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What Driveway Materials Should You Use?

Driveway Materials – Permeable or impermeable?

Driveway Materials, Chippings and Gravel, Concrete

Driveway Materials Granite

Permeable driveway materials allow good drainage whilst impermeable materials don’t. An easy way to tell the difference between driveway materials is that only impermeable ones have puddles.

When you select your driveway materials you should evaluate:

  • The space available.
  • The style you wish for.
  • Are there slopes in the space?
  • The type of soil you have.
  • Does the garden become waterlogged?
  • Is there an efficient drainage system?
  • Do you mind surface water?
  • Budget limitations.


Did you know that slopes must travel away from the property and if the gradient is more than a steep 1:20 then permeable driveway materials may not be suitable for your property?

Any impermeable products used on an area larger than five square metres that don’t have excellent drainage directing water to a permeable surface like gravel or a lawn will require planning permission from the local council.

As impermeable driveway materials reduce the drainage efficiency they can cause the urban heat island effect. This is a phenomenon which makes the temperature around the property unable to cool as normal because the water doesn’t drain or evaporate. Intriguing, but true.

Existing impermeable driveways can be converted to permeable ones and vice versa. This is best discussed with a professional who understands the implications of the change.

Permeable resources, like the broad range of Rivar Sand and Gravel’s gravel, allow the water to be absorbed in to the ground and this normally removes the necessity for soakaways, these are gutter edgings, water butts or pipes to the property to remove water.

A permeable sub base layer can be laid to maximise the strength of the porous material and drainage. An alternative sub base made from hardcore is compacted and the water takes longer to drain away.

Loose chippings or gravel can easily be laid over a sub base and different colours and sizes add to the attractiveness and unique feel plus edging can be added to manage the loose materials.

Amazingly, reinforced grass and gravel driveways can bear the load of vehicles with plastic or concrete reinforcements and drainage is achieved by using porous concrete blocks, porous asphalt or clay blocks which have open areas across them. If the soil is largely comprised of clay then it’s often necessary to lay a pipe in the sub base to help with drainage.

Wheel tracks can be used at vehicle wheel distances so grass, gravel and soil can surround the concrete paving or asphalt areas to allow drainage. A sub base is laid below the paving. Typical widths of the paving are between 300 and 600mm.

Of course, the final choice lies with the customer and we are happy at Rivar Sand and Gravel to discuss the attributes and potential hazards of using any of our range of driveway materials. We’ll ensure that you are supplied with the perfect competitively priced products for your project and budget.

Let us help you to achieve a great driveway.

Locations we cover:

(From our Hare Hatch Depot:) Reading, Twyford, Henley, Peppard, Kidmore End, Sonning Common, Shiplake, Wargrave, Sonning, Maidenhead, Marlow, Holyport, Windsor, Bray, Binfield

(From our Thatcham Depot:) Pangbourne, Theale, Bradfield, Padworth, Beenham, Aldermaston, Woolhampton, Bucklebury, Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford, Kintbury

(From our Tadley Depot:) Basingstoke, Tadley, Oakley, Baughurst, Chineham, Hook, Kingsclere, Headley, Yateley, Hartley Wintney, Heckfield, Basing, Wasing, Whitchurch, Overton, Litchfield

(From our Windlesham Depot:) Ascot, Binfield, Bracknell, Wokingham, Sunninghill, Sunningdale, Virginia Water, Egham, Staines, Windlesham, Bagshot, Camberley

and everywhere in between...