Fresh Blacktop

20 Jun





So, I realize driveways are not exactly the most glamorous things to read about but I’m going to write about mine anyway. Aside from the fact that longtime readers will know that this driveway has been nothing short of a saga, it’s a been a real game changer for me. Coming home after work and pulling onto a flat, solid and tidy surface makes me feel much better about coming home. The first thought when I arrive home is no longer a reminder that I need to have this damn driveway paved. Its also a much nicer greeting to visitors in contrast to the faded, buckled and crumbling one I had before.

I had a hard time coming to grips with the fact that driveways are not DIY projects. I think in part to quell my fears, I had about 10 estimates done; which was about five more than I really needed. I talked to neighbors, checked references, made spreadsheets and found phone book coupons. In the end, I went with a local company who exceeded my expectations in professionalism and quality. They worked with me to solve an issue I had with drainage and worked incredibly neatly along my flower beds as well as in between the house and the fence, which I’m sure was no easy feat.

Do I wish it was done with stone, pavers or stamped concrete? Yes I do, but the return on investment was just not there. So, in the end it was a practical choice and I’m happy with it.

After it was all done I realized the walkway to my front porch looked like trash so I removed all the old pavers, rebuilt the base with new sand and stone and then laid them back down. I would have liked to replace the existing concrete pavers with brick or tumbled cobblestone, but I decided to use what I had. The more I thought about it I liked the contemporary twist that the larger, sleeker concrete pavers gave in juxtaposition to the house anyway.



I did have to purchase a few new ones, that’s why some are brighter than others, but after a while I’m sure that the colors will bend. You might also notice the unpainted section on the steps. That’s there because when I replaced the pavers I had to remove the front steps and the railing that was attached to them. That railing needed to go eventually since it was an aluminum one that was likely done whenever they put the siding on the house. This summer I plan to fix that by  building a new wooden one in the Craftsman Style to suit the house. If you look closely you’ll see that this picture also is a good way to get a glimpse at the twin house next door built just one year prior to mine in 1929.

Both the new walk and the new driveway need to mellow out a bit and then I can seal the driveway and contemplate staining the concrete pavers down to a richer, less concrete-y color.

In the meantime, I’m going to start gathering ideas for that railing.

6 Responses to “Fresh Blacktop”

  1. emily June 20, 2014 at 9:18 PM #

    Curious about who you used locally. We had the driveway at the old house excavated and repaved about a month after moving it out… our lucky tenants! I still can’t believe how wonderful it is to pull into their driveway after so many years of it being as terrible as you say yours was. Beautiful home!

    • ittybittybungalow June 26, 2014 at 7:40 AM #

      Thanks Emily! I used Seabreeze Paving. Your place is looking great too! I can see you have been really busy over there.

  2. Miriam June 26, 2014 at 12:14 AM #

    Bradley, it is simply beautiful! The driveway looks great, and it and the landscaping set off the house just perfectly. As for the walkway, I like the light color. It picks up the white of the trim on the front porch, windows, and underpinnings of the porch. I was just looking at your before and after folder to refresh my memory as to just how bad the driveway was previously. The asphalt really does give a finished look, doesn’t it? As with the sidewalk, I’m thinking that the color of the asphalt, although not your first choice, really ties in nicely with the color of the house. Thanks for sharing — always a treat to see what you’re doing. Enjoy the rest of your summer before school starts.

    • ittybittybungalow June 26, 2014 at 7:42 AM #

      All good points Miriam! I really enjoy it when people say things look good the way they are! Its less work for me! 🙂

  3. Jayne July 9, 2014 at 3:47 AM #

    The driveway really has been a saga! I’m glad it’s done and that you get the mental boost from that. I like the asphalt, for the reason that Miriam said: it does tie in with the color of the house. Concrete is crazy expensive, especially when you have it stamped. I think this ended up looking really nice. Your landscaping is so pretty! Your house has enormous curb appeal–I just want to walk up the driveway and along the walkway and sit on that porch!

  4. Shavonda Gardner January 15, 2016 at 8:39 PM #

    So I realize Im years late here, but I just discovered you via Pinterest and Im completely in love with your home. My family and I recently downsized from a new construction builder basic into a much smaller, much older 1940s cottage bungalow and your home gives me so much amazing inspiration. I LOVE what you’ve done to the exterior. We are planning lots of work on our exterior this upcoming spring and summer and Ill definitely be incorporating several elements from yours into ours. We also have a very long driveway that needs ALLLL the help. When you have a small house with a big driveway you notice how terrible it looks everytime you pull up or walk by. It just takes up so much visual real estate. I love how clean and pretty yours is. Ours is cracked, rocky, has holes, its just a mess. Seriously gonna play catch up and binge read your blog with weekend. So happy to have found you. Id love you to take a look at ours and pass along any exterior suggestions:)

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