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We didn’t plan it this way, but this year has become the year of the back yard. Between the renovation of the gardens there and fixing up the garage, I think we’re finally taking care of some of the things that have needed attention since we bought the house 12 years ago.

This is the before, farther down the driveway.

far the biggest change to the yard that we made was having the driveway paved. We’ve put this off for years for a few reasons. Not only is it an expensive project, I’ve also had some trepidation about the look of an asphalt driveway. I would have done concrete in a heartbeat, but we didn’t even bother getting quotes for that because we knew it would be well out of our range. 

As an aside, this is a good reminder to get lots of quotes. The first quote we got to asphalt the driveway was more than twice the amount of the quote we ended up going with. I think the first company just didn’t want the job so they purposely inflated the quote. 
A bigger concern for me was the look. I don’t particularly love the look of a fresh black driveway. I think gravel is charming and more in keeping with our house and the area (our road, which is a private road owned and maintained by all the homeowners, is also gravel). And if I lived in an area where there wasn’t much snow or ice, I think it would probably be perfect. But our driveway is big enough that it has to be plowed, and plowing a gravel driveway creates a huge mess. Every spring we’d have to scrap gravel out of the grass and the flower beds and the driveway sort of creeped into the lawn. 
To make matters worse, it was a huge ice rink that rarely thawed until late April. All in all, it was a pain. So, although I think I like the look of gravel more, the downsides were just too great. And I’ll be honest here, Mr. Much More Patient really wanted it paved (far more than I did) and sometimes he has to get what he wants too.
This was taken at the end of the driveway last year when we had a couple of large spruces cut down by the electric company.



Anyway, the process of having the driveway paved was really simple. They came on a Saturday and graded our existing gravel, parked all their machinery there on Monday and were there at 8 a.m. Tuesday to pour the asphalt. They were finished by 2 p.m.

We will fill in around the driveway to level the lawn out with it, which will be a very nice improvement, and although I feel like it’s a little black right now, I’m sure in a month I’ll be saying I wish we had done it sooner.

We’ll fill in the lawn up to the level of the asphalt so areas like this should look better in a couple months.

Even though we didn’t really mean to concentrate on fixing up the yard this year, I might as well share the to-do list that has developed:

  1. Re-roof the garage.
  2. Paint the garage.
  3. Install a pergola over the garage doors.
  4. Have the driveway paved.
  5. Regrade the lawn around the driveway to even it out.
  6. Paint the garage doors (temporary solution until we can replace them in the future).
  7. Redo side/back garden beds (partially finished).


3 Responses

  1. I totally agree with you about asphalt. Gravel is the best looking choice, for sure, but it just isn't practical. Your very black top will….eventually…gray out! It does look nice, really! And once you fill in around the edges, all will be fine!

  2. The to-do list outdoors always is endless. We have concrete and need to replace it but not until we landscape the slope that abuts it. I love the look of gravel, brick etc. – all the things that won't work in our climate. Nice to see the views from both ends of the drive to get a sense of your lot. Really lovely looking location.

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