Planning Your New Driveway Checklist | Checkatrade
Request a quote
Review a Trade

Have you completed a project recently? Let your tradesperson know how they did.

Advice Centre

Get Inspired! Check the latest industry expertise and read insider tips from our vetted tradespeople.

Search For A Trade

We interview and vet all our tradespeople to ensure they meet our high standards.

Join Checkatrade

Join us and benefit from the millions of potential customers who use Checkatrade to find reliable tradespeople.

Advice Centre

Grow your business! Check out top tips and expert advice for boosting your reputation online.

Login To Your Account

Edit your profile, view callback requests and ask for feedback from customers.

Planning a new driveway: your go-to checklist

Planning a new driveway? Here's everything you need to know, including materials, drainage, planning permission, and the all important costs!

Planning a new driveway is exciting. It can completely transform the front of your home and add value to your property.

However, it’s not an everyday home improvement, so you’d be forgiven for having a few questions about the subject.

In this post, we’ll guide you through every step of planning your new driveway – from the materials you can choose from to drainage considerations. Plus, we’ll outline handy cost information to help you make informed decisions along the way.

Planning a driveway to suit your needs

The first stage of planning your new driveway is thinking about what your driveway needs to deliver. Some questions to consider include:

  • How many vehicles need to fit on your driveway? Do you have teenagers who will benefit from off-road parking in the future?
  • What type of vehicles will use your driveway? Are they standard cars or heavier vehicles?
  • Do you want a low-maintenance driveway? E.g. a weed-resistant option
  • What’s the budget for this project?
  • Do you want a custom or standard design?
  • Do you want to retain a lawned area?
  • Are you installing a new driveway for you or for resale potential?

Here, we’ll explore some of the main considerations to bear in mind when it comes to planning your driveway.

Search your postcode to find your local trade

Accessibility and useability

One of the biggest questions you’ll need to answer is how big you want your driveway to be.

As a general guide:

  • Single car parking space = 3m wide x 4.8m long
  • Double car parking space = 4.8m wide x 4.8m long

Remember to make sure there’s plenty of room to open car doors comfortably and account for accessibility if needed. For instance, perhaps you need to factor in wheelchair space.

From a safety point of view, you’ll also need to make sure your driveway is wide enough for easy access from the road.

Outdoor lighting could be a good way to make it more inviting and safe too.

Related content: Find out how much it costs to create a dropped kerb

New driveway

Driveway materials

There’s a vast array of driveway materials available. While this offers you plenty of choice, it can also make it harder to pick the right type for your home.

If you’re struggling to decide, take a steer from the style of your home.

If you live in a contemporary property, a resin or concrete driveway would be well-suited. On the other hand, a more traditional property would be complemented by a gravel or block-paved driveway.

Your budget will also be an important factor. Driveway surfacing materials vary in price, typically ranging from £40-£100 per m²:

Driveway costs

These are just ballpark costs.

To get an accurate price for your project, it’s best to get quotes from specialists. We always recommend getting at least three so you can get a feel for a range of contractors and make sure you’re getting a competitive price for the work.

Related content: Read our guide to learn the pros and cons of each type of driveway material

Search your postcode to find your local trade

Planning permission

Planning permission is normally needed if your driveway is over a certain size and excess water from your driveway will flow into a public drain.

However, if you choose a permeable surface or you direct rainwater to a lawn or border to drain naturally, you won’t need planning permission to build a new or replacement driveway.

Let us explain:

In 2010, the government introduced Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) legislation to help reduce the impact of new and existing developments on surface water drainage discharges.

A ‘SuDS‘ (Sustainable urban drainage system) compliant surface is any surface where water can drain through to natural ground or is directed into an installed soakaway or swale.

In essence, any hard surface over 5m², which resides between the home’s front and the public road, requires planning permission – unless the surface is SuDS-compliant.

Permeable driveways are a great shout as they’ll save you the trouble of installing a new drainage system – as well as the cost of putting in a planning application.

But most common surfacing choices still offer options that comply with the regulations – a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS).

Ultimately, if you use an impermeable surface such as concrete, tarmac, or paving, then adequate drainage is a must.

It’s always best to check local legislation with your local planning authority before you start work, especially if you want to drop the kerb.

Related content: Learn more about permeable driveways and their cost

Driveway with planning permission

Applying for a dropped kerb

If you’re installing a new driveway where there wasn’t one before, the chances are you’re going to need a dropped kerb. Without one, you won’t legally be allowed to drive over the pavement to get from your road onto your new driveway.

But you can’t just lower the pavement without permission.

Instead, you’ll need to apply for a special dropped kerb or domestic vehicle crossing licence from your local highway authority.

You may also need planning permission before this, depending on where you live – for instance, if your property is on a classified road, if it’s a listed building or if it’s in a conservation area. You’ll also need planning permission if it’s a flat or maisonette – basically, anything other than a house for a single family.

To apply for a dropped kerb, you’ll need help from either a planning consultant or the contractor who’s going to be undertaking the work.

So, it can be useful to get one of these onboard first. They’ll also have a wealth of knowledge and experience getting approval for dropped kerbs, so will be able to help you create a proposal that has the best chance of being accepted.

On average, the cost for planning permission for a dropped kerb will be between £50 - £400.

Choosing a driveway installer

There are many different installers to choose from when it comes to a driveway upgrade, each offering specific areas of expertise.

Most companies will offer a number of options, but you will also find that some installers will be more accustomed to working with a particular product or brand.

If, for example, you fancy a resin drive, it would be beneficial to choose an installer who has plenty of experience laying this material. With thousands of customer reviews on Checkatrade, it’s easy to find this out.

Use our handy search function to find highly rated, professional driveway contractors near you. Enter your postcode to get started.

Search your postcode to find your local trade

Preparing the ground for a driveway

The most important part of any driveway installation is that your ground is properly prepared. Without that, any materials laid on top of it will likely sink.

Make sure that your quote includes the necessary sub-base preparation – and ask what bedding layer your installer intends to use. A large proportion of your quote will probably be for the cost of a quality sub-base.

It’s also worth considering what planting and greenery you wish to include in or around your driveway area. This is something to discuss with your driveway contractor before you begin work.

Related content: Driveway ideas for maximum kerb appeal

Gravel driveway

Your new driveway checklist

If you’re ready to start the process of getting your new driveway installed, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled this handy new driveway checklist to make sure you don’t leave any box unchecked!

  1. Decide how big you want your driveway to be
  2. Pick a driveway material
  3. Get quotes from local driveway contractors
  4. Hire a contractor
  5. Confirm your requirements
  6. Plan for drainage
  7. Check whether planning permission is needed
  8. Apply for a dropped kerb if needed
  9. Install your new driveway
  10. Get the kerb dropped if required
  11. Complete any additional landscaping
  12. Enjoy your new driveway!
Search your postcode to find your local trade


Do dropped kerbs go before or after driveway?

Usually, a dropped kerb should be installed after your driveway. However, it’s always best to apply for a dropped kerb before carrying out any work.

Otherwise, if you don’t get permission, you could end up with a driveway that you can’t use!

What time of year is best to lay a driveway?

It’s best to get your driveway laid in spring or summer, as this is when it’s most likely to be warm and dry. Some driveway surfaces shouldn’t be installed in the rain.

How do I prepare for a new driveway?

The best way to prepare for a new driveway is to have a strong idea of your requirements.

This includes making decisions about your driveway’s size, accessibility and materials.

Having a clear idea of what you want will be helpful when sourcing quotes from contractors and will mean that you have like-for-like costs to compare.

What comes first when installing a driveway?

The first step to installing a new driveway is site preparation. This includes removing the old surface and laying and compacting a sub-base.

Usually, this phase of your driveway installation will take just one day.

What questions to ask when getting a new driveway?

When you’re getting a new driveway, you want to make sure you choose the right contractor for the job. So, we’d recommend asking them a number of questions. These include:

  • Are you a member of a recognised trade association like Marshalls?
  • Do you have up-to-date insurance?
  • Does your work come with a guarantee or warranty?
  • Can I see examples of your previous work?

You’ll only find trades who meet our high standards and pass our quality checks on Checkatrade. We’re so confident in the quality of the trades on Checkatrade that if you book through us, we guarantee their work up to £1,000. Guaranteed for 12 months – Eligibility and T&Cs apply.

Does a new driveway need drainage?

Yes! As a general guide, any new driveway that’s over 5m² in size must have an adequate drainage system for water to run into a permeable area. If not, you’ll need to get planning permission.

Do you need building regs for a new driveway?

No, building regulations don’t generally apply to driveways. So, you won’t need to get building regulations approval before starting work.

That said, if you want to make alterations to your driveway, you’ll need to meet certain access regulations. The main thing to know is that your driveway alterations mustn’t have a negative impact on the access to the property it’s adjoined to. You can only make amendments to your driveway to leave it at the same standard as it was before or to improve building access.

What do I need to do my driveway?

Wondering if you need to have anything specific in place before installing your driveway? Here are the essentials:

  • Plan for drainage
  • Check whether you need planning permission
  • Apply for a dropped kerb if you need one

Assuming you have the relevant permissions in place, you can then go ahead and get your new driveway installed.

How long does it take for a new driveway to fully cure?

That depends on what material you’ve chosen! A new asphalt driveway can take as long as 12 months to fully cure, although you can generally use it after around five days.

Always ask your contractor how long they would recommend leaving your driveway to cure before using it so that you don’t risk damaging your new surface.

Search your postcode to find your local trade

We check the reviews on Checkatrade are from real people, and that trades meet our high standards.

Tell us what you think

Please note, you cannot leave a review, or contact a tradesperson by commenting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What others think of this article:

No comments yet!

Also in this project