10 Driveway Landscaping Ideas that Increase Property Value

Driveway landscaping ideas can greatly improve a property’s aesthetic appeal, an aspect often underestimated by homeowners. Perhaps even more important? The added curb appeal could add thousands of dollars to the value of your home.

In addition to 10 creative ideas, this article will provide you with everything you need to begin a driveway landscaping project of your own.

Table of Contents

Does Driveway Landscaping Add Value to a Property?

The driveway is the main feature of any home and it leads your eye all the way from the street to the front door. Like a welcome path, it’s easy to see how valuable a beautiful driveway can be. 

According to a recent study by Economic Benefits of Landscape by the Landscape Contractors of America, landscaping can add 14% to the resale value of a home and sell it 6 weeks faster.

Here are 5 valuable improvements it brings to your home:

1. Curb Appeal

Landscaping your driveway significantly improves curb appeal, creating a positive first impression for prospective buyers, or even just neighbors passing by. It’s akin to dressing professionally for an interview; the initial perception can greatly impact subsequent interactions.

curb appeal adds to property values - driveway landscaping ideas
Creating curb appeal along the driveway can increase the value of your home as much as 14% according to some studies.

2. Functionality

A driveway isn’t solely for parking cars; with the right landscaping, it can be transformed into an engaging and versatile outdoor space. Whether it’s integrating planters or water features, the driveway can serve a dual purpose, enhancing its usability and charm.

3. Environmentally Friendly

Certain driveway landscaping methods can contribute positively to the environment, such as permeable paving, which aids in stormwater management. By showcasing eco-friendly practices, your property increases its appeal to environmentally conscious buyers, adding unique value to your home.

4. Safety

A well-planned, well-lit driveway ensures better visibility and safer navigation, particularly during night time. This can be achieved through strategic placement of lighting fixtures within your driveway landscaping, thereby adding practical value.

5. Property Upkeep

A well-maintained and pleasing driveway signals meticulous property upkeep. This perceived care often translates to buyers assuming the same level of attention has been paid to the house’s interior. In turn, this creates a higher perceived value.

Types of Driveways and Their Impact on Landscaping

Each driveway type carries its own aesthetic, installation, and maintenance considerations. When selecting the right type for your home, consider how it will blend with your existing landscaping and the overall architecture of your home, as well as your budget and maintenance preferences.

Here are 3 popular types of driveways and how they can impact your landscaping ideas.

1. Gravel Driveways

Gravel driveways are usually made of crushed stone or pebbles. They give off a rustic, natural vibe. They’re relatively low-cost and quick to install, making them a popular choice for large driveways.

From a landscaping perspective, gravel provides a neutral canvas that can be complemented by drought-tolerant plants, or a decorative stone border. But keep in mind, gravel can shift over time and requires regular maintenance to keep it looking neat and prevent weeds.

gravel driveway with landscaping ideas
Gravel driveways offer a wonderful opportunity to add a natural, rustic beauty to your property. Just make sure you know how to integrate the driveway material with your landscaping ideas.

2. Asphalt Driveways

Asphalt driveways offer a smooth, solid surface that’s incredibly durable and capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions. Its dark tone gives it a sleek contrast to your home and surrounding greenery, making your landscape elements pop.

On the downside (unlike gravel), the asphalt doesn’t offer much in terms of creativity or aesthetics, and can crack over time, requiring periodic sealing. But a seasoned professional has the experience needed to turn a bland asphalt driveway into a nature preserve.

3. Concrete or Paver Driveways

Concrete or paver driveways are the top-tier in terms of aesthetics and durability.

Pavers in particular are available in a variety of shapes, colors, and textures. And they can be arranged in unique patterns to add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your property. This type allows for more dramatic enhancements, especially when integrated with lighting.

However, these type of driveways can be more costly to install and repair. And they may require professional maintenance to handle settling or shifting over time or by accident.

10 Great Driveway Landscaping Ideas

By implementing thoughtful landscaping, a driveway can evolve from a simple functional space to a captivating feature that enhances your Cincinnati home’s overall visual appeal. Below are 10 landscaping ideas that will elevate your driveway:

1. Implement Planters

Incorporating planters introduces a refreshing touch of greenery, turning your driveway into a warm, inviting space. Fill them with a mix of flowers, shrubs, or small trees, favoring low-maintenance varieties for ease of upkeep. Consider a drip irrigation system for simple watering.

2. Design a Pavers Pathway

Uniquely shaped and colored pavers can add a personalized touch to your driveway. Experiment with varying sizes and patterns, and include lighting elements for added safety and charm. Read more about lighting below.

driveway landscaping ideas pavers
Pavers are a great way to add visual interest to your driveway landscaping. They come in different shapes and colors.

3. Include Decorative Edging

Outline your driveway with decorative edging to enhance visual appeal and prevent encroachment of grass or weeds. Materials like flagstone, pavers, or brick offer an attractive and practical solutions.

4. Install Water Features

The addition of water features such as fountains or waterfalls introduces a sense of tranquility. Ensure they are proportionally sized and don’t hinder traffic while being easy to maintain.

fountain landscaping ideas for circular driveway
Circular driveways are the perfect spot for fountains.

5. Choose Hardy Plants

Opt for native on non-invasive plants that are hardy and tolerant to your local climate. This minimizes water usage and maintenance. Cincinnati’s annual rainfall is 42.24 inches according to World Climate.

You might be tempted to plant succulents. While they are drought resistant, they might not fare as well in Cincinnati’s rainy climate. Here are just some native or non-invasive plants in Cincinnati that will work well:

More on this topic below.

6. Construct a Circular Driveway

A circular driveway, if space permits, can add elegance and convenience to your property. Enhance its visual appeal with decorative materials and complementary landscaping elements.

7. Use Natural Stone

Natural stones like flagstone, cobblestone, or slate can instill timeless elegance. They can be used across the entire surface or as eye-catching accents and borders.

Flagstone is a type of stone used for roads, walkways, and driveways since ancient times. It creates an historic charm.

8. Opt for Grass or Turf

Green driveways using grass or turf are environmentally friendly and assist with stormwater management in Ohio and beyond. Permeable pavers or grass between concrete or stone pavers can achieve this effect.

9. Incorporate Colorful Accents

Vibrant flowers, decorative pots, or colorful pavers add a splash of color, creating a visually striking driveway. Coordinate these hues with your home’s exterior color scheme and the local climate.

10. Add Outdoor Lighting

A well-lit driveway — highlighted with path lights, spotlights, or uplights — can create a warm and appealing ambiance. Solar-powered lights are an eco-friendly option also worth considering. Read more about outdoor lighting below.

Choosing the Right Plants for Your Driveway

Selecting the right plants for your driveway plays a big role in creating the perfect balance between functionality and aesthetics.

driveway landscaping ideas - lavender
Lavender is a beautiful purple plant that lives abundantly and non-invasively in the Cincinnati area. It creates a visually striking border on driveways and is hardy and drought-resistant.
  1. Consider the Climate: As noted in #5 above, your need to understand your climate and growing conditions. This includes factors like sunlight exposure, rainfall, and temperature ranges. Opt for plants that are native to your region or have proven to be climate-hardy in similar environments. These will generally require less maintenance and are more likely to thrive.
  2. Size and Growth Habit: Consider the size and growth of your plants. Don’t plant large or fast-growing species near the driveway. They could obstruct your visibility or damage the surface with their roots. Low-growing plants, groundcovers, ornamental grasses, and those with a more compact growth habit are generally best for driveways.
  3. Maintenance Needs: Driveway plants are often subjected to harsh conditions, including reflected heat from the pavement, car exhaust, and occasional foot traffic. Choosing low-maintenance species will help ensure your plants remain attractive with minimal upkeep.
  4. Seasonal Interest: Incorporate a variety of plants that offer visual interest throughout different seasons. This can include spring-blooming bulbs, summer flowers, autumn-colored foliage, and evergreen plants for winter interest. Keep your driveway interesting all year round.
  5. Aesthetic Appeal: Use color, texture, and form to create a cohesive and appealing design. This could mean coordinating the flower colors with the color of your house, or choosing plants with interesting textures or shapes to create visual interest. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

Ultimately, good driveway lighting enhances your property’s curb appeal and contributes to a safer and more welcoming home.

CAUTION: Try to avoid solar lights. They are cheap solutions that aren’t durable and don’t look as good installed as they do in a sales catalog. Compare them to better solutions like those below and you’ll be much happier for much longer with the results.

  1. Path Lights. These are popular for driveways because they provide clear visibility along the drive after dark. They’re typically installed at regular intervals on either side of the driveway. Options range from traditional lantern-style fixtures to sleek, modern designs.
  2. Bollard Lights: These are similar to path lights but are taller and emit a wider spread of light. They’re highly efficient for illuminating large driveway areas and can serve as a striking design element within your landscape.
  3. Recessed Driveway Lights: These lights are embedded into the driveway surface, providing illumination without obstructing the path. They’re ideal for marking the driveway’s perimeters and can be especially effective in creating a runway-like effect.
  4. Spotlights: Spotlights highlight specific landscape elements near your driveway, such as trees, shrubs, or architecture. They create dramatic focal points and add a layer of depth.
  5. Down Lights or Moonlighting: If you have large trees near your driveway, consider mounting high-quality, low-voltage lighting in the tree limbs to shine down and softly light the driveway. We call this technique “moonlighting” because, when done right, it mimics the look of moonlight shining down through the branches. Mounting the light 20-35’ up in the tree provides the best looks as the light will catch more shadows as it shines down. 

    Obviously, mounting lights this high isn’t easy, so please consult a professional. Be sure to use high-quality LED light with a long warranty because changing a bulb or making a repair at this height will be a big inconvenience.

Final Thoughts

Implementing the right driveway landscaping ideas can significantly enhance your home’s curb appeal. Consider your home’s style, the local climate, and your maintenance preferences while selecting the best ideas for your property. 

With some creativity and attention to detail, your driveway can leave a lasting impression and add value to your Cincinnati home.

Need More Help?

Need a pro to help you with driveway landscaping ideas? Just contact American Landscapes here for a free, no-obligation estimate. Or call us at (513) 947-8727.

You can also learn more about our lawn care applications and treatments, landscaping, and outdoor lighting services by reading our blog. In addition to fertilizer and weed control, we provide mosquito control, lawn aeration, lawn seeding, and much more.