For example, consider adding grazing lights in any plants near the driveway. The pool of light will help illuminate the structure. Likewise, if you have a curve in your driveway, consider an installation such as a lighted fountain for the same effect.

Include Decorative Elements

Your long asphalt driveway is going to take up a lot of visual space. Therefore, it will have a significant impact on your house's curb appeal. Asphalt is an adaptable material, and you have different methods for adding decorative elements.

One method is with colored asphalt. Depending on the coloration method, the effect can range from subtle to bold. Considering the length of your driveway, you'll probably want to lean toward the former.

Contractors can also stamp the asphalt surface. They use a metal frame that imparts indentations that can resemble grout or mortar. You can make the surface of your driveway look like brick or stone.

Finally, you can also add a decorative apron and borders. The apron is the area that widens out to the street. You can choose a complementary color or pattern of asphalt to enhance this area. You can also border the driveway with pavers, concrete, or landscaping. These effects don't have to span the whole driveway — you can save them for the entry or the base of the garage.

Utilize the adaptability and affordability of asphalt as material for your long driveway. Arrow Black Top & Masonry, Inc., can offer guidance in layout and experience for installation.