Navigating demands for driveways with Marshalls

Navigating demands for driveways with Marshalls

Johanna Elvidge, head of design at Marshalls, delves into the evolving demands for driveways and how landscapers and builders can navigate these requirements.

The demand for driveways is growing, and customers are increasingly placing importance on the driveway itself. In a survey of 2,000 homeowners, we found that if choosing their next hometwo-thirds (64%) would want a private driveway, and for 17% of people, it would be a deal breaker if their property didn’t have one. 

We also explored some of the reasons why driveways are so important. These include household costs and security, with 61% of people agreeing that a private driveway helps manage the cost of car insurance and almost two-thirds believing a private driveway gives peace of mind that their vehicles are safer.

The role of the driveway is also evolving. Greater electric or hybrid car ownership means more consumers are using their driveways as charging points plus vehicles are also increasing in size and weight requiring surfaces to withstand heavier loads. At the same time, we’re seeing a shift in the prominence of the front of the house, where driveways are often the forefront, with more than two-fifths of people (43%) saying they care more about the appearance of the front of their home, including their garden, driveway and front door, now than compared to two years ago. 

In the same research, we also identified how consumers are becoming more aware of what their homes and outside spaces are built with, finding that 43% of people said they would pay more for a house built with sustainable materials. To this end, builders and landscapers may well find themselves getting enquiries about their sustainability credentials and how a project can be delivered with minimal environmental impact, especially as the Future Homes Standard is on the horizon.  

These evolving demands, coupled with pressure on cost and the need to consider sustainable draining legislation when working on a new driveway over 5m2, are among the growing list of things builders and landscapers need to consider when planning a driveway project.  

New alternatives

Fortunately, forward-thinking manufacturers are constantly innovating products that combine the best of all worlds to help trades find the balance between sustainability, affordability, aesthetic appeal, legislative requirements and ease of installation.  

One such area of innovation is granite alternatives. Traditionally, granite has been a popular choice for paving due to its durability and style. However, concrete-based alternatives can bring many additional benefits. Unlike granite, concrete can be laid on a flexible, unbound bed, requiring lower-priced materials and reducing installation time and costs.  

These time, cost, and carbon-saving advantages are also available without compromising on quality or aesthetics. Innovative ranges, for example, include a broad range of carefully curated colours, including popular greys and neutrals. Plus, patented colour application technology can ensure a subtle blending of shades reminiscent of granite while offering excellent resistance to UV fading and weather damage.  

The latest granite alternative ranges include different paving formats, such as modern linear units, helping customers delineate spaces. At the same time, smaller elements can be used for finer detailing and edging, creating character and unique design elements.  

Many of these latest innovations also include products made in Britain. These locally manufactured solutions help to reduce carbon emissions versus an imported natural product, plus support the local economy. Moreover, the supply chain for these products isn’t affected by global events or transport logistics, making supply from factory to the merchant more straightforward.  

Ensuring compliance

Legislative compliance is another factor in the growing list of driveway demands. Since 2008, any new driveway in the UK over 5m² must use permeable materials or provide a drainage system for the water to run to a permeable area. If neither approach is followed, the homeowner must get planning permission.  

When not using permeable materials and instead creating a drainage system, the rainwater that falls on the surface must be directed back onto the homeowner’s land and not into the public sewers: one way to achieve this is via a soakaway.  

While traditionally, soakaways could ruin the aesthetics of the driveway, new linear drainage solutions provide a more subtle option that helps comply with legislation while being simple to install and easy on the eye. Generally manufactured from concrete in popular driveway paving shades, these new drainage systems integrate into block paving for an almost seamless finish that’s easy to access and maintain.  

In the evolving landscape of driveway construction, builders and landscapers face the challenge of meeting consumer demands for sustainability, aesthetics, and functionality while adhering to regulations and ensuring practical and straightforward installation. By embracing innovative solutions, professionals can deliver exceptional results that exceed customer expectations, contribute to a more sustainable built environment and make their working lives easier.  

For further information on Marshalls’ driveway solutions visit

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