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Make Your Home Stand Out with a Decorative Concrete Driveway ApronGet design ideas for using a concrete driveway apron to enhance your home and learn about their purpose and benefits
What part of your driveway gets the most use and abuse, as well as the most attention? For most residential driveways, it’s the apron—that portion of the driveway installed right at the entrance, typically extending from the street side of the sidewalk to the road.
Also called an approach, an apron serves as the welcome mat to your home and also performs several important functions. A variety of paving materials can be used to build a driveway apron, but choosing the right one for your property is influenced by a number of different factors. Here’s all you need to know before installing a new driveway apron or replacing an existing one.
Ideas for a Concrete Driveway Apron
Check out the design ideas below for inspiration on how to give your concrete driveway apron maximum curb appeal:
Distinguished Designs LLC in Chesapeake, VA
Put Your Number On ItStenciling a street number into a concrete driveway apron is a practical way to identify your address while also serving as a distinctive decorative accent. Using a contrasting color for the apron and driveway border is another attention-getting feature that sets this driveway apart.
Champney Concrete Finishing in Lynchburg, VA
Establish a ThemeA decorative concrete overlay engraved with a circular tree motif greets visitors at the driveway entrance to this magnificent estate, reflecting its wooded surroundings. To further enhance the apron, it was adorned with a random stone pattern colored with spray-applied pigments. The same tree motif was duplicated at the opposite end of the driveway.
SUNDEK of Nashville in Goodlettsville, TN
Apply a Stamped DesignA great way to break up the monotony of a long, winding concrete driveway is to apply a stamped pattern to the apron and continue it along the driveway border. Only stamping the apron rather than the entire driveway is also a good way to save money when installing a large pavement such as this one.
Demonbreun Construction, LLC in Nashville, TN
Give It Some FlairAlthough most driveway aprons are similar in width to the rest of the driveway, letting it flair out dramatically (if allowed by local building codes) is like throwing open the doors to your home to welcome visitors. This exposed aggregate driveway is also accented by bands of plain concrete to create additional visual interest.
PennyEarned, LLC in Montgomery, AL
Add Some TextureInstead of color, you can also use texture to set off an apron from the rest of a driveway. For this short driveway approach, texture skins were used to produce a seamless look that transitions nicely into the adjacent concrete sidewalk.
Ozark Pattern Concrete, Inc. in Lowell, AR
Mix and MatchMixing two different stamped patterns, using one for the approach and another for the main driveway fields, creates stunning visual contrast while segmenting the driveway into various zones for parking and pedestrian traffic. The same Old English bond pattern used for the apron is echoed in a pathway leading to the front door.
karamysh / Shutterstock
Play Around With Paver PatternsArranging decorative concrete pavers in different patterns is a simple but effective way to differentiate the apron from the rest of the driveway. Pavers are a great material to use for a driveway approach because they can easily be removed and replaced if road work needs to be done.
What materials are commonly used to build a driveway apron?
Poured concrete, concrete pavers, asphalt or brick are the materials most often used for driveway aprons, although some municipalities may have restrictions on which materials are acceptable under their building code requirements.
While asphalt is easier to repair and replace, concrete is often the preferred material for an apron and may even be required by some community regulations due to its long service life and durability. Always check with your local building authority first.
See a comparison of the pros and cons of various types of driveway paving materials.
What are the benefits of a concrete driveway apron?
A concrete driveway apron provides a number of practical and aesthetic benefits:
- Because it’s adjacent to the street, it acts as a buffer zone, protecting the rest of your driveway from bearing the brunt of heavy traffic from delivery vans, garbage trucks, or snowplows entering your property.
- It levels out any gradient that exists between your driveway and the street to create a smooth transition.
- It helps divert stormwater runoff away from your driveway and into the municipal sewer system.
- Because it’s located at the entrance to your property, the apron is highly visible and can enhance your home’s curb appeal when well-designed.
Who is responsible for installing the driveway apron?
Homeowners are usually responsible for installing or replacing their driveway approach. A permit from the local government may be required, especially if the apron intersects with public sidewalks or involves cuts to the street curb. Also, buried water lines and storm drains are often located in the apron zone of a driveway, which means that a preliminary inspection before excavation begins is critical.
Some communities will pay a portion of driveway apron installation costs while others require the homeowner to pay the entire amount. Even if you don’t pay for the apron portion of your driveway, you are often responsible for maintaining it and keeping it in good repair.
What are the thickness and size requirements for a concrete driveway apron?
A concrete driveway apron can vary in length and width, but building codes will often dictate the specific dimensions that are acceptable. A typical driveway apron ranges in length from about 8 to 15 feet (starting at the street and measuring toward the house), with the width usually the same as the width of the rest of the driveway. Often the apron will flair out at the entry to better accommodate a car’s turning radius.
The pitch of a concrete driveway apron is also important. It must be sloped away from the house so that all water runoff drains into the street gutter. Ron Alvey / Shutterstock
To handle heavy traffic and avoid stress cracking, building codes often mandate a thicker concrete apron at the driveway entrance. For example, while most concrete driveways are placed at a thickness of 4 inches (see Concrete Driveway Thickness), many municipalities will require the apron to be placed at a 6-inch thickness over a 4-inch compacted aggregate base course. This boosts its load-carrying capacity.
How does the design of a concrete driveway apron impact the overall appearance of a home?
A well-designed concrete apron coordinates nicely with the shape and size of the driveway and the architectural style of the home. Although a driveway apron is usually made from the same material as the rest of the driveway for visual continuity, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, some of the most attractive aprons use a different material or a contrasting color or texture to create interest. For example, a precast paver or stamped concrete approach can lead to an exposed aggregate driveway.
To create a truly memorable and welcoming entrance to your home, consider stenciling or stamping a large design in the apron, such as your street address, last initial, or a compass rose. Generally, this works best with wider approaches so the design can be kept in scale with the rest of the driveway.