It could be nostalgia and a rekindled love for all things vintage or retro, or maybe it’s a desire to make our outdoor spaces as environmentally friendly as possible. It could even be that gardeners are craving a more countrified finish, but whatever it is, ribbon driveways are back in fashion.
What is a ribbon driveway?
Essentially a ribbon driveway is just two parallel tracks connecting a building with the public road. Between them, a ‘ribbon’, usually of rich, verdant grass, winds its way homeward. Of the assorted driveway paving ideas you could choose from, this is one with a real history. Ribbon driveways date back to the early decades of the 20th century when more and more people began driving motor vehicles, rather than horse-drawn carts. They were simply a step up from the twin tracks of beaten earth that had gone before.
Today, however, the vast array of quality driveway paving options on the market means there’s plenty of choice and variation for those wishing to create a ribbon driveway. Would you choose simple grey paving slabs sandwiching a meandering patch of colourful wild meadow blooms, or a block paving driveway teamed up with neatly maintained short grass? Whatever finish you eventually may choose for a ribbon driveway, your first step is to make sure it’s the best option for you and your home. Below, we’ve set out some of the pros and cons to achieving the look.
Weighing up the options
For keen motorists, perhaps the biggest drawback to a ribbon driveway is the difficulty sometimes associated with manoeuvring on one. If space is tight, you may find your wheels damage the central area and leave unsightly spots. That middle section is also problematic when it comes to maintenance. Unless you’re the owner of a relatively nifty lawn mower, you may find yourself down on your knees with the shears every other week come summer.
Of course, ribbon driveways, by their very nature, look old-fashioned. Whether you perceive this to be a plus or a minus point is very much down to subjective taste.
There are a lot of definite positive points too. Perhaps the most important is that ribbon driveways are kinder to the planet. Because they have a larger permeable surface area, they allow excess water to escape quickly, leaving the flora and fauna free to thrive and prevent sewers from having to work too hard. Plus, because there’s less ground to be paved, a ribbon driveway is kinder to your pocket too. If the area you’re paving is irregular, another benefit to ribbon driveways is that they can be more easily fitted into tricky spaces.
If you’re considering having a ribbon driveway built, it’s essential that you select a reliable, experienced construction firm. The Marshalls Register of Accredited Landscape Contractors and Driveway Installers is a good place to begin your search.
Depending on the type of property you live in, the length and shape of your driveway area and your personal taste, a ribbon driveway can be a stylish and up-to-date addition to your home.