Because if the first thing potential buyers see is a strip of cracked concrete or sunken pavers you’re missing a trick.
Even if you don’t want to sell up now, when the time comes it’s easier to get people past the front door if your drive looks inviting.
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” says Mark Shearing, managing director of Putterills estate agents in Hertfordshire. “The kerb appeal of a house is just so important and the driveway and garden and look of a house are all part of that picture.
“Even on a very small house it can add £15,000 to the value and for a larger property it could well add tens of thousands of pounds – particularly these days, when parking itself is so important.”
But is it worth paving over your garden to create a drive? “It depends where you are living,” says Shearing. “In a pretty city like St Albans, for example, if you’ve got a nicelooking house but there’s not sufficient parking for the number of people living there, if you create a nice driveway and solve the parking issue that will make it stand out against its competitors.”
Concreting over gardens can create environmental problems such as flooding though, because rain can’t soak into the ground and street drainage systems often can’t cope with heavy downpours.
But these days there are solutions, says award-winning garden designer Paul HerveyBrookes, who is involved in design projects for Cotswolds-based patio and driveway products company Bradstone (01335 372289; bradstone.com).
One solution is Infilta permeable paving blocks, which have wavy edges giving a 5mm gap that allows rainwater to easily drain away
Originally developed for commercial use, they are best for properties with a very large driveway but they do need deeper foundations than ordinary pavers and several grades of gravel under them for drainage.
“It’s a really good system but requires a lot of thought and investigation and a lot of soil-moving, while the average household just driving one car on and off doesn’t need such a complicated system,” he says.
Normal pavers are fine for one-car drives, and Hervey-Brookes says the trick is to have them laid so rain can run off either side – into a border or hedge – rather than into the road.
But pavers are not the only option, he adds: “Sometimes they don’t suit people’s properties and that’s the most important thing: what is going to suit the style of house and garden you’ve…